Sunday, March 05, 2006

Successful Congressional Challengers: Part One

Bruce Morrison and John Rowland: How Did They Win?

It’s a modern rarity to see a congressional seat change hands from one party to another, especially here in Connecticut. Congressional challengers have a notoriously difficult time—so much so that a challenger has only defeated an incumbent four times in the last quarter century.

Bruce Morrison (D) vs. Lawrence DeNardis (R) - 1982

This race between Democrat Bruce Morrison and Republican incumbent Lawrence DeNardis was one of the closest congressional races in recent memory.

DeNardis was a freshman Republican, who in 1980 had defeated the State Senate’s majority leader, Democrat Joseph I. Lieberman, in a contest for an open seat. His victory marked the last time a Republican would win the 3rd District seat, and can largely be attributed to the 1980 victory of Ronald Reagan over Jimmy Carter. DeNardis had been a member of a group of Northeastern moderate Republicans known as the “gypsy moths”, who had stood against some of the changes to social programs proposed by the Reagan Administration (Hunter).

Bruce Morrison, who was the director of the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, defeated Stephen Wareck, president of the New Haven Board of Aldermen, in the Democratic primary. Morrison had no previous political experience.

Morrison drew a clear distinction between himself and DeNardis on issues which played to the large Democratic base in New Haven.

Against Mr. DeNardis, Mr. Morrison could cite clearer differences on the issues than those between himself and Mr. Wareck. ''Our polling showed that people's votes were turning on Social Security and jobs,'' he said, ''Obviously, we targeted members of labor organizations, women's organizations.''

The proposed bilateral nuclear weapons freeze also appeared to play a large role in the upset. Mr. DeNardis had voted in favor of the freeze resolution in Congress. But he supported statements made against the amendment by Alexander M. Haig Jr., when the former Secretary of State campaigned for him. And he reportedly said that a neutron bomb was no more of a nuclear weapon than a sweater, since a certain amount of radioactivity is naturally present in textiles. (Freedman)

He also ran an aggressive grassroots campaign and built an effective organization, which overmatched DeNardis, who also admitted that he had grown complacent:

In reflecting on his loss, which he had not expected, Mr. DeNardis also blamed himself for becoming too complacent. ''I always knew it was a difficult district for me, about two-to-one Democratic,'' he said. ''But I thought everyone considered I was doing a good job, going home every weekend, mending my fences, holding listening hours in the district every week, working 16-hour days.''

Now, looking back, he said he realizes that ''a certain complacency'' had crept into his way way of campaigning. ''I just didn't stay up to date on the technology of campaigning,'' he said. ''I guess I ran not to lose rather than to win.'' (Hunter)

A major factor in the campaign was the absence of Ronald Reagan on the ballot, and the discontent felt towards Reagan’s policies in 1982. Some of the Republican gains of 1980 were undone nationally during that election year, although they would be made back in 1984.

Morrison ended up winning by a very narrow margin, only about 1,500 votes. DeNardis decided not to force a recount, and conceded.

Sources

Freedman, Samuel. “Rise of a Newcomer to Seat in Congress.” The New York Times November 7, 1982.

Hunter, Marjorie. “Reflections of a Losing Congressman.” The New York Times December 31, 1982.


John Rowland (R) vs. William Ratchford (D) – 1984

It’s always interesting to take a closer look at the races of John Rowland. This race, in which a mustachioed 27-year-old Rowland leapt onto the national stage by winning the seat of Democrat William Ratchford, is one of the first highlights of his political career.

William Ratchford had been in office since 1978, but the 1984 campaign looked to be his toughest. President Reagan was on his way to soundly defeating Walter Mondale, and the entire country seemed to be leaning towards the Republican Party. John Rowland, a state representative from Waterbury and the former minority whip, had emerged the victor in a three-way contest for the Republican nomination.

Rowland’s victory is inextricably bound up in the victory of President Reagan. National winds were blowing the GOP’s way, and Ratchford, whose 5th district was trending more and more Republican, fell before them. Rowland drew a sharp division between himself and Ratchford, and emphasized his connection to Reagan’s policies and ideology. Both Ronald Reagan and former President Gerald Ford campaigned in the 5th District for Rowland, helping to cement the connection.

Mr. Rowland, on the other hand, is emphasizing his link to Mr. Reagan and his strong support for the President's economic policies. He presses hard the overall theme of family and traditional values.

''You hear a lot of people say the main issue this year is the economy,'' Mr. Rowland said. ''I think it's the future of Connecticut's families - what I call the safety issue - security in the economy, whether young people can buy homes, whether all of us can keep our jobs, what effects inflation will have on all of us, keeping up a level of defense.''
(Schmalz, 5th)

Ratchford, on the other hand, ran a far less ideological campaign, emphasizing his service to the district and downplaying what Rowland called his liberal voting record. He also drew a distinction between the ages of the two men (Rowland was 27, Ratchford 50):

''The main issue in this race,'' Mr. Ratchford went on, ''is the comparison between the two of us on quality and performance and experience. I'm in Congress six years. I was speaker of the State House of Representatives. People know me.''

In an interview at a Democratic picnic in Ansonia, Mr. Ratchford acknowledged that the Democratic Party had lost some ground with blue-collar workers.

''As a party,'' he said, ''we need to reach out more to middle-income people. America is no longer rich or poor. Most of America is in the middle and we need to address that.'' (Schmalz, Connecticut)

Ratchford’s attempt to paint Rowland as too young and inexperienced didn’t work. He lost by a little over 20,000 votes. Crucially, Ronald Reagan carried the district by a huge margin (around 80,000 votes), and won Connecticut’s electoral votes as well. Reagan’s landslide helped give the GOP a majority in the state House of Representatives: a feat they have not since replicated.

In reality, then, it wasn’t John Rowland’s victory so much as it was Ronald Reagan’s, although Rowland was smart to draw a clear connection between himself and the popular president. Changing demographics in the 5th District also cemented his victory, and Ratchford’s loss.

Sources

Schmalz, Jeffery. “5th District Race Tests Strength of Democrats.” The New York Times October 21, 1984.

Schmalz, Jeffery. “Connecticut Democrat has 2 GOP Foes in Re-Election Effort.” The New York Times October 20, 1984.


Conclusions: Part One

Both Rowland and Morrison were helped greatly by complacent challengers and the prevailing national political winds. These would be factors in the 1996 and 2000 elections, when Gary Franks lost to Jim Maloney and Sam Gejdensen lost to Rob Simmons. I’ll take a closer look at those two elections tomorrow.

49 comments:

CDA said...

GET SOME QUALITY TO THIS SITE!

Genghis Conn said...

Nah, we're not gonna do that.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, GC does an original article and gets dissed.

I would suggest geography also played a big role in these races. Both Morrison and Rowland ran very strongly in their district's major city, while the incumbents were aligned with outlying areas.

The existence of the party lever also explains these races, as Ratchford was lifted in 1982 to an inflated 58% by the relatively weak GOP campaign of Lew Rome, which conversely sank 3rd CD GOP turnout.

These factors don't auger well for Chris Murphy, who has shallow roots in the 5th CD and will face a Jodi Rell tsunami in the district. Even without a lever only Roy O would think Jodi wins the 5th by less than 30K, and that is a big hill to climb

Anonymous said...

The 5th is full of ticket-splitters. These people vote for Bysiewicz, Blumenthal and Wyman every year, while they have also been voting for Rowland. A lot of them even voted for Groark in 1994. The biggest city in the district managed to elect a mayor on a write-in campaign. There was a lot of anti-incumbent sentiment in the 2005 municipal elections throughout the 5th.

I don't see how a Rell "tsunami" -- even if it happened -- means much in a district like that. And as for the party lever, well, under your theory that Rell will win by 30k votes, the lack of a party lever actually benefits Murphy.

Anonymous said...

Sure, there's ticket splitting off a huge GOP base

2002
Rowland/Rell 132,970
Dick B 121,257
Bysiewicz 117,901
Johnson 113,626
Wyman 111,145
Nappier 100,902
Maloney 90,616
Garber 88,012
Curry 78,588
Mullins 77,777
M. Dean 77,400
San Angelo 75,968

So let's see, Rowland won 20,000 more votes than anyone else, Nancy Johnson facing an incumbent opponent ran as well as the revered and lightly opposed Bysiewicz, Blumenthal and Wyman, an incumbent Democrat Congressman ran even with an unsuccessful GOP treasurer candidate, and the Dem gubernatorial candidate ran even with three GOP underticket pols who were buried statewide.

Well, maybe the 5th is shifting. Let's look at 2004. Bush received 152,504 votes, more than 5,000 more than his next best CT district. Kerry received 153,616, 9,000 votes less than his next worst.

Other than that, the 5th is a great Democrat district

Genghis Conn said...

The party lever was a big factor in every election until it was finally abolished in 1987-88.

Any district with Waterbury in it is bound to be a little odd.

Anonymous said...

Great job on the history, that was really interesting.

Murphy has no roots, not shallow roots in the 5th CD and will have a tough time convincing Waterbury to come out for him.

Interesting that Rowland's 5th CD win was the last year of the party lever. A mechanism that had traditionally been a tool for the dems launched John G's political career.

Anonymous said...

dear anon 12:38 the only thing Roy o can pick...is his nose...he is 0 for 4 when having a senior role in a state wide race

Anonymous said...

Anon: 3:00

1986 was the last year of the party lever.

Weicker& D'Amore tried to rejuvenate the CT GOP by removing the party lever and running a Fairfield County liberal for Governor--the result was the worst GOP year since 1974 and the creation of a one party State House of Representatives (since the "levered" Dems stayed in and wouldn't be swept out in better GOP years in the future)

The architects of this debacle were propetly rewarded in 1988

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:34 pm

You need therapy. And a life.

Anonymous said...

"properly rewarded in 1988" - can you elaborate? Who and how rewarded?

confessed democrat said...

Maloney did not run well in the Farmington Valley towns, but those suburban housewives are going to love Murphy.

And if Murphy won Waterbury when he was running for State Senate, why would you think he couldn't win it running for Congress?

Moderate Democrat said...

Genghis--

Excellent historical analysis, as always. I would say there are four hurdles challengers have to get over to defeat an incumbent....and if these are right, then Connecticut's three R's are safe.

Hurdle #1: The Challenger is credible. Obviously, the voters need to see the challenger as a credible alternative to the current Congressman. (This hasn't been true for R candidates in the 1st or 3rd CDs for years). All three D challengers this year are definitely credible.

Hurdle #2: The Incumbent must be complacent. If you look at 3 out of the 4 races GC cites (DeNardis, Franks, Gedjenson), the incumbents ran lackluster races. If the incumbent is running scared, it is tough to beat them. This is the major problem for D challengers this year-- all three R incumbents are running scared (raising lots of money, building grassroots).

Hurdle #3: Strong headwinds upticket. Rowland won because of Reagan. DeNardis lost because there was no Reagan. Franks lost in a year Clinton swamped. (Simmons is the exception here). Tough to say how this breaks this year....Bush is a drag on the Republicans, but Rell helps.

Hurdle #4: Stronger grassroots for the challenger. "Sneak attack" from the bottom-up is common to all these winning challenger campaigns. Usually tied in with complacency of incumbents who don't build up their grassroots.

My conclusion-- all congressional incumbents will be safe this year. In fact, my best guess is that our officeholders will look almost EXACTLY the same a year from now as they are today (exception being Lt Gov).

Genghis Conn said...

My conclusion-- all congressional incumbents will be safe this year. In fact, my best guess is that our officeholders will look almost EXACTLY the same a year from now as they are today (exception being Lt Gov).

A distinct possibility. However, the national winds and that anti-incumbent mood we detected in the municipals could sneak up on one of the incumbents. Johnson of the three is the most complacent.

Still too far out to say for sure, though.

Anonymous said...

Predictions: Murphy loses in 2006, due in part to sectarian party stuff that doesn't show but decides real viability.

If Johnson runs again in 2008, Murphy runs and loses both the election and his credibility as a Congressional candidate, unless a huge Democrat Presidential showing gives him the tailwind he needs.

If Murphy wins in 2008, redistricting in 2010 puts Southington and Bristol into the Fifth, Waterbury goes into the Third, and Danbury goes into the Fourth, with some balancing along the lines of everything except Black Rock going into the Third along with Stratford, Meriden going into the First and Middletown going into the Second.

Bysiewicz promptly runs for Congress and unseats Simmons. The Fourth is now the only Republican Congressional seat, and virtually impregnable to the Democrat party.

If Johnson doesn't run in 2008 it is an open seat, and Murphy's carpetbagging becomes enough of a liability that he loses the nomination to Maloney or Jarjura or Vance or Curry, in no particular order, and is reborn as the Democratic nominee for Secretary of the State for 2010 as Bysiewicz steps out, instantly making him a contender for the Governor's mansion in 2014.

Anonymous said...

Confessed Dem, interesting thoughts

The problem is Johnson has always cranked huge pluralities out of the Farmington Valley. Even in her "off" years. So those soccer moms who split ticket to vote Clinton/Johnson in 1996 are now going to vote Rell/Murphy? (ain't no one better loved by soccer moms than Jodi)

RE: Waterbury. Maloney won it by 3,000 and still lost district wide by 20K. Unless Murphy wins it by say 6000 it won;t matter. He only defeated the uninpsiring Ann Dandrow in an open seat race by about a thousand in Waterbury, and the incumbency advantage of a state senator aint that of a Congressman

RE:Anon 4:12

Bush 41 won CT in 1988 by 75,000. Weicker lost by 10,000. Had the party lever still been in effect, Weicker definitely would have won

Anonymous said...

dear Anon 4:11

The facts are these about ROY O

1.2 senior positions in 2 curry for Governor races.

2.Campaign Manager for SUllivan for Congress.

He lost all of the above..I could go on but i think you see my point...try some therapy for yourself.

Anonymous said...

George Bush will be bad for Congressional Republicans but Jodi Rell will be good for State Republicans.

MysticD said...

Why are people talking about Roy on this blog all the time? Or is it really just one person always talking about him?

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:01p.m.:

That's a hell of a prediction! I don't know what sectarian stuff would hurt Murphy this year, but the dems seem pretty united behind him, especially now that Vance and Curry are out. I don't know if he'll win, but lately he looks stronger than I thought.

I suppose Murphy would be pleased to hear, however, that he might someday be governor!!!

Anonymous said...

to mysticd - there's some lonely guy out there who has a lot of time on his hands and something against 'roy o' so he puts all his mental energy into coming up with great insults like 'roy picks his nose' - adds alot to the debate don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts on how Rell will do in Waterbury, given her taking over from Rowland, and obviously (and for good reason) not giving him any cover. She may not turn out that city too well, and that will have an impact on the Congressional race.

Anonymous said...

Bush almost won Waterbury. I do not think DeStefano will be a more appealing candidate there than Kerry

Anonymous said...

I too agree Roy O is a non issue but all I know is that if I lost to Gallo as many times as he has frankly, I would consider a new line of work.

CT05 Admin said...

Johnson's record and allegiance to Bush, Frist, Cheney and DeLay are the issue, and the reason that people in the Fifth will split their ticket despite the expected strength of Rell.

As far as "sectarian" issues go, every town is different, but most local activists are going to be comfortable with Murphy, as indicated by the support he garnered across the district.

The carpetbagging thing has no legs, in fact I can't remember it being brought up once except to dismiss it, and will have less as time goes on.

Everybody will be ready for a change by Labor Day, IMO. And if Murphy scores an upset this year, he's definitely a future Gubernatorial prospect.

Anonymous said...

CT05 admin, how did Toby Moffett's house run in 1990 turn out?

Unless suddenly all those Bush voters (49.7%) in the 5th change their minds (and it's not like they didn;t hear about the negatives on Bush in the 2004 race) Murphy's got a very thin needle to thread

CT05 Admin said...

I don't give the Moffett comparisons much credence. It was a different time and a different district. Different opponent. Different Bush. In fact, I don't think you can make a valid comparison beyond the superficial one you've provided. That isn't intended to be a dig, I really don't see the paralell.

Murphy's positions and record are important, of course. Of greater importance are the positions and record of the incumbent. They are abysmal. And the Nancy Johnson of 1990 was not the same person that came to be after the fiasco as Ethics Committee Chair that almost cost her the seat in 1996.

Since then, she has become a full-fledged member of the cabal of cronies who have cynically auctioned off one gerrymandered congressional seat after another. Hers was sold to the HMO's and PhRMA clients who are the direct and clear beneficiaries of legislation she authored, literally while they were writing her tens of thousands of dollars in checks.

She made the most of her relationship with "Shotgun" Dick Cheney back in 2000. I think there are more than a coupla prints of her appearances with Cheney. She is actively supporting the disasterous neo-con foreign policy and bizarre world view of that cult. To say she is out of step with the District's voters is a severe understatement.

That is the issue. It isn't even a debate. The only question is whether Murphy can penetrate the electorate with the facts. If he can, they will vote for him.

Nothing like that could be said prospectively in 1990.

Anonymous said...

CT 05 "penetrating the electorate"

this is reminiscent of a quote from Orwell about British Marxists, that Moscow had directed them "to make greater efforts to penetrate the more backwards part of the proletariat"

Anonymous said...

Uh, okay... so, if you want to spread the truth about an incumbent to voters you're a Marxist?

CT05 Admin said...

Heh. A pointless comparison. But perhaps a better choice of words would have been the more technical "message penetration".

Anyone who has been around politics for fifteen minutes or more knows what that means. At the municipal/state leg level we call it "name recognition". At the State Senate level (in Connecticut) it becomes something different, and at the Congressional level, as turfgrrl has pointed out, you are dealing with costly and sophisticated practicioners and methods.

But I like to speak American when I can. Know what I mean Winston?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, all the "cabal" talk reminded me of some LaRouche publication that gets left on train platforms.

Perhaps the Trilateral Commission is the real force behnd Johnson

Frnakly, I didn't hear a whole lot of Wolcott in what you were saying, but then again you guys talk about "working families" constantly, never with them

Anonymous said...

for what it's worth - Nancy Johnson does represent the district - she's moderate on social issues she's conservative on fiscal issues and you think waterbury & new britain are progressive? come on I think Murphy is a great guy and a great state senator but it's not time for Nancy to retire --- I vote for chris when there's an open seat!

Anonymous said...

funny to tie nancy to the conservatives in DC who basically hope that she loses so that a real conservative can have the seat. nancy is a thorn in the conservaives' side. nancy was instrumental in getting delay to resign as majority leader. she also was the leader of a moderate group of GOPers in the house that stopped drilling in the ANWR. she and simmons and shays are the three most moderate members of the house of representatives. murphy is a reliable liberal, who will help him win support from local loony liberals, but wont sell to the 5th district. nancy is the most energetic congresswoman that i have ever seen, and she is not taking this race for granted. she is raising tons of money and will blow murphy out of the water in november. i think that murphy is hoping that she will decide not to run in 2008. not going to happen. she is in line to become chair of the ways and means committee, a 6- year term which will be a boon to the 5th district. murphy should have moved into shays' district to run against him, as he has always had his eyes on the governorship.

CT05 Admin said...

I'll just note in passing that Winston offers nothing to back up his superficial attempt to equate Johnson circa 1990 to today's model.

Speaking of which, everyone, say hello to Brian Schubert!

"...conservatives in DC who basically hope that she loses so that a real conservative can have the seat."
LOL. Your boss is right here, kiddo!

"...was instrumental in getting delay to resign as majority leader."
No she wasn't. She stuck with him until the criminal litigation leading to his incarceration in the hopefully near future forced him to step down. You guys got the heads up and rolled out your prepared spin control charade. You then backed DeLay's protege Blount to the hilt. But you lost, because even your own party knows you guys are radioactive.

"nancy is the most energetic congresswoman that i have ever seen, and she is not taking this race for granted. she is raising tons of money..."
Gee, the most energetic? Why'd you feel the need to throw that in? Her age is not the issue, Brian. It is the fact that she sold the senior citizens of this district out to the contributors you are braggig about raising so much money from, in pursuit of, to quote you,

"[the]...chair of the ways and means committee, a 6- year term which will be a boon to the 5th district.
Really? You mean, the billions of dollars that have been going into the coffers of her contributors are now going to be coming our way? Great!

Tell us exactly, what massive pork spending does Nancy Johnson promise to deliver to the Fifth Congressional District if she becomes Chairman of Ways and Means?

Anonymous said...

i do not know brian schubert but if he works for nancy it seems like he has good job security :-)
another issue- it is going to be difficult for murphy to run on the platform that he would have voted against the medicare part d plan. thousands of seniors have signed up for the drug plan and are saving hundreds of dollars per month. for chris to say that he would have voted against the bill is going to be a tough sell. its also insulting to seniors to say that they are not capable of spending an hour or two to choose the best plan that allows them to save so much money.
nancy was instrumental in getting tom delay to resign. nancy did stop the drilling in anwr, nancy is a thorn in the side of the conservative leadership of her party as is chris shays and rob simmons. ct-05 admin obviously has a partisan agenda, rather than a balanced political analysis. just check out his cool website :-)

Anonymous said...

CT05 admin knows so much about local politics (probably some fired gun the D's airlifted into CT from DC) he didn;t realise carpetbagger Moffett was defeated handily by Gary Franks, a politician with a fraction of the abilities of Nancy Johnson.

But why actually "know" the district when you already "know" what's good for "working people" to save them from these nefarious "cults" and "cabals". Isn't that what liberals in Washington are all about, telling us dummies in the sticks what's good for us since we're too dense to make our own decisions?

And yes, 5th District Republicans "never, ever, give up".

Anonymous said...

"We shall fight them on the beaches. We shall fight them on the landing grounds. We shall fight them in the fields,
and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender"

Welcome to CT 5, my DC Democratic operatives...by November you'll think you've been invited to Shawshank

Paul Vance said...

Pretty tough thread here, Chris Murphy is a solid candidate who is pretty well known for campaigning very hard. I am sure Chris will make certain that Rep. Johnson is not able to ignore the 5th CD to play in D.C.

Genghis-- you killed me with your shot at Waterbury-- but heck, this is the capitol of CT democracy now. A write in candidate wins with huge totals, it shows that when properly inspired- people will vote. That is the biggest challenge my fellow Democrats have-- inspiring people with reasons we can do better (instead of why the other person is wrong!)

CT05 Admin said...

You "miss" the point. The Johnson of 1990 isn't the Johnson of 2006.

The Johnson of 2006 is a member of the inner circle of the Washington Republican status quo, and is directly responsible for one of the worst boondoggle give aways in history. Her bill blows a huge hole in the deficit, and forces seniors to deal with a huge "donut hole" in their prescription drug coverage. What a disgrace.

Meanwhile, billions of taxpayer dollars are funneled to the HMO's and clients of Johnson crony . Some conservatives they are.

The Republicans in Congress, Johnson amongst their leadership, have been an unqualified disaster fiscally, and the national debt is your legacy. Our children and grandchildren will be paying the price for your tenure.

If the voters in this District vote their interests, you're going to have to (gasp) get a job.

CT05 Admin said...

some kinda formatting issue there, GC

Anonymous said...

"thousands of seniors have signed up for the drug plan and are saving hundreds of dollars per month. for chris to say that he would have voted against the bill is going to be a tough sell. its also insulting to seniors to say that they are not capable of spending an hour or two to choose the best plan that allows them to save so much money."

Wow. Do you have grandparents? Have you read the reports -- not political stuff, but from independent people -- about how senior citizens feel about this thing? I have a friend who is the head of a senior center (I think it's in Shays district, not JOhnson's, but still in Conn.) and her people are freaking out about this. Last week there was a thing in the New York Times about how lots of senior citizens are actually in two plans by mistake and can't figure out how to fix that.

It's a total mess. I'm sure there are some people who are happy with it, but it sounds to me like there are a lot more unhappy old people than happy old people out there on this thing.

bluecoat said...

by the time the election rolls around in CT any senior citizen that wants to be enerolled in Medicare D will be and will be happy. Between the general assembly kicking in money to shore it up in CT and HHS is working overtime to straighten out the mechanics it will be a plus for the incumbents who are looking for the senior vote. The senior citizens won;t care that their kids are paying for drugs in volume without the federal government negotiating volume discounts. But keep on trying because it is a non election year issue for that voting block.

Weicker Liker said...

Republican Rep. Bill Thomas, chairmanof the House Ways and Means Committee, says he will retire aftermore than a quarter century in Congress.

Is Nancy Johnson in the wings???

Genghis Conn said...

Johnson's been waiting for this, Weicker Liker. If she can hold her seat, odds are that she'll be the next chair. She'll be one of the most powerful members of Congress, assuming the GOP retains control.

Anonymous said...

Nancy has a race on her hands. And for that reason, she may very well not be the next chair of House Ways & Means.

Remember, in 2001, Bill Thomas broke tradition and got the chairmanship despite his lack of seniority. I'm guessing that his ability to raise money (and give it to other Ways and Means committee members) was why he got the chairmanship.

So if Johnson has a race on her hands and spends her money in CD5, then she may not get the chairmanship.

Anonymous said...

from "Roll Call" today:

GOP Reps. Nancy Johnson (Conn.), Jim McCrery (La.) and Clay Shaw (Fla.) have all announced their intent to pursue the Ways and Means gavel, though McCrery — a close ally to both Thomas and Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) — is widely viewed as the frontrunner in that race.

Anonymous said...

Clay Shaw is in more trouble than Johnson. His district is full of elderly Democrats

McCrery will have Katrina backlash...the sense every Louisiana pol is setting himself and his buds up in perpetutity by guilt tripping us into no questions asked blank check disaster relief

Anonymous said...

Did Johnson support Boener for leader? If not, why would he give her anything?

Anonymous said...

Because Boehner may get challenged again from the right

BTW, will someone please tell CT05 (mal)admin that Toby Moffett lost to Gary Franks. Is it all that hard for these DC consultants to go to the library and research these states a bit before telling us rubes who to vote for?