May 3, 2017


Not even cancer surgery can dull the rabid political hunger pangs of Tim Herbst.

In the immediate days following an operation Friday to remove his thyroid gland, GOP gubernatorial hopeful and Trumbull first selectman Tim Herbst was engaging in late-night Twitter beefs with Democrats and even resumed his schedule of a public appearances.

Against the advice of his doctors, Herbst said, he showed up Saturday at a town forum on a proposal for a new community/senior center. Herbst supports the project, which was the subject of a contentious town councilmeeting Monday night that the Republican also attended.

Herbst, 36, compared the scar on his neck to a nick from shaving. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland in the neck that controls metabolism, heart rate, growth rate and other bodily functions.

“I know a lot of people who would probably pay money to take a knife to my throat, though,” Herbst quipped Wednesday following a two-and-a-half hour staff meeting.

If his political foes were expecting a genteel post-operation conversion, they were mistaken. Following Monday’s Town Council meeting, Herbst jousted on Twitter with two local critics of the community/senior center project, which they contend should have to pass the muster of a public referendum.

Before all was said and done, Herbst unleashed a fusillade of 20 Tweets at Democrats Ashley Gaudiano and Debra Kroszner.

“The new Thelma and Louise,” Herbst posted.

Trumbull’s top Democrat extended his well wishes to Herbst again Wednesday, but said so much for thinking that the town’s chief elected official would mellow out.

“Maybe he went to the Donald Trump school of Tweeting; I don’t know,” said Tom Kelly, the Democratic Town Committeechairman. “If it’s any sign that he’s feeling better, I guess that’s a silver lining.”

Herbst has raised more than $83,000 through an exploratory committee for a potential 2018 run for governor. In 2014, he narrowly lost his bid for state treasurer.

On Tuesday night, Herbst returned to the GOP political circuit with a fundraising dinner appearance in Westbrook, a 90-mile round-trip. He let someone else do the driving. On Wednesday night, Herbst planned to attend an event in Stamford.

Despite being recently diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, Herbst will not need chemotherapy or radiation. He must permanently take the hormone-replacement drug Synthroid. He went for surgery Friday at Bridgeport Hospital and was released the same day.

“You know what, I don’t like sitting around and sitting still, as you know,” said Herbst, who thanked the team of doctors that treated him.

Herbst further expressed his gratitude to political allies and rivals alike who sent him words of encouragement before and after his surgery. Fellow GOP gubernatorial hopefuls, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, of Glastonbury, texted and called him. So did Herbst’s political mentor, House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, and former Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield.

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