17. Connecticut's 4th District: This race slides down the Line as we hear that Rep. Chris Shays' (R) favorable ratings are extremely healthy -- making it difficult for 2004 nominee Dianne Farrell to peel away the necessary votes to defeat the incumbent. Shays, who recently made his 14th trip to Iraq and proclaims that he understands the situation there better than any other member of Congress, is expected to lay out a plan for a withdrawal timeline next month. After years of support for the war, will voters see this as a flip flop on Shays' part? Or will the move win him support among war opponents who will give him credit for searching for solutions? (Previous ranking: 9)What I find interesting is that while the races in the 2nd and 4th Districts both tumbled in this week’s ranking, the race in the 5th District made its debut. Personally, I think Representative Shays is the most vulnerable of the three incumbents, but I still believe that all three incumbents will win re-election (although, it should be very close).
15. Connecticut's 5th District: Given her demonstrated fundraising ability ($2.6 million on hand at the end of June) and her longevity in Congress (24 years), Nancy Johnson (R) isn't an obvious target. But, Republican insiders say that MoveOn.org's "red handed" commercials that ran earlier this cycle did damage to Johnson's image. Plus, state Sen. Chris Murphy (D) is running an extremely active campaign with $1 million in the bank. The district is extremely competitive (Kerry won it by 1,100 votes in 2004) and if voters are looking for a fresh face Johnson could be in trouble. (Previous ranking: N/A)
11. Connecticut's 2nd District: There are two ways of thinking about this race. If voters in this eastern Connecticut district see their vote as an expression of dissatisfaction with President Bush and the war in Iraq, then Rep. Rob Simmons (R) is in serious trouble. If, however, the main motivating factors for voters are more local in scope -- like Simmons' help in saving the Groton submarine base from closure -- then the incumbent could pull it out. Republicans note that Simmons already beat Democratic nominee Joe Courtney soundly in 2002, but the environment has changed drastically since then. (Previous ranking: 7)
Cillizza, Chris. “The Friday Line: U.S. House Races.” Washington Post, The Fix (Political Blog) September 1, 2006.