Now that the primaries are over, Connecticut's congressional races are starting to creak and groan back to life.
1st District (map)
Scott MacLean won the Republican primary, defeating Miriam Masullo by a wide margin. Incumbent John Larson, whose website is currently a lovely shade of blue-green (and nothing else), has yet to really get his campaign underway. Given the wide advantage Democrats enjoy in the district, he probably won't need to do anything until Halloween.
2nd District (map)
Joe Courtney (D) and Rob Simmons (R) continue to run hard and raise money. Robocalls from independent groups either defending or slamming Rob Simmons have been plaguing 2nd District households since spring, there was a anti-Courtney push poll a few weeks ago, and yesterday I got a glossy "legislative update" from Simmons, but otherwise very little seems to be happening here.
Expect the campaign to kick into high gear sooner rather than later. This is one of the most-watched races in the country (again). Simmons is doing his best to claim the center, which has been a successful strategy for him. His website shows him with Jodi Rell and John McCain, two Republicans who are very well-liked in these parts (remember that McCain won the presidential primary here in 2000). Simmons has also expressed support for Joe Lieberman's independent bid. Courtney seems to be focused on tying Simmons to the excesses of the Republican-led House. This was unsucessful in 2002 and 2004, but may work better this year.
3rd District (map)
Incumbent Rosa DeLauro faces Republican Joseph Vollano and Green Party candidate Daniel Sumrall. The Greens have had a ballot line in the 3rd District since 2002, and so didn't need to petition their way on this time.
However, in this heavily-Democratic district, the impact of both challengers to the popular DeLauro is expected to be slight. Vollano, like MacLean, doesn't seem to be getting much in the way of official Republican support.
4th District (map)
Rep. Chris Shays (R), Diane Farrell (D) and Richard Duffee (G) are facing off in the hotly-contested 4th District. Farrell has spent a lot of her time attacking Shays's position on Iraq, which was basically her strategy in 2004, when she lost to Shays by a very narrow margin. She has also been doing what all three Democratic challengers are doing this year: trying to tie a moderate Republican to the conservative leadership in Washington.
Shays was one of the first Republicans to openly support Joe Lieberman's bid for re-election, and is working hard to retain his image as a maverick. This, too, is a race which will shortly become a lot more visible.
5th District (map)
This is going to be the nastiest race of the year--barring possibly Lieberman-Lamont II. Nancy Johnson (R)) is facing Chris Murphy (D) in a tight race that has already taken to the airwaves.
Johnson has released a series of television ads attacking Murphy. She has also released an ad in which a 9/11 widow talks about Johnson's comforting words at the funeral. Both were powerful pieces, prompting a quick response from the Murphy campaign.
This race is going to be very tight, and both candidates seem well aware of it. The fact that Nancy Johnson was running attack ads in July shows just how seriously she is taking this race, which may be her most competitive since 1996. Certainly one to watch.
We'll be trying to focus on congressional races more as the campaign season really gets underway.