Despite this close shave, Shays seems confident about his chances in 2006 in this article from the Stamford Advocate:
Shays, R-Bridgeport, said his voting record supports the best interests of the Fourth Congressional District.
"I feel I'm more effective today than I've ever been before," Shays said. "I have a lot of clout in my party and I think I'm needed by my district." (Ginocchio "Shays")
Actually, it always seems to me like Shays is one of the more marginalized members of Congress, but all right.
Strike Me Down, and I Shall Become More Powerful...
Shays continues with this odd line, claiming that he would actually grow more powerful should the Democrats take the house:
If Democrats win control of Congress in November, his independence from the Republican leadership will strengthen his role in the House, Shays said.
"In the end, if I'm in the minority, I'll be one of the most powerful members of Congress," he said.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would "have to depend on me as a moderate Republican" for votes if she became Speaker of the House, he said. (Ginocchio "Shays")
It just seems like he'd be a marginal member of the opposition party.
Well, I guess I can see it. Moderates do have a certain amout of power in Washington, these days, and he might be useful as a Republican Pelosi could count on. Still, it's an odd thing to say. It almost seems like he wants the GOP to lose--except for himself, of course.
But how likely is it that he'll win another term?
Farrell, Iraq and the National Mood
This race is somewhat similar to the Simmons/Courtney race I talked about a while ago, in that there is a GOP moderate facing a Democratic opponent for the second time.
One difference is that Farrell's positions on some issues are a lot clearer than Courtney's, which makes her a much more attractive candidate. One of her signature issues is her opposition to the Iraq War, which Shays continues to support following nearly a dozen visits to the country.
Huh. Do we know any other politicans who go to Iraq a lot, then come home and say how well things are going? No?
Farrell was quick to endorse Sen. Joe Lieberman last week, despite the fact that his views on Iraq are very, very similar to Shays'.
Farrell, former first selectwoman of Westport, said that although Lieberman's Iraq position may be unpopular with many Fairfield County Democrats, she and the longtime senator have agreed on many other issues, and her endorsement was justified.
"Joe is a longtime friend and he has endorsed me and my campaign in the past," Farrell said in a telephone interview last week. "We'll have to agree to disagree on the war . . . but we agree on so many other issues" such as women's privacy rights, the Family Leave Act and fair wages.
Plus, she added, her race against Shays, R-Bridgeport, is about more than Iraq. (Ginocchio "Farrell")
That seems a little lame, considering that the Iraq War was one of the centerpieces of her 2004 campaign, and looks to be so again. Granted, she was probably placed in some sort of impossible position, but that doesn't change the fact that she's handed the Shays campaign a great line of attack, and annoyed some of her own partisans, as well.
This, plus the fact that this is not a presidential year, makes me think that Farrell is not in a good position to win in 2006. However, I will readily admit that my knowledge of Fairfield County is a bit spotty. It's the part of the state I travel to least, and therefore know the least about. Are there other factors, such as demographic shifts or a general dislike of Shays, that could swing this to Farrell?
Of course, the other thing that could swing the election her way is a national shift towards the Democrats. If that happens, Shays may find that he won't be around to help out Speaker Pelosi after all.
Ginocchio, Mark. "Farrell's action in line of fire." Stamford Advocate 26 February, 2006.
Ginocchio, Mark. "Shays confident about rematch with Farrell." Stamford Advocate 28 February, 2006.