Friday, March 31, 2006

Senate 1970: Threading The Needle

"I believe in God and Senator Dodd and keepin' old Castro down."
--Phil Ochs, "Draft Dodger Rag"

The 1970 election was a major turning point in Connecticut's political history: not only because of the candidates who were elected that year, but also because it marked the decline of the power of the nominating convention, and the rise of the statewide primary. I will focus on the U.S. Senate race of that year, which contains some parallels to the Senate race of 2006, but at some future point the governor's race, which produced a most unexpected result, will also be examined.

A Bitter Primary

Senator Thomas J. Dodd was a controversial figure in 1970, that much was certain. Dodd, a conservative Democrat who was best known for his high-profile role in the Nuremburg trials and his staunch opposition to communism, was first elected to the Senate in 1958 after having lost the 1956 race to Prescott Bush. He was easily re-elected in 1964, but faced charges in 1967 that he had used campaign funds raised at political testmionals for his own personal expenses. Although the Attorney General of the United States later declined to press charges against Dodd, the Senate censured him in April of 1967. This black mark on his record, coupled with his support for an increasingly unpopular war and fading health, made him an uncertain prospect at best for 1970.

Liberal Democrats began rallying around the Rev. Joe Duffey, a supporter of Eugene McCarthy's failed presidential bid and head of the antiwar group Americans for Democratic Action. Duffey also led the progressive, antiwar Caucus of Connecticut Democrats, of which a young attorney named Joe Lieberman was a founding member (Lieberman, 167). Senate Majority Leader Ed Marcus and the more conservative Stamford lawyer Al Donahue, who was backed by the state Democratic machine (Lieberman, 169), were the other Democrats in the race. Secretary of the State Ella Grasso and Mayor Richard Lee of New Haven were also mentioned as possible candidates, but Grasso decided to seek the 6th District Congressional seat and Lee retired from public life ("Dodd").

On the Republican side, attention was focused on U.S. Rep. Thomas Meskill of New Britain. However, the announcement by popular Gov. John Dempsey that he wouldn't be seeking another term prompted Meskill to seek the governor's chair instead. In early 1970, Meskill met with another U.S. Representative, Lowell Weicker of Greenwich to inform him that he was running for governor, and to encourage Weicker to run for Senate instead. According to Weicker, Meskill wanted the Greenwich Republican on the ticket because "'...We have to have a balanced ticket, in terms of philosophy and geography,'" (Weicker, 34). Weicker was a moderate-to-liberal Republican from Fairfield County, while Meskill was a conservative from New Britain. Weicker thought it over for a week, and then decided to run.

Dodd did his best to highlight the fact that he had not been prosecuted, but found little support among Connecticut Democrats. Neither Democratic Party chair John Bailey nor Gov. Dempsey publicly supported any of the candidates, but just before the convention Sen. Abe Ribicoff endorsed Duffey.

Worse, Dodd suffered a heart attack and was unable to campaign. He saw the writing on the wall and withdrew his name from contention for the Democratic nomination, although he left open the possibility of an independent run.

Donahue won the convention, but Duffey had enough delegates to force a primary in August. In late July, Dodd re-entered the campaign as an independent, causing John Bailey to remark that "...any action like this can't help but hurt the party," (Treaster, "Dodd"). Many assumed Dodd would play the role of the spoiler, and that he had little chance of victory. An interesting twist was that, according to Weicker, Nixon hatchet man Murray Chotiner offered to encourage Dodd to enter the race to improve Weicker's chances. Weicker declined, but Dodd entered the race anyway (Weicker, 36).

In August, Duffey won the Democratic primary by a wide margin over Donahue and Marcus, and the stage was set for a three-way race. In an interesting sidenote, Joe Lieberman was nominated for Ed Marcus's state senate seat.

Left, Right, Center

The campaign was really a race between Weicker and Duffey, with Dodd the variable. Two factors helped to swing the election in Weicker's direction. The first was a visit by President Nixon to Hartford and Stamford on October 12th. Nixon was well-received and helped to boost the chances of both Meskill and Weicker. There's a photo of Nixon in Hartford, in which he actually climbed out of his car and climbed up to greet construction men. It's obvious that they were thrilled to get a chance to meet the president, and they're hanging all over him in a happy mob. Nixon looks uncomfortable, as usual. If I can find that photo online, I'll post a link to it.

The second event was the debate between Weicker, Duffey and Dodd which took place on October 26th in New Haven. Duffey attacked Dodd for his conservative voting record, saying that Dodd had voted with Republicans 60% of the time. Dodd defended his record, although he evaded answering some questions directly (Treaster, "Weicker"). Weicker scored the most points, though, by attacking Dodd as too conservative and Duffey as too liberal. Weicker later recalled the moment he thinks swung the election for him:
Looking at Dodd, I said, "It's the Tom Dodds of this world that create the Joseph Duffeys." I was trying to establish myself as the only middle-ground candidate; portraying Dodd as out of touch and suggesting that the result of his inattention might be to put a radical in office.

Within forty-eight hours of the debate, polls showed that I had jumped out ahead (Weicker, 37).
Weicker would remain in the lead. On Election Day of 1970, he defeated Duffey by a little under 90,000 votes. Dodd, clearly the spoiler in the race, received more than 266,000 votes.

Weicker had deftly threaded the needle between left and right, and come out ahead. He would come to national attention during Watergate as one of the few Republicans to condemn Nixon, and would earn the ire of his fellow Republicans for it. Ironically, he would lose to a conservative Democrat, Joe Lieberman, in 1988.

Duffey faded back into quiet obscurity, although his group lingered on for a little while longer. His loss was a blow to the peace movement.

As for Dodd, he died of a heart attack in May of 1971. Nine years later, in 1980, his son Chris would run for the Senate and win. He is still there today.

Implications for 2006

There are a few parallels between 1970 and 2006. A more liberal, antiwar candidate is once again challenging a conservative hawk for the Democratic nomination. The possibility that Lieberman would run as an independent should he lose the nomination also exists.

However, Joe Lieberman is not nearly in so precarious a position as Tom Dodd was, and Ned Lamont doesn't have the years of exposure and the national organization that Joe Duffey had. On the Republican side, there is no one with the popularity, name recognition and moderation of Lowell Weicker except Gov. Jodi Rell, who is definitely not running, and possibly Rep. Chris Shays. Alan Schlesinger, should he run, will almost certainly try to thread the same needle Weicker did, but he will start from a much more difficult position.

This doesn't mean that Lamont and Schlesinger don't have a chance. They do. Times are different, and new variables such as the internet will come into play this season. But it's clear that Lieberman is not Tom Dodd, and that this race will be, in the end, a very different one from the 1970 campaign.


"Dodd Will Seek 3rd Senate Term." New York Times 7 Januray, 1970.

Lieberman, Joseph I. The Legacy: Connecticut Politics 1930-1980. Spoonwood Press: Hartford, 1981.

Treaster, Joseph. "Dodd To Campaign as Independent." New York Times 24 July, 1970, p. 38.

Treaster, Joseph. "Weicker Assails Two Rivals in Connecticut Senate-Race Debate." New York Times 28 October, 1970, p. 34.

Weicker, Lowell. Maverick: A Life in Politics. Little, Brown and Company: Boston, 1995.

Open Forum

As the previous open forum is full of various things, I'll start a new one. I've tried to post these every other day--is there enough interest in open forums to justify posting one daily during the week?

Connecticut Democrats won't be holding their convention at the Convention Center because of a strike planned for that date. They will instead meet at the University of Hartford.

President Bush is returning to the state of his birth, apparently. I wonder if Governor Rell or any other Republican seeking election this year will go to meet with him, or appear within fifty miles of him?

What else is happening today?

Democrats Reject Governor's Spending Plans

Short post. I'm working on a history of the 1970 campaign, hopefully out later today. It's a good thing I don't have to work on Fridays.

The appropriations committee passed the Democratic-sponsored budget yesterday. None of the governor's major spending priorities, including the creation of two new state departments or money to pay for the elimination of the car tax, were included.
Rejecting many of the governor's fiscal priorities, the legislature's Democratic-controlled budget committee Thursday approved a $16.16 billion spending plan that would pour $245 million into the public school teachers' pension fund and provide extra state money for municipalities.

The appropriations committee rejected virtually all of Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell's plans for spending the projected current-year surplus and dismissed several of her proposals to reorganize state government, including creating a new state department of energy.

Rell ripped the Democratic proposal, saying it is "extremely disappointing and, frankly, borders on the irresponsible" because lawmakers left "no room for tax cuts" and placed a paltry sum in the state's rainy day fund for fiscal emergencies. (Keating)
The fact that so little money was set aside for the rainy day fund is indeed disappointing, but better funding for the teachers' retirement fund is to be appluaded.

I don't think the car tax repeal is going to happen. Municipal leader, perhaps correctly, don't want it, and the Democrats are adament about opposing the governor.


Keating, Christopher. "Democrats Offer Different Budget." Hartford Courant 31 March, 2006.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Lieberman Booed at JJB Dinner?

According to several reports, Joe Lieberman didn't receive such a warm reception at the Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey dinner tonight, despite praise from Chris Dodd and Barack Obama.
Lieberman became Obama's mentor when Obama was sworn into the Senate in 2005. They stayed close at Thursday night's event, too, entering the room together and working the crowd in tandem.

Despite the camaraderie between the two, the crowd was clearly more receptive to Obama's remarks than Lieberman's speech about party unity and the potential for Democratic victories at the ballot box this fall.

In fact, scattered boos greeted Lieberman when he took the podium, and he had to stop three times during his remarks to shush the crowd so he could deliver key points.(AP)

There are similar reports from My Left Nutmeg and Daily Kos. All three sources seem to indicate that the boos weren't loud, long, or made by many people, but they also seem to agree that Lieberman's speech wasn't nearly as well-received as the others.

I have to wonder--if that's the JJB, what's the convention going to be like? I hope I can manage media credentials for it: I'd love to see and report on that for myself (are you listening, Democratic HQ? I did send you an email).

If anyone was there tonight, I'd love to hear your impressions. Is the AP story accurate? Was it overblown? Did it miss things?

Whatever the case, I can't imagine that John Bailey, who put the unity of the party above all things, would approve. I wonder what he'd make of this situation? Maybe Joe Lieberman, who wrote a biography of Bailey, is wondering that, too.


"Obama rallies state Democrats, throws support behind Lieberman." Associated Press 30 March, 2006.


I've been disappointed in the recent breakdown of civility around here. Well, maybe it's not so recent. But lately, it seems to be getting a lot worse.

Look, politics is an emotional, dirty game. Tempers flare, passions run hot. And this is one of the few places online where you might encounter people with very, very different political philosophies than your own.

But that doesn't mean you have to hurl petty insults about a candidate, a cause, a party or another poster. That doesn't further your ideas: it just makes you look small.

One of the reasons I prefer to cover Connecticut instead of the national scene is because comparatively speaking, this is an island of sanity. I like to think that, despite our differences here, we can still get along and treat one another with dignity.

If we can't do that, then we're just making noise.

I won't ban people. I will delete racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise bigoted remarks. I will decide what those are.

And I'll ask you all now to try and remember that there is a big difference between debating and simply shouting.

Open Forum

There's a story about a young woman, Jennifer Ripley Heintz, who wants to run for mayor of Hartford in 2007. I like her, if only because she realizes that the "Come to Hartford. I Swear it's Fun" billboard is amazingly stupid.

Lisa Moody has a deputy.

DeStefano and Malloy debated last night in North Haven.

And yes, Corky Mazurek is indeed out.

What else is happening today?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lieberman Campaign Kicks Into Gear

Joe Lieberman's campaign for the U.S. Senate nomination is moving forward as the senator's first ad hit the airwaves:
Facing a challenge from the Democratic left, the first commercial of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's re-election campaign casts him as a fighter of "big-oil Republicans."
The ad is the first in a series that is expected to emphasize Lieberman's progressive credentials and his battles with the GOP, a departure for a Democratic senator who has prided himself as a leading bipartisan voice in Congress.(Pazniokas)

The Lamont campaign dismissed the ad and suggested that its very existence is good news for them:
"It's clear to me that Sen. Lieberman is trying to inoculate himself for voting in favor of Dick Cheney's energy bill," said Lamont's campaign manager, Tom Swann. "It also shows that he is worried that we're for real." (Pazniokas)

At this point I don't think anyone is disputing that Ned Lamont is for real. He seems on pace to win the required 15% at the upcoming Democratic convention to be on the primary ballot in August.

I sat down today with Sean Smith, Joe Lieberman's campaign manager, to talk with him about the race.

The Lamont campaign seems to be gaining in momentum, and is attracting Democrats who are very angry with Senator Lieberman. When asked about the cause of this anger, Smith said that he believes that the cause lies not with Lieberman himself, but with Democratic anger towards the Bush Administration.

"They can't beat Joe Lieberman in a primary; but they can beat George Bush," he said, referring to the claim that Lieberman is too close to the Administration. The association with Bush that Lamont and others have drawn is one the campaign is hoping to turn around.

Smith also believes that the recent favorable media attention Lamont has recieved will not last.

"This is a time when any challenger enjoys something like a honeymoon period as they arrive on the political scene," Smith said. "He's been able to generate the coverage that he should at this stage."

But Smith believes that honeymoon period will soon end.

"Lamont is having his best days now," he said.


Pazniokas, Mark. "Senator Starts On-Air Campaign." Hartford Courant 29 March, 2006.

Teachers Rally for Pension Fund

Teachers from across the state are rallying today to draw attention to the serious plight of the underfunded Teachers' Retirement Fund.
"Right now our pension funding has been declining," says Diane Marinaro, president of the Hamden Education Association. "They're not giving us the 100-percent every year like they should be. Teachers are paying their required amount every paycheck and we expect the state to do the same."

"I have put in 33-years of teaching and when I retire I would like to know that the state has put in its fair share, and I know that they haven't," says teacher Haywoodene Hines.

Teachers do not pay into or receive Social Security, so they count on state-funded pensions. (WTNH)

Sadly, the state hasn't shown much willingness to keep up its end of the bargain. Only a small fraction of the state surplus will be used to fund the retirement fund, even in the most generous plans. At this point many teachers believe that the fund will not be there for them when they retire.

Teachers are so frustrated at the state's inability to keep its promises to them that some are calling for a constitutional amendment which would force the issue:
Right now the fund is more than 5 billion dollars behind, and teachers want the constitutional amendment to guarantee the retirement money will be there when they need it. They say it needs to be taken care of soon, because eventually it's going to cost taxpayers a bundle.

Greenwich Representative Dolly Powers says "by passing a constitutional amendment, the only people who can override the law are the people, they're also the ones who will have the burden. Future generations, our grandchildren and children, those are the ones who will pay the bill if we don't come up with a long term solution now." (WFSB)

A constitutional amendment may be overkill, but the state needs to seriously consider what its going to do about the fund. They've been ignoring it for years--some sort of fix needs to happen soon.


"Thousands expected at teacher pension rallies." WTNH 29 March, 2006.

"Thousands of Teachers Rally Across State." WFSB 29 March, 2006.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rell Proposes Car Tax Compromise

Eh. It's nothing to get excited about, but Rell is moving slightly on the car tax proposal.
The Rell administration Tuesday extended an olive branch to Democratic Party critics of its plan to repeal the property tax on individual taxpayers' cars. Gubernatorial Chief of Staff Lisa Moody (pictured) said the administration would support a change in the plan to allow seniors to keep their $350 property tax credit -- which is otherwise a casualty of the car-tax plan. (Bass)

It sounds like they want to use some of the surplus for this. Dangerous...

I still like the idea of the car tax, if only as a way to make the state a slightly more bearable place to live and to get the ball rolling on real property tax reform. The idea of keeping the homeowners' credit for the elderly is nice, but it also seems like, as some of Rell's opponents are saying, an election-year gimmick.

I'm noticing that the New Haven Independent and other, related online sources like The Corner Report and CT News Junkie are all having excellent coverage lately. Let's hear it for online newspapers!


Bass, Paul. "Car Tax Compromise Floated." New Haven Independent 28 March, 2006.

Open Forum

A bill banning required workplace meetings with political or religious messages has failed.

Hey, Andrew Card resigned. Two rumors I've heard about this are that he may be running for governor of neighboring Massachusetts (because they looooove the Bush Administration there), or that he's about to be indicted. Either one makes him more interesting than he's been in years.

What else is happening today?

DeStefano Endures New Haven Challenge

First Hartford, Waterbury, Bridgeport and Meriden lined up behind his rival. Now John DeStefano almost lost some of the delegates from his own city.
Mayor John DeStefano's New Haven Democratic Town Chairwoman, Susie Voigt (pictured), was easily reelected at a convention at Sports Haven Monday night. But it was a disappointing night for DeStefano's gubernatorial campaign. His allies had to fight to elect a slate of loyal hometown delegates to the state nominating convention...

...Party Vice-Chair Norma Rodriguez-Reyes announced the formation of a slate of state convention delegates to challenge the one put together by party leaders. The party leaders' 69-member slate was entirely committed to DeStefano. The challenge slate -- titled "Practicing Democracy in New Haven" -- consisted of pro-DeStefano, pro-Malloy, and neutral delegates. What this slated had in common: They were all elected ward co-chairs or public officials, the same criteria for delegates named to the last gubernatorial convention four years ago. (Bass)

Not so good. The DeStefano slate won easily, but the fact that there was a challenge slate at all looks terrible to Democrats who might want a candidate they can unify behind.

It's very, very premature to count DeStefano out. He has the support of labor unions, and has a lot of money left in the bank. He also has higher name recognition than Malloy, and the few polls released on the governor's race show him doing slightly better against Rell than Malloy.

There will be a lot for delegates to think about.


Bass, Paul. "A Night at the Races." New Haven Independent 27 March, 2006.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Universal Health Care

Could Canadian-Style Health Care Work for Connecticut?

In 1993, President Clinton and the last Democratic-controlled Congress dropped the ball on universal health care, stranding the country with the patchwork system of employer-provided benefits and limited federal and state coverage that we have now.

It stinks. It's expensive, it's confusing, it makes life difficult for doctors and patients both and, worse, it misses people. There is a significant number of people who have no health care at all.

This health care system is also slowly choking our economy. If you ask any business owner what his/her higest costs are, you'll find that most will tell you that it's benefits, namely health care.

So what do we do? Other countries (like, for example, every other Western industrialized nation) have national health care systems which work pretty well, all things considered, but our American distrust of the federal government and the fact that even the members of Congress who might be inclined to push for universal health care are gun-shy on the issue following Clinton's incredible failure means we won't see such a system for at least a generation. Thanks, Bill.

Which is too bad. As has been said elsewhere, a single-payer system like the one Canada has would be cheaper and more efficient than what we have now.

Therefore, if we want universal health care of some sort, we're going to have to enact it at the state level. In fact, there's a bill in the general assembly right now that would do just that.

Here's some of the testimony from Dr. John Battista about that bill:
...[I]t is possible for a Connecticut single payer system to fund comprehensive health care for our entire Connecticut population while saving money for the vast majority of our residents and businesses. When a single payer system for Connecticut was studied under the Weicker administration, savings of over a billion dollars per year were predicted- a finding confirmed by the Office of Health Care Access. Every prospective state and federal study on single payer supports this conclusion, which is consistent with the experience of single payer systems throughout the industrialized world. (Battista)

This plan would both save us money and make us more economically competitive. If you run a business with high health-care costs wouldn't it make sense to relocate to a state where those costs could be reduced and you could compete more effectively?

Why aren't we doing this again?

Seriously, is there a reason why this doesn't make sense? I know that the knee-jerk reaction is that it's socialist, it's European, it's a "big government" program... but the patchwork of private and public sector that we have now is a failure, and an all-private system wouldn't cover nearly everybody. Also, systems like England's and Canada's certainly allow private health care, as well. It's like the public school system: a baseline of coverage for everybody, with the option of opting out for better/different care.

At this point, with the number of uninsured and the cost of health care for everyone both going up, it's sensible to try something else for a while.

I hope the General Assembly seriously considers this bill: I think it would be a boon to both the citizens and the economy of our state. And, let's face it, it'll be a long, long time before we see it's like at the federal level.


Battista, John. "Human Services Committee Testimony In Support Of Single Payer Bill No. 482." 7 March, 2006.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Few Small Changes

The look of the site is changing ever so slightly as I learn more CSS (let's hear it for library school! It's not just books anymore!). I haven't messed with things too much, but I've changed around some font sizes and some other things. The biggest change is the new logo at the top. I always hated the way the old one looked, and I like this one better. Oh, and blockquotes, which unfortunately Blogger still won't let you do in comments, are now in a nice shaded area with a dashed border.
Like so.

The site looks a lot better in Firefox. If you're using IE: why?

In political news, Bridgeport Democratic leaders have endorsed Malloy as their delegate selection approaches Monday night. Bridgeport is the state's largest city and has the largest contingent of delegates (Proud Moderate Dem informs me that this is not so, New Haven has more).

At this point I think Malloy's going to win the convention. If DeStefano doesn't have the more liberal cities, what does he have? If the cities (New Haven excepted) go strongly for Malloy, the towns will follow.

The issue seems to be electability:
"We are proud to support Dan Malloy in his run for Governor," [Bridgeport DTC chairman John] Stafstrom said. "It's time for Democrats to line up behind the candidate who can win in November." (Bridgeport)

At this point, Malloy has done a good job of quietly (and not-so-quietly) persuading Democratic leaders that he could do a lot better against Rell than DeStefano, and that he's a more stable, reliable and traditional candidate.

The primary, of course, is another matter, although a huge amount of pressure will be brought to bear on the convention loser to drop out so Democrats can face Rell as a united front. The fundraising numbers for this quarter are going to be revealing: DeStefano's only raised about $150,000 so far, although he might manage 300K or so. I know this because the DeStefano campaign put out a release about reaching $3 million on March 22nd: they were at $2.84 million according to a January 10th press release about the last quarter of 2005.

DeStefano does have the advantages of having wider name recognition and more cash on hand (probably near $2 million) than Malloy.


"Bridgeport's Democratic Leaders Endorse Malloy for Governor." Press Release: Dan Malloy for Governor, 26 March, 2006.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Weekend Open Forum


Some alarming health care news. Apparently the number of uninsured in Connecticut is skyrocketing... not a good sign. Our number of uninsured is up 14%, compared to a 2% increase nationally.

Two Republicans may seek the nomination for Treasurer. One of them is Jack Orchulli, the other used to be a Democrat. Another strong GOP underticket begins to take shape! I guess they can't do any worse than 2002...

In the meantime, the current treasurer's office is having trouble staying on top of things. Despite this, Nappier will probably be re-elected anyway.

What else is happening?

Friday, March 24, 2006

U.S. Senate Race News

There are a couple of interesting stories about the Senate race out today.

Lamont Picks Up Greenwich Delegate Endorsements

Ned Lamont picked up sixteen delegates in his hometown of Greenwich.

Anti-war candidate Ned Lamont enjoyed a distinct hometown advantage over incumbent Joe Lieberman last night as Greenwich Democrats were forced to declare their allegiances in this year's U.S. Senate race.

Sixteen of 22 delegates elected by the Democratic Town Committee to represent Greenwich at the state party convention threw their support to the challenger Lamont.
Lieberman failed to pick up a single endorsement from the 29 Democrats who ran for the 22 delegate spots, a clear indication of the growing dissatisfaction with Lieberman's support of the war in Iraq. (Vigdor)

It isn't surprising that Lamont would have support in his hometown, of course. This story could be spun a number of ways: either that it's obvious that Lamont is winning support and is a legitimate candidate, or that he failed to carry the entire delegation from his hometown. Well, at least he still has Cornwall's delegate.

Interestingly, I have yet to hear about Lieberman's delegates, although they must be out there.

Courant Comments on Influence of Blogs in Campaign

Sen. Lieberman's fued with Colin McEnroe is reported on in the Courant this morning. Mark Pazniokas also examines the role blogs are playing in this campaign:

Six years ago, when Lieberman last ran for re-election, his comments would have had the shelf life of an ice-cream cone. But on Thursday, they only grew louder, amplified by Internet bloggers.
Online buzz about Lamont, who has been an official candidate for less than two weeks, already has helped generate $132,255 in credit-card donations to Lamont through a Democratic fundraising site, ActBlue.Com. About $10,000 came in Thursday.

"From time to time, there are events and we'll see little blips," said Tom Swan, manager of the Lamont campaign. "Sometimes it's from a series of postings on the Web, like this." (Pazniokas)

McEnroe weighed in, too:

McEnroe said the episode was a "bloggable moment" for several reasons, including Lieberman's insult of bloggers during the interview, his special status as an online target of liberals, and his unusually blunt language, which the bloggers interpreted as fear.

"This little moment on our show, it wasn't a gigantic moment," McEnroe said. "It was a kind of moment [the bloggers] were looking for. They were kind of looking for a moment when Lieberman's famous composure broke a little bit." (Pazniokas)

Exactly so. It also doesn't help Lieberman that he really doesn't have a base of Democratic supporters online. That may be a commentary about who, exactly, is writing blogs, or it may be a commentary on Lieberman himself.

Just how much of an influence these sorts of "bloggable moments" will have on the outcome of the campaign is debatable, but that blogs and other political sites have an influence is undeniable.

Lieberman's Numbers Remain Steady

A SurveyUSA Poll released yesterday shows Lieberman's numbers have remained pretty steady over the last month. There isn't any movement at all in Democratic support, which is hovering at 56%. Lieberman is under 50% with self-identified liberals, though, who may be the largest block of primary voters.

Schlesinger Almost In

Alan Schlesinger told the Journal-Inquirer that he's "very likely" to enter the Senate race next month.

Schlesinger, 48, a partner in the Shelton-based law firm of Schlesinger & Barbara and the interim finance director in Derby, said Wednesday he's seriously exploring a bid for the Republican nod in the election.

Describing himself as a "moderate conservative" with a background in finance and decades of government experience, Schlesinger said he expected to show voters that he was "not just some hack the Republicans are running again against a known Democrat."
"I've got the top of the ticket on my side and all I've got to get is some normal people," he said, referring to the high poll ratings garnered by Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

"Jodi's going to win big, and I have a shot at pulling it off," he added. "That's why I'm no sacrificial lamb. Nine out of the 10 elections I've won, and I've taken out three incumbent Democrats."

Schlesinger also cited what he said was an "eerie" historical precedent. Republican Lowell P. Weicker Jr., he said, defeated Democratic Sen. Thomas J. Dodd in 1970 when liberals, angry at Dodd's support for the war in Vietnam and his support for President Lyndon Johnson, essentially denied him the party's nomination and backed an antiwar candidate, Joseph Duffey. He said Weicker was then a one-term congressman largely unknown outside the 4th District whose victory was aided by having the popular Gov. Thomas Meskill at the top of the Republican ticket. (Michak)

Gah, what a mangling of history. I will be writing about the 1970 race, as there are a ton of parallels. But firstly, Dodd was ill and was also discredited for some sort of banking scandal, and wasn't actually in the running for a long time. Also, Meskill was a congressman at the time, but won the governorship in a surprise victory.

Interestingly, one of Duffey's supporters was a young Joe Lieberman. But more on that later.

Schlesinger would be the youngest of the three candidates, and he's right: he does have a shot, especially if Lamont can win. Connecticut will vote for moderate conservatives. I revise my earlier statement: he's worth watching, and may be just the candidate the Republicans are looking for.


Michak, Don. "2nd Republican plans to enter Senate race; sees chance with disaffected Dems." Journal-Inquirer 23 March, 2006.

Pazniokas, Mark. "Online Buzz Benefits Lamont." Hartford Courant 24 March, 2006.

Vigdor, Neil. "(Story Title Unclear)." Greenwich Time 24 March, 2006.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Open Forum

Looks like an internal feud among Hartford Democrats may lead to Hartford having no delegates at the convention this May. Oops.

Seriously, though, that could be big, big trouble for Dan Malloy. He needs all the delegates that Eddie Perez can send his way.

Colin McEnroe blogs about his interview with Lieberman yesterday, which is generating a lot of buzz on the sorts of sites that don't like Lieberman much.

Speaking of Lieberman, he met with workers at Electric Boat yesterday and says that he'll try to get more money for sub production.

What else is going on?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Apparently, Joe Lieberman is not happy with Colin McEnroe (or with those lousy blogger types. Those jerks).

I have this odd sense that something major just shifted in this campaign. But we'll see.

Murphy Seeks to Ride Wave of Energy, Discontent

Sen. Chris Murphy’s (D-Cheshire) campaign headquarters isn’t quite what you might expect from a campaign that’s rated visits from high-ranking Democrats, the blessings of the DCCC and national attention as the best chance in a decade to turn out longtime incumbent Rep. Nancy Johnson. For one thing, it’s really hard to find.

Now, I’m from neighboring Newington originally, and I spent a lot of time when I was young riding my bike or, later, driving aimlessly around New Britain. Despite my familiarity with the place, I still find the Hardware City a bit confusing from time to time. Sen. Murphy’s headquarters is easy to lose even by New Britain standards.

Squirrels in the Roof

Murphy for Congress HQ is located on a side street right off of downtown New Britain, in an old white house set back from the street behind a law office. I drove past the narrow driveway a few times before getting it right. The only way that I knew I was in the right place was a black-and-white “Murphy for Congress” sign in the window.

I was greeted at the door by Sarah Merriam, Murphy’s perky and energetic campaign manager. She gave me a quick tour of the few first-floor rooms that constituted the campaign’s operations. There weren’t many staffers around, the time being late, and we could clearly hear the scraping and scrabbling of what she said were squirrels in the roof. There had to be at least two dozen. She seemed proud of the place, though, and informed me that she had worked in much worse before. There was a sort of optimistic energy to the place, though, that seemed to transcend the surroundings.

Sen. Murphy himself was on the phone when I got there, but he came out to sit with Merriam and myself, and we talked for nearly an hour about his campaign and his chances. He’s an unpretentious and approachable man who possesses a sort of quiet, firm energy and intensity. Here are some of the highlights of our conversation, mostly paraphrased.

New Britain and the Fifth District

One of the first questions I asked was about the headquarters. “Why,” I asked, “New Britain?” After all, it’s a big district, stretching from New Britain and Meriden to North Canaan to Danbury.

For one thing, Murphy said, “It’s close to Hartford,” where he spends his days during the short session. However, he said, he was planning on opening satellite operations all over the district. Some of the places he mentioned were Waterbury, Danbury, Meriden and “a smaller office in… Litchfield County,” maybe in one of the small towns like Cornwall. Murphy wants to run strong outside of the cities as well as in them.

Secondly, the office was inexpensive. Murphy wants to build a first-class field operation, and needs to reserve money for that instead. “Don’t get obsessed with money at the expense of [the] field operation,” he said. “Democrats are better at field organization,” than Republicans, which gives him an edge.

I asked him about his district. What made him think he could win it? After all, it was historically something of a Republican stronghold, and Nancy Johnson has traditionally been popular here. He pointed to the 2005 municipal elections, in which Democrats made significant gains in small towns, as an indication that the normally Republican small towns in the district were willing to vote Democratic. He did admit that “…in the cities… people are looking for something different,” which often means the Republican Party. This election, he said, is going to be “closer across the board. …Both parties will be forced to contest everywhere.”

Secondly, he suggested that the narrow loss of Charlotte Koskoff in 1996 as an indication that “…this district is willing to vote on national issues.” Murphy thinks that Johnson’s ties to DeLay, her vote on the budget and her work on the Medicare bill will be serious handicaps. “Johnson,” he said, “is so fatally linked the right wing,” that people may have more trouble voting for her than in the past. Democrats have historically had trouble tying their more moderate opponents to DeLay and the right wing, but Murphy feels that high voter discontent will make this year different.

The Iraq War

Our conversation took place on March 17th, near the third anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. I asked Sen. Murphy what he thought about the war, and how he thought we could get out of it.

Murphy is very much a pragmatist about possible solutions to the conflict. “No candidate running for office [can declare] a panacea,” he said. No one person has all the answers. Some of his ideas for progress are pulling back National Guard and reserve troops by the end of the year, setting up benchmarks for the Iraqis, convening a multinational contact group to deal with issues and helping the Iraqis do as much as they can for themselves. What’s most important, he says, is “honest dialogue,” which isn’t forthcoming from his opponent. “In this district, Johnson says nothing.” She seems to have “no interest.”

Campaign Finance Reform

I asked Sen. Murphy about the landmark campaign finance reform passed last year. Should something like it happen at the national level?

“If it works in Connecticut, it should work at the national level,” he said. “It’s amazing, given the ethical swamp [in Washington, that] there’s no move towards reform.” Again, he said, on reform, “Johnson says nothing.”

The Campaign

One of the reasons Murphy believes he can win because he’s running a young, energetic campaign. This campaign “…will look a lot different from Nancy Johnson’s campaign.”

I alluded to a comment I’d made about a month ago, in which I’d suggested that the campaign was “colorless.”

“Half of campaigns is building momentum,” he countered, telling me that his campaign is consciously being built in a very careful way. Still, even though they’ve got something of a low profile, now, the excitement and enthusiasm they see from people in the district so far has been high. Murphy stresses the energy of activists and other voters at the house parties he’s held, and the fact that a remarkable 80% of donations to his campaign have come from within the district. Apparently, I was mistaken about Murphy. In fact, as he reminded me, I can’t start a thread about Diane Farrell or Joe Courtney without the topic turning to Chris Murphy at some point. Maybe there’s more to this than I’d thought.


It’s hard to say where Chris Murphy will go from here. Nancy Johnson, ever since her defeat of Jim Maloney, has seemed untouchable, but 2006 is shaping up to be a Democratic year. If voters in the 5th District blow with the national winds, Johnson could be in her tightest race since 1996, when Murphy managed Koskoff’s campaign. Murphy says he’s learned from his previous campaign experiences, and he’s managed to defeat long-serving Republicans before. He thinks he can surprise Nancy Johnson this year. He might even be right.

Campaign Finance Reform Fix in the Works?

Looks like there's some movement on a fix for campaign finance reform:

A legislative committee met Wednesday to consider several changes to the state's campaign finance reform law, including legislation to close a loophole that has the potential to wipe out reforms enacted last year.
The votes in the Government Administration and Elections Committee are a first step toward crafting an overall bill aimed at addressing concerns of election reform advocates and minor political parties. (AP)

I'm glad to see that this is being addressed this session. That loophole is very strange. I wonder why it was put there? As sort of a failsafe?

I'll be interested to see how they'll deal with the question of minor parties, especially.

"Legislators attempt to craft fix to campaign reform law." Associated Press 22 March, 2006.

Gay Marriage on the Docket

A state court yesterday heard arguments from eight same-sex couples who want to be allowed to marry. This court case is significant, as it was a similar case in 2004 that led to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.

The state permits gay and lesbian couples to obtain civil unions, but these marriage-like partnerships don't provide all of the intangible benefits that come with a marriage license, asserted Bennett Klein, a lawyer with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.
But, asked Superior Court Judge Patty Jenkins Pittman, is that sufficient to revise the state's marriage laws? "I'm still troubled ... whether there is enough legal harm," she said.

Jenkins Pittman must weigh Klein's argument about the fundamental right to marry against Assistant Attorney General Jane Rosenberg's assertion that no such right exists under state law.

"All the rights and benefits have been granted," said Rosenberg, who represented the state. "It's unclear what we're left with other than the word `marriage.'" (Altimari)

Yet the word matters a great deal to the people on both sides. When civil unions were quietly and peacefully implemented last year, there wasn't a rush. Many gay couples haven't taken advantage of civil unions because they see them as an admission of second-class status, even though they come with all the legal rights of marriage.

Social conservatives, on the other hand, see marriage as an essential building block of society that must not be tinkered with, let alone be extended to people they think are rather immoral and icky.

Connecticut's civil unions law makes the outcome of the case difficult to predict. Another wild card that may be played comes in the form of the lovable thick-necked goofs at the Family Institute of Connecticut, who would like to intervene in the case. They feel that the Attorney General is not doing his job by not spelling out exactly how homosexual marriages are harmful to children (and possibly bunnies. Cute ones).

Brian Brown, who is currently the head of the FIC, argues that social science shows that same-sex marriages have been shown to hurt children living in those households. This is, in fact, untrue.

In court cases and in the national political debate over same-sex marriage, both proponents and opponents regularly appeal to social science to support their positions that the welfare of children is well-served or ill-served by same-sex marriage. Although each side would love to have a conclusive, scientific "silver bullet" that eliminates all doubt, no definitive answers reside in social science research. Not only judges, but voters considering ballot initiatives, legislators evaluating proposed bills, and ordinary citizens attempting to assess the material they read in their daily newspapers must know how to weigh the social science claims made by advocates on both sides. (Newman). --emphasis mine

I suggest you give the article, which is entitled The Use and Abuse of Social Science in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate, a read. If you don't have time, give it a skim. It's representative of what I've found in my research of this topic: that social science doesn't have any conclusive proof either way that children who grow up in households headed by a same-sex couple are any worse off than children living in a "traditional" household.

Mr. Brown is therefore basing his claim that children are harmed by same-sex marriage on faulty and incomplete science. This means that even if his group is allowed to testify, their assertions hopefully won't make much of an impact on the decision.

This doesn't mean that the judge will necesarily find for the plaintiffs. But the removal of Mr. Brown's rather paranoid argument levels the playing field. Both of the traditional arguments, that gays are legally relegated to a second-class status (solved by civil unions) and that gay marriage hurts children (an unsubstantiated claim), don't actually apply here.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the court is preparing to rule against the plaintiffs. This isn't necessarily a bad thing for them, since the case will almost certainly be appealed to the State Supreme Court. But even defeat there might not be such a bad thing, in the long run.

Gays should be allowed to marry. It's silly and unfair to deny them this basic right, and in a perfect world there would be no hesitation. But the world is imperfect. It's been less than forty years since Stonewall, and old habits and stereotypes die hard. I worry that pushing for too much, too soon may result in more division and strife instead of understanding and tolerance.

In twenty years, we will have gay marriage. That's where we're heading, and we will get there eventually. Advocates of full marriage can force the issue now and face the consequences, or have patience and trust that a better, more open world can slowly and surely be built, instead.


Alitmari, Daniela. "Judging Gay Marriage." Hartford Courant 22 March, 2006.

Norton, Stephen A. "The Use and Abuse of Social Science in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate." New York Law School Law Review 49(2): 2004.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Open Forum

The public health committee let the Plan B Bill die in committee yesterday. The measure, which would force the state's four Roman Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims, may come up as an amendment later on in the session.

The legislature is debating tightening some sex offender laws which would make more information about sex offenders available online. That gets me wondering... who, exactly, checks those registries? I don't think I know anybody who does, parents included. Do these lists actually help prevent sex crimes from happening? That may not be a question that can easily be answered, unfortunately.

Update: Oh, right, I'm a librarian. Let's see (search, search, search)... the few articles about evaluation of these programs I've found so far seem to stress the fact that more evaluation and research needs to be done. Not a good sign. Other suggest that the registries weren't having an effect on sex crime recidivism, although others say that there's a small but noticible impact. One article suggested that the registries themselves could theoretically contribute to increased recidivism:

Consequently, relegation to the least desirable neighborhoods, coupled with the growing move to legislatively create "buffer zones" that prohibit registrants from living within specified distances (usually one-quarter or one-half mile) from "places children gather" (e.g., schools, day care centers, parks, libraries, etc.) has imposed additional stresses and restrictions on registered sex offenders - factors long known to contribute to increased rates of recidivism.

Yikes. Of course, that's just a theoretical possibility... but still. Not good!

Lees, Matthew. "Understanding Policy and Programmatic Issues Regarding Sex Offender Registries." Corrections Today 68(1): Feb 2006, p. 54-7.

Lastly, there's an interesting article written by a Connecticut soldier who was stationed in Iraq. It seems like it might be part of a larger piece.

What else is going on?

Twenty Years in the Wilderness

It's been twenty years.

If you're a Democrat, you know what I mean. Twenty years have passed since your party last elected a governor (Bill O'Neill's re-election in 1986). You don't feel good about that.

If you're a Republican, you might know what that means, too. It's been twenty years since the Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate in Connecticut (they lost that brief control in 1986). Although the GOP managed to capture the Senate for a brief time in the 1990s, they haven't even come close to regaining the House.

So both parties wander the wilderness, seemingly stuck in forms set nearly two decades ago.

Why is this happening? For Democrats, who think they own this state, it must be especially frustrating. On a statewide level, Democrats can't lose. They've elected both senators since 1988 (it hasn't even been close), and their entire underticket of statewide officers almost always wins. They have a solid hold on two of the congressional districts, and control the legislature by a ridiculously wide margin. Why is it so hard for them to win the governor's office?

Well, lousy candidates, for one. Bruce Morrison, Bill Curry, Barbara Kennelly and Bill Curry again. That, and surprisingly strong candidates from the Republicans (or independents, in the case of Lowell Weicker), who tend to cede every other statewide race to the Democrats without a fight.

Secondly, the governor's race is the only statewide contest the Republicans will actually put up a fight for. It's as if they realize that holding the executive brance is all that's standing between them and complete irrelevance.

As for the fact that Republicans haven't done well in legislative elections for two decades, that isn't much of a mystery. Overall, the demographics in Connecticut favor what the Democratic Party is right now, and the Republicans have been so terrible at supporting candidates who aren't running for Congress or for governor that change seems unlikely.

I suspect, however, that what's really behind a lot of this twenty-year stretch of futility is inertia. Voters vote for incumbents, by and large. They gave Rowland three terms, for crying out loud! Neither party has given voters a compelling reason to change their voting habits in a long time, because neither party is coherent, focused or strong enough to do so. Things can change on a candidate-by-candidate basis, if a challenger is extraordinary and takes advantage of a favorable situation. But overall, inertia seems to be carrying us onwards into more of the same.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Malloy Campaign: DeStefano "Lashing Out"

The Malloy campaign is starting to get aggressive in their pursuit of delegates. For example, read the following release:

"It's unfortunate that John DeStefano chose to 'formally kick off' his campaign by intentionally misrepresenting Dan Malloy's position on the estate tax. Dan is not for repealing the estate tax -- and he's never made that proposal. Worse, John DeStefano knows that," [said Chris Cooney, Malloy's campaign manager].

"I assume John is doing this because he's having a bad day: between Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez's endorsement of Dan Malloy, and the strong, public support we've announced today in Meriden, perhaps John's feeling the heat. I understand that. But intentionally misstating Dan's position isn't the answer.

"We also know that John has been lashing out -- the misinformation in his press conference today is a perfect example -- because many hardworking men and women who are members of unions have been learning that when John Rowland tried to gut binding arbitration in 1995, John DeStefano testified in favor of that proposal at a public hearing at the Legislature. That's factual and inescapable. The misstatements by the DeStefano campaign today should be seen for what they are -- a political smoke screen." (Statement)

Expect an equally scathing rebuttal from the DeStefano campaign as the two contenders try desperately to appear legitimate during a critical week.

Malloy for Governor. "Statement from Malloy Campaign Manager on John DeStefano's Press Conference." Press Release, 20 March, 2006.


The DeStefano campaign's response:

New Haven: John DeStefano stands behind his record and public comments and feels Dan Malloy should do the same in regards to the estate tax. In a recent article in the, Malloy said that he agrees with the idea of cutting the estate tax and rolling back a law that raised taxes on estates of some of the richest people who die in Connecticut. Now he appears to be backtracking.

“Philosophically, he agreed with the concept of estate tax cuts as an economic development tool. Given that other states have eliminated the estate tax, "we need to price ourselves competitively for a jobs program," he said.”
Paul Bass – (Feb. 13, 2006)

DeStefano disagrees with Malloy’s position and believes it’s time to stop giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans. (Response)

Take that.

DeStefano for Connecticut. "Response to Dan Malloy's Statement: DeStefano Stands by his Record, Malloy Should Do the Same." Press Release, 20 March 2006.

Immigration Foe to Challenge Lieberman

Paul Streitz Will Declare Tuesday

Another nut has fallen from the Senate tree. No, not John Orman! That was last year.

Paul F. Streitz, a Darien businessman who unsuccessfully sought his party's nomination for Senate in 2004, will challenge Lieberman on a platform primarily opposed to immigration from Mexico.

"It is time to get the troops out of Iraq and put them on the Mexican border," Streitz said in a statement. "Thousands of Mexicans and other illegal aliens from other countries come into this country every day. This is an invasion, not immigration." (Breen)

Well... he and Lamont agree on something, at least: both want the troops out! I seriously doubt that either Lamont, Lieberman or other possible GOP candidates would want to redeploy them in El Paso.

It goes on:

Streitz, who calls Lieberman one of "the most traitorous U.S. senators" because of his support for policies like the North American Free Trade Agreement, will have a tough time beating the incumbent senator.

According to its most recent federal campaign filing, the Lieberman campaign has so far raised more than $5.9 million for Lieberman's re-election.

Streitz, who is trying to raise $20 contributions from 1 million Americans, has so far netted $80 in the effort, according to his Web site. (Breen)

Now, there's realistically no chance of Streitz winning the nomination. In all probability Alan Schlesinger or another amiable non-entity will be the GOP candidate. They're really not going to want much to do with Streitz, especially as Republican efforts to reach out to Latino voters continue.

CT Blogger, who has posted about the activities of Streitz's anti-immigration group before, has more at Hat City Blog.


Breen, Tom. Immigration critic wants to challenge Lieberman." Journal-Inquirer 20 March, 2006.

Update: I just realized I misspelled "Lieberman" in the title of this post. I'm starting to lose it.

The Other Primary

Remember the governor's race? It was all we could talk about six months ago, but now, with an exciting U.S. Senate primary looming, the Democratic primary for governor has faded into the background. Oh, the fact that the Republican candidate has an 80% approval rating doesn't help, either.

Both John DeStefano and Dan Malloy hope to get back into the public eye (as much as they ever were there) this week with several high-profile campaign events.

DeStefano, for example, is formally announcing his candidacy today. For those of you who thought he had already done that, as he has been running for over a year, think again. Two events, one in Hartford and the other in New Haven, have been scheduled. DeStefano's campaign is also announcing the endorsement of U.S. Rep. John Larson.

Malloy, not to be outdone, is announcing the endorsement of Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, someone we sort of knew was in the Malloy camp anyway. However, that endorsement guarantees at least an article and probably an editorial of some sort in the Hartford Courant.

Lastly, the two candidates met in Westport in a "candidate's forum" (or an agreement session) yesterday.

The two Democrats vying for the right to challenge popular Gov. M. Jodi Rell in November agreed on a variety of points, including their chief contention that getting a Democrat back in the governor's residence is long overdue. (AP)

"Democrats for Governor: Because It Really Seems Like It Has To Be Time, This Year. Right?"

In reality, few distinctions were made between the two candidates, which has been par for the course. Malloy and DeStefano. They spent most of their time attacking Rell's record and her various Moody-related troubles.

So onward the gubernatorial campaigns chug towards the convention, and the nomination of one of these two. Whoever wins the convention is likely to win any primary, should one take place (both candidates promise it will), although it's not clear just how much of an impact the Senate primary will have on the gubernatorial one.

In the end, though, whoever gets the nomination has a mountain to climb. And not the sissy kind of mountains we have around here: a real one. With rocks. Democrats' enthusiasm for the gubernatorial race is muted, to say the least, in the face of Rell's overwhelming popularity. It will be difficult to wrench energy, time and money away from congressional races and the Senate primary this year. We'll see if it can be done at all.


"DeStefano, Malloy make their case for nomination." Associated Press 20 March, 2006.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Quiet Sunday Open Forum

John McCain swung through Hartford on Friday, praising Jodi Rell for all the reforms she's helped put together. No irony there.

Seriously, I still suspect Jodi Rell would play some part in a possible McCain Administration, should one come to pass. He may be one of the few national Republicans she can work with.

Bill Kiner is, in fact, challenging State Senator John Kissel (R) again this year. I think we already knew that, but now it's official. Their 2004 race was the closest State Senate vote that year.

What else is going on this weekend?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

On War

It's been three years since the war began.

To mark the occasion, protests were held around the state.

I've been there.

I went to a large rally at the state Capitol just before war broke out, three years ago. Speeches were made against the war, we waved out signs in protest... and then a group got up and starting lecturing us about Palestinian rights. A Palestinian flag was brought out, and some people started applauding. I hesitated.

Palestinians? I thought. Where the hell did that come from? A couple of other tangentially related causes spoke their cases, as well. This tends to happen at big rallies: they get hijacked.

We did eventually get back to opposing the brewing war--for all the good it did. The war started anyway. Millions of people rallied in protest all over the world, and nothing changed. So much for mass action.

Now new (or sometimes the same) marchers, in smaller numbers, are protesting the war itself.

In Connecticut, about 1,000 people on the New Haven Green chanted anti-war slogans and waved posters urging a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
"We need to have an exit date, and tomorrow would be good," said Kathe Joy of Guilford, a home health aide who attended the protest, which was organized by Connecticut United for Peace.

Several people said it with signs, waving messages such as, "Killing insurgents is not an American value" and "Support our troops with one-way tickets home."

Others called for more federal spending on education and social issues rather than on an overseas war.(AP)

But then what? This war stinks. The way we were dragged into it stinks, and the way it's been prosecuted stinks. But I don't think we can just walk away. How can we? It isn't as if things will get better if we leave--in fact, American forces may be the only thing standing between Iraq and a nasty civil war.

So what's the solution? Training Iraqi troops? More American troops? Should we look at this like more of a Bosnia or Kosovo situation, and start acting like peacekeepers?

One thing seems clear: people on both sides are getting nowhere fighting a war that ended in 1975:

"I want you to resist," state Rep. William Dyson, D-New Haven, told the crowd. "I want you to be defiant. You need to be defiant, and there is nothing to fear. Make sure you go and do something: Organize, resist."

Protesters were hopeful that Saturday's gathering will be a catalyst for more anti-war demonstrations in Connecticut, recalling how Vietnam-era protests swept the nation. (AP)

Sounds familiar, doesn't it. And therein lies the problem, both with the war and the protest "movement," pitiful and disjointed little shadow that it is. Iraq is not Vietnam. There are similarities, yes, but in many ways the current conflict is very, very different from the earlier one. The following is an excerpt from an article I read in a recent Foreign Affairs:

Contentious as the current debate over Iraq is, all sides seem to make the crucial assumption that to succeed there the United States must fight the Vietnam War again--but this time the right way. The Bush administration is relying on an updated playbook from the Nixon administration. Pro-war commentators argue that Washington should switch to a defensive approach to counterinsurgency, which they feel might have worked wonders a generation ago. According to the antiwar movement, the struggle is already over, because, as it did in Vietnam, Washington has lost hearts and minds in Iraq, and so the United States should withdraw.

But if the debate in Washington is Vietnam redux, the war in Iraq is not. The current struggle is not a Maoist "people's war" of national liberation; it is a communal civil war with very different dynamics. Although it is being fought at low intensity for now, it could easily escalate if Americans and Iraqis make the wrong choices.

Unfortunately, many of the policies dominating the debate are ill adapted to the war being fought. (Biddle)

I recommend reading the article for a fresh look at the developing situation in Iraq.

Not that this will change anything. Leaders on both sides are far too involved in refighting the cultural wars that tore the nation apart forty years ago to recognize the change in situation and times. How can we develop real solutions to the problem when we can't even recognize exactly what the problem is?

I just hope, for the sake of the men and women from Connecticut and from all over the United States, that things don't get any worse. But, knowing Iraq, they probably will.


Biddle, Stephen. "Seeing Baghdad, Thinking Saigon." Foreign Affairs 85(2): Mar/Apr 2006.

"Connecticut protesters mark third anniversary of Iraq war." Associated Press 18 March, 2006.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Patterns of Impropriety

Rell Campaign Manager Kept Informed of Investigation Status

If anyone's paying attention, this is starting to look like a pattern of abuse:

The state's top elections enforcement officer gave Gov. M. Jodi Rell's campaign manager confidential information and let him act as a go-between last month during efforts to settle charges of fundraising violations by top Rell administration officials, The Courant has learned.

In a Feb. 10 e-mail, elections enforcement Director Jeffrey B. Garfield sent Rell campaign manager Kevin Deneen a copy of a proposed settlement with 16 commissioners and deputy commissioners accused of illegally soliciting money for Rell. He assured Deneen the Rell officials were being given "the full benefit of all doubt." (Lender & Mahoney)

While I still don't think the governor is actually involved in any of this, it's obvious that the sort of insider culture that turned a blind eye to widespread abuses during the Rowland Administration is still alive and well.

I would love to see the governor do more than simply shake her finger at the offending parties. She could, for example, actually fire someone. However, I doubt that she will. Instead, the frowning of a lifetime will be delievered. Very traumatic, I'm sure, but in the end nothing will change. These little violations that bend the rules but aren't quite bad enough to break the law will continue, and the perpetrators will get off with a small fine, a wink, and a pat on the back.

The public, of course, will remain blissfully unaware.


Lender, Jon and Edmund H. Mahoney. "Rell Aide Got Inside Information." Hartford Courant 17 March, 2006.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Open Forum

Oversize edition! So big it doesn't fit on the shelf.

The Lieberman campaign takes exception to young Ned's tone, despite the fact that Lamont's campaign has been relatively mild so far. Lieberman also suggests the public doesn't want a lot of name calling, but labels Lamont as "angry."

What amazes me about Joe Lieberman and the Democratic establishment's reaction to the Lamont campaign is just how surprised they all act that Lamont is saying the relatively mild things he's saying, and that this primary is happening at all. It's as if they never saw it coming.

But how could they have missed it? Anger against Lieberman in Democratic ranks has been brewing for years, especially over the war. Maybe they figured that a primary challenger couldn't hack it after the miserable failure of John Orman to raise money or attract attention.

Gov. Rell has vetoed that contracting bill again.

The legislature is considering eminent domain restrictions. This could be a real winner of an issue for Republicans, if they play it right.

Lastly, John DeStefano is planning to announce on Monday that he's running for governor. What? You knew that already? Well, apparently he'll be making it official in two speeches, one in New Haven and the other at the Old State House. Apparently some major policy proposals will be unveiled then, too.

What else is happening?

Perez Ties Property Tax to Income

Cities and towns across Connecticut are grappling with the realities of ever-increasing property taxes in the face of mandatory revaluation, the combination of which may become prohibitively expensive for low-income families. Hartford seems to have hit upon a way to deal with this:

Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez is taking a different approach by proposing to tie property taxes to a homeowner's income. Those who own and live in one-, two- and three-family properties would pay no more than 4 percent of their income on that property. (Cohen)

The idea seems to be to encourage owner-occupancy while easing property tax burdens on poor families. Here's how it might work:

Take a property in the West End now taxed on the most recent assessment - dating to 1999 - of $114,660. The owner now pays $4,701 in taxes. If Hartford conducts a revaluation this year, city officials estimate it would be assessed at about $269,000 and, under the current tax scheme, the owner would pay $8,350.

Under Perez's plan, the amount of tax depends on who owns it. If the owner lives in the house and makes $90,000 year, the tax is capped at $3,600. If the owner-occupant makes $50,000, the cap is $2,000. But if the property is owned by a landlord who lives elsewhere, the city estimates a tax bill of more than $9,500. (Cohen)

Of course, the increases would be passed on to renters in the form of rent hikes, which doesn't exactly seem fair.

It is a novel plan, and one that's sure to draw attention. Then again, it really doesn't seem like anything more than a stopgap, and an attempt to make the system a little bit more fair. The massive costs of education and social services which cause high property taxes in Hartford and other towns and cities aren't going to go away any time soon.

The plan requires the approval of the General Assembly.


Cohen, Jeffrey. "Perez Tax Plan Bucks Norm." Hartford Courant 16 March, 2006.

So Much for the GOP Bench

Schlesinger Expresses Interest in Senate Nomination

Remember when George Gallo hinted that there may be a serious GOP contender for Joe Lieberman's Senate seat coming out of Fairfield County? Do you think he meant Alan Schlesinger?

Though he has not officially announced his candidacy, Schlesinger, [Derby's] former mayor and a state representative from 1981 to 1993, is angling for this year's Republican nomination.

With Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman facing a primary from Ned Lamont, a Greenwich businessman, and Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell's high approval ratings, Schlesinger said the time is right for a challenge.

"This is the chance of a lifetime," Schlesinger said Wednesday.


"I think Alan's got all of the qualifications we look for. He has both legislative and executive experience," said George D. Gallo, chairman of the state Republican Party. (Higbee)

What about name recognition? A current position in politics? A vast personal fortune? A chance? Naturally, no one with a current career is going to risk it running against Lieberman, although if Lamont's prospects start to look good...

But unless Lieberman loses [the Democratic primary], significant support from the national Republican Party would be unlikely, Gallo said. "If Lieberman re-energizes his base, it will be an uphill battle for any Republican candidate," Gallo said. "But if Lamont pulls off the upset, then it's off to the races." (Higbee)

To be fair, Gallo is being realistic about his party's chances to regain that Senate seat, lost in 1988. There is exactly one high profile, popular Republican in Connecticut right now, and she's running for another office. The GOP bench is short, and their resources (and popularity) limited. Schlesinger, whose signature issue seems to be social security reform, is credible enough to be able to jump in, should Lieberman lose, but not important enough to hurt the party if he himself is badly defeated.

Another possible Republican candidate, according to the article, is Paul Streitz of Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control. I wouldn't, were I the Republicans. Not unless they get desperate. Well, more desperate.

Chris Shays's idea of endorsing Lieberman may start to look good, after a while. Maybe Chairman Gallo should give it another thought.

Higbee, Matthew. "Schlesinger sets sights on U.S. Senate." Connecticut Post 16 March, 2006.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Democrats Prepare for Civil War

"I don’t believe every public official is going to come out and support Ned Lamont. But I believe in the voting booth they will."
Rep. David McCluskey, in the NH Register today.

Ugly. It's going to be ugly.

How can it not? There's already so much hate and bile in the Democratic Senate race, which officially is just a few days old, that it's almost impossible to rise above it. I'm not talking about the candidates, who have mostly been cordial (so far--expect that to change), but their supporters, staff and partisans. If their behavior is any indication, this could be an excruciating campaign.

Joe Lieberman: The Shame of a Nation
Story title at MyLeftNutmeg

There's no reason why it wouldn't be ugly. To many on both sides, this is a fight for the heart and soul of the party, a fight over ideology and values, and a fight over the course the national Democratic Party should take as it seeks some way to be an effective counter to the Republicans. These aren't little issues.

You don't need to ... do anything to encourage the Kos folks to get involved in this campaign, as unfortunately they are already going nuts about this. I say "unfortunately" because I'm a Democrat who sees them as perhaps the most destructive force in my party right now.
Comment by dastrong at RedState

Lamont supporters want to reforge the Democratic Party into a pure liberal sword, with which they might slay the dragon of neoconservatism. Lieberman, perhaps even more than George W. Bush, represents everything that's wrong with America. To them, Lieberman supporters are no better than pro-torture, pro-war, pro-Bush, FOX News watching, gay-bashing, money-grubbing no-good Republicans. They're in the way of change and progress--they need to be cleared aside.

Do we need any more evidence of how important Lieberman is to the Connecticut Republican Party? Lieberman provides them cover. They'd wither and die without him around.

Support Ned.

Posted by kos at Daily Kos

Lieberman supporters see their man as a figure of moderation, common sense, compromise and values in a sea of seething partisanship. Some Democrats may not agree with Lieberman on every issue, but he's served the party and the state very well for a long time--flaws can be overlooked for unity's sake. For others, Lieberman is a brave man who is willing to stand up to his own party's rather dimwitted leadership on issues of principle. To most Lieberman supporters, Lamont's supporters are nothing but a small group of whiny, wild eyed, anti-war, party-smashing loudmouthed ultraliberal nuts. They're a threat to their man and to the unity of the party; they need to be taught a lesson.

“Quite frankly, it angers me that some in our party have such short memories about this man and his record in the U.S. Senate... Re-electing Joe Lieberman to the Senate should be a no-brainer.”

Speaker of the House Jim Amman, in a Lieberman press release

Generalizations, yes. But at the heart of each campaign and each support base, you'll find these opinions and motivations. Is there room in the Democratic Party for both men? More importantly, is there room in the party for the supporters of both men?

So it's going to get ugly. Actually, it already is ugly.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Open Forum

I have a feeling that the Lieberman/Lamont battle is going to get pretty ugly before it's over.

Legal experts are warning the legislature to refine campaign finance reform laws, or risk losing the whole thing.

And in ever-so-slightly out-of-state news, Springfield is still in deep trouble. Connecticut officials should take note: this is how not to run a New England city.

What else is going on?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ned Lamont to Announce Today

Ned Lamont is set to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate today at the Old State House in Hartford. Anti-Lieberman Democrats are ecstatic: this is the moment they've been waiting for, when a viable Democratic candidate steps into the ring against the man they feel has betrayed them and their party time and again.

Now it gets interesting. The Democratic Convention is scheduled for Saturday, May 20th. That's 68 days away--68 days in which Lamont must draw as many delegates to his side as possible, and in which Joe Lieberman must do all he can to make sure that Lamont comes in under 15%.

To get the 250 or so delegates he'll need to force an August primary, Lamont will have to convince town committees that he's credible and viable. To do that, he'll need media coverage and exposure. Today's article in the Hartford Courant, in which Lamont charms a group of surly Democrats to his side, is a good start:

Ned Lamont stood awkwardly in Dos Amigos, a Mexican restaurant on the commercial strip along Route 202, looking for even one friend during the dinner hour.

The progressive group that had invited Lamont to come to the Northwest Hills and talk about his opposition to the war and his challenge of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman couldn't be found. The eatery had no private room for them, anyway.

His would-be audience was unimpressed. Lamont got hard looks from one of the first to arrive: John L. Miller, 75, who made the winding, 30-minute drive from Cornwall with Paul H. Baren, 81, and Stephen H. Senzer, 76, to see if he is worth their time.

"We're not about to throw in with someone that has no chance," said Miller, who intensely dislikes Lieberman. "I was hoping to be more impressed with the planning."

Lamont implored them to stay.

And an hour later, after a free-wheeling discussion that quickly moved beyond the war in Iraq to the Patriot Act, universal health care, the environment and the economy, Lamont would have some recruits for a campaign that officially opens today. (Pazniokas)

If Lamont wants to make the argument that Lieberman is somehow out of touch with Connecticut Democrats, this article is a great start. Here we see Ned Lamont sitting down to talk with regular folks at a crummy Mexican restaurant in Torrington, and winning them over after speaking with them for over an hour.

Lieberman, by contrast, only appears in the article by proxy:

"We're going to run a campaign. We're going to have him here and be doing this the old-fashioned way: He's going to be asking people for their vote," said Sean Smith, recently hired to run the Lieberman campaign. "He ran for vice president. He ran for president. He hasn't really had a dialogue with Connecticut voters about Connecticut issues in a while. He is looking forward to it." (Pazniokas)

The stark contrast drawn between Regular Guy Ned and Senator Lieberman, who "hasn't really had a dialogue with Connecticut voters about Connecticut issues in a while," is powerful stuff. More articles like this, and the Lamont campaign will save a bundle on PR.

Then there's this from the Norwich Bulletin's Ray Hackett, which Connecticut Democrats will love even more:

I talked with Lieberman this week about the challenge, and asked him if he felt disappointed some Democrats would like to see him defeated and whether he would run as an independent if he were to lose the primary. Here's what he said:

"It's part of the process. You have to earn election; it's not something that's guaranteed, and I look forward to discussing my record with voters.

"Any disappointment would be in the kind of campaign that is run. I intend on winning the primary, but I'm not going to exclude any other possibility. I want to be on the November ballot, and I intend to be Democratic candidate on the ballot. I'm proud to be a Democrat and I have my own vision of what that means." (Hackett)

So the news today is framing this race in a way that Ned Lamont and his supporters would approve of: Ned's a regular guy who listens to folks in Mexican restaurants, while Joe Lieberman seems disconnected and willing to drop the Democratic Party itself to stay in office.

Lamont couldn't ask for a better start to his campaign.


Hackett, Ray. "Column: Busy Warner has growing buzz for '08 nomination." Norwich Bulletin 12 March, 2006.

Pazniokas, Mark. "Lamont Campaign Builds Step By Step." Hartford Courant 13 March, 2006.


A response to the Lamont announcementin press release form from the Lieberman campaign:

"Attacking Senator Lieberman's character and integrity was a predictable but dishonorable way to begin this campaign. Mr. Lamont is clearly going to run a very negative and angry campaign where the truth doesn't get in the way." Sean Smith, campaign manager.

Joe Lieberman - A Career of Progressive Ideas

For almost 18 years, Joe Lieberman has been a leader in the United States Senate on issues that matter to Connecticut Democrats -protecting environment, achieving energy independence, protecting women's privacy, attaining health care for all, helping to create jobs and representing the needs and values of working men and women, ensuring our national security improving education and securing civil rights for all Americans regardless of race, color, gender, sexual orientation or place of origin.

The press release then goes on to detail the Senator's accomplishments.


Press Release: "Lieberman Campaign Responds to Lamont Announcement." Friends of Joe Lieberman. 13 March, 2006.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

General Assembly 2006: Races to Watch

Updated 5/23/2006

This is the list of races to keep an eye on this coming year. I've added two open seats, Senate 16 and House 86, to the list and updated the candidate listings.

Some of these candidates haven't declared yet, but have only formed exploratory committees in their respective districts. If they decide against running, their names will be deleted from this list.


Senate 07

  • Incumbent: Sen John Kissel (R)

  • Opponent: Bill Kiner (D) (website)
  • Towns: East Granby, Enfield, Granby, Somers, Suffield, Windsor (part), Windsor Locks

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 1.64%

  • Notes: Kissel won based on his personal popularity alone in 2004. His district went heavily for Kerry. Kissel was one of the few senators to vote against civil unions in 2005. Bill Kiner appears to be running against him again: break out the bright orange signs.

Senate 12

  • Incumbent: Sen. Edward Meyer(D)

  • Opponent: Gregg Hannon (R) (website)

  • Towns: Branford, Durham, Guilford, Killingworth, Madison, N. Branford

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 3.16%

  • Notes: This is typically a Republican area. Meyer defeated Bill Aniskovich in an upset in 2004.

Senate 14

  • Incumbent: Sen. Gayle Slossberg (D) (website)

  • Opponent: Barbara Lisman (R)

  • Towns: Milford, Orange, West Haven (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 3.82%

  • Notes: Slossberg defeated a GOP incumbent in 2004.

Senate 16

  • Incumbent: Sen. Chris Murphy (Not Running)

  • Candidate 1: Sam Caliguiri (R) (website) ; (blog)

  • Candidate 2: David Zoni (D)

  • Towns: Cheshire (part), Southington, Waterbury (part), Wolcott

  • Notes: A rare open seat in the Senate--this one is being vacated by Sen. Chris Murphy, who is running for Congress. Another candidate, Rep. John "Corky" Mazurek (D-Southington), dropped out due to lack of support. It's unknown whether he's running for re-election in the 80th district.

Senate 18

  • Incumbent: Sen. Cathy Cook (R) (Running for Comptroller)

  • Candidate 1: Lenny T. Winkler (R)

  • Candidate 2: Andy Maynard (D) (website)

  • Towns: Griswold, Groton, N. Stonington, Plainfield, Preston, Sterling, Stonington, Voluntown

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 8.95%

  • Notes: Cook may be facing a primary, here. The other rumor is that she's running as a sacrifical lamb for one of the other statewide posts, possibly comptroller.

Senate 22

  • Incumbent: Sen. Bill Finch (D)(website); (blog)

  • Opponent: Robert Russo (R)(website)

  • Towns: Bridgeport (part), Monroe, Trumbull (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 7.96%

  • Notes: Finch has one of the most active candidate blogs I've seen. Worth checking out. Russo's site doesn't seem to be up, yet.

Senate 31

  • Incumbent: Sen. Tom Colapietro (D)

  • Opponent: Beverly Bobroske (R): (website)
  • Towns: Bristol, Harwinton (part), Plainville, Plymouth

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 5.14%

  • Notes: Colapietro has said homosexuality is a "sickness." Bobroske's website is not yet active, apparently.

House of Representatives

House 02

  • Incumbent: Rep. Hank Bielawa (R)(Not Running)

  • Candidate 1: J. Philip Gallagher (R)

  • Towns: Bethel (part), Danbury (part) Redding (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 0.82% (87 votes)

  • Notes: Bielawa won in 2004 because he was cross-endorsed by an Independent party. Very strange stuff. Jason Bartlett, who lost to him in 2002 and 2004, isn't running against him this time.

House 19

  • Incumbent: Rep. Robert Farr (R) (Running for Attorney General)

  • Candidate 1: Beth Bye (D)

  • Towns: West Hartford

  • Notes: Farr's retirement makes this a possible pickup for Democrats.

House 30

  • Incumbent: Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D)

  • Opponent: Edward Pocock (R) (website)

  • Towns: Berlin (part), Southington (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 7.44%

  • Notes: Berlin and Southington trend Dem, probably safe. Aresimowicz defeated a GOP incumbent in 2004.

House 34

  • Incumbent: Rep. Gail Hamm (D)

  • Opponent: Salvatore Nucifora (R)

  • Towns: East Hampton, Middletown (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 9.92%

  • Notes: Probably safe, although both towns are unstable for Democrats lately. Hamm irritated her constituents in East Hampton when she pushed for a law restricting development around lakes.

House 37

  • Incumbent: Rep. Ed Jutila (D)

  • Towns: East Lyme, Salem

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 8.69%

  • Notes: East Lyme is GOP, and Jutila is invisible.

House 38

  • Incumbent: Rep. Elizabeth Ritter (D)

  • Towns: Montville (part), Waterford

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 6.61%

  • Notes: Waterford is trending GOP

House 44

  • Incumbent: Rep. Michael A. Caron (R)

  • Towns: Killingly (part), Plainfield (part), Sterling

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 10.37%

  • Notes: Should at least be competitive. This part of the state is trending Democrat.

House 50

  • Incumbent: Rep. Mike Alberts (R)

  • Opponent: Sherri Vogt (D)

  • Towns: Brooklyn, Eastford, Hampton, Pomfret, Woodstock

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 0.44% (48 votes)

  • Notes: Most endangered Republican. Defeated Democrat Reece Painter in general election, but Painter defeated Alberts in special election to fill remaining two months of term vacated by Rep. Jefferson Davis (D-Pomfret), who resigned 8/04. Very strange.

House 65

  • Incumbent: Rep. Anne Ruwet (R)

  • Towns: Torrington (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 5.1%

  • Notes: Ruwet’s son is Mayor Ryan Bingham of Torrington.

House 86

  • Incumbent: Rep. Robert Ward (R) (not running)

  • Towns: East Haven (part), North Branford, Wallingford (part)

  • No Candidates Yet

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 13.95%

  • Notes: Longtime Minority Leader Ward's retirement makes this an open seat. North Branford, the major town in the district, elected a Democratic First Selectman in 2005.

House 100

  • Incumbent: Rep. Raymond Kalinowski (R)

  • Towns: Durham, Middlefield, Middletown (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 2.93%

  • Notes: Durham went Dem in 2005, and the margin is small. Kalinowski served on impeachment committee in 2004.

House 101

  • Incumbent: Rep. Deborah Heinrich (D) (website)

  • Opponent: Noreen Kokoruda (R)

  • Towns: Guilford (part), Madison

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 6.06%

  • Notes: Very Republican area. Heinrich defeated a longtime GOP incumbent in 2004.

House 104

  • Incumbent: Rep. Linda Gentile (D)

  • Opponent: Joseph Romano (R)

  • Towns: Ansonia (part), Derby (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 4.17%

  • Notes: This was an open seat in 2004, vacated by a long-serving Democrat.

House 117

  • Incumbent: Rep. Paul Davis (D)

  • Towns: Milford (part), Orange (part), West Haven (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 4.73%

  • Notes: Milford and Orange trend Republican. Davis is one of the people behind the bill to make assulting umpires a felony.

House 120

  • Incumbent: Rep. John Harkins (R)

  • Opponent: Dave Mooney (D) (website)
  • Towns: Stratford (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 5.81%

  • Notes: Stratford is trending Democratic following gains by Democrats in the municipal elections. Harkins has been in the news for controversial anti-illegal alien stances.

House 132

  • Incumbent: Rep. Thomas Drew (D) (website)

  • Opponent: Chris DeSanctis (R)

  • Towns: Fairfield (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 4.90%

  • Notes: Against natural gas terminal in Sound.

House 134

  • Incumbent: Rep. John "Jack" Stone (R)

  • Towns: Fairfield (part), Trumbull (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 7.88%

  • Notes: Lost the first selectman race in Fairfield to Ken Flatto. Stone was elected to a selectman's seat, but did not take it. Stone is seeking re-election to the House.

House 136

  • Incumbent: Rep. Joe Mioli (D) (website)

  • Towns: Westport (part)

  • 2004 Margin of Victory: 2.77%

  • Notes: Most endangered Democrat. Defeated a GOP incumbent in 2004.