"In the past two years, Connecticut's highways have become more congested, our schools have received fewer dollars, and our families and seniors have lost even more ground when it comes to their disposable incomes and their access to health care," Farrell said.
"We need a congressman who's wedded to the people and families of this district — not to an extreme leadership that is frighteningly out of touch with Connecticut." (Urban)
So that's the line. We'll see if it works, especially since Shays and guys like Tom DeLay aren't exactly friends lately. The widening split in the GOP is evident from the vast gulf between the two.
The conventional wisdom is that Farrell has a very good shot of winning this time. Shays seems vulnerable, and Farrell did very well last time. Let's take a look.
First, let's look at the 4th District, which is shaping up to be just as interesting as the 2nd:
Note the drastic erosion of support for Shays, whose margin of victory in 2002 was much safer. How much of this, however, was the result of the race at the top of the ticket? The presidential election map may provide a few more clues:
John Kerry did remarkably well in the 4th District, which has long been a Republican stronghold. A few of the key towns where Farrell had the most success, such as Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, Weston and Redding, also went pretty heavily for Kerry. How much of her success was bound up in his? Will she be able to do as well (or better) without either a Kerry to vote for or a George Bush to vote against?
So--is the 4th District really moderating, or is it a fluke? Well, the town council control map shows that eight of the seventeen town councils/boards of selectmen are now controlled by Democrats, which suggests moderation. This isn't to say that Republicans aren't strong in Fairfield County: they are. They're simply a bit less strong than they were three years ago, when John Rowland and Chris Shays carried the area during the nationwide Republican rout of 2002. Democrats are expected to be stronger in 2006, and a competitive governor's race with a strong Democratic candidate will help her as well.
So therefore Farrell certainly does have a chance to do well, even if a John Kerry isn't at the top of the ticket. A Rell landslide, however (should one occur) might sweep Shays back into office. The bottom line is that there is now no certainty in a district that once was a Republican lock.
Urban, Peter. "Farrell-Shays II coming in 2006." Connecticut Post 14 July, 2005.