The Washington Post has started a series entitled Eight Issues That Will Shape The 2006 Elections, which focuses on eight questions affecting select congressional races this fall, including:
(1) How big a problem is President Bush for the GOP?
(2) Will the corruption issue go national?
(3) Will pocketbook concerns move voters?
(4) Will the immigration issue save Republicans?
(5) Will the Iraq War come home in November?
(6) Can Republicans win the Northeast?
(7) Can Democrats compete in the upper South?
(8) What ballot issues will drive voters to the polls?
Only one question is applied to select congressional races, and in the case of Connecticut's delegation, two races are being closely monitored:
4th Dist. -- Rep. Christopher Shays (R) vs. Diane Farrell (D) -- Will the Iraq War come home in November?
5th Dist. -- Rep. Nancy Johnson (R) v. Chris Murphy (D) -- Can Republicans win the Northeast?
It has always amazed me how one issue can turn an election. In the case of the 4th District, Rep. Shays finds himself caught in dangerous waters as Ms. Farrell has kept continual pressure on him for his position on the Iraq War, and Ms. Farrell seems to be holding him personally accountable for the legislature's alleged oversight failure of the Bush Administrations strategy. If Rep. Shays loses this election, it is clearly (to me) the result of the 4th District's rejection of the Iraq War and the current policies/strategy (or lack thereof).
As for the 5th District, the Washington Post targets this race as a question of whether a Republican can win in the Northeast. It likens this race (and several other races) to 1994 when Republicans took the South by storm. We all know that the Northeast has been a difficult place for a (conservative) Republican to win office (FYI - I'm not referring to Rep. Johnson as a conservative), but I do not think that the climate in the Northeast has changed to the level that a (moderate) Republican can no longer win here. If it has changed, I think the question really is whether this is an indictment of the Bush Administration rather than a shift in whether a Republican can be successful in the Northeast.
Thoughts? Comments? What about the other races in Connecticut?
The Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com (date last visited, July 24, 2006)