Maybe its that Connecticut is leading the path to the idea that party labels don't mean as much as they used to. When Ned Lamont began his campaign, he was the outsider to the party apparatus, who rejected him at the nominating convention but adopted him after his primary win. Alan Schlesinger won his party's nomination, but soon found himself embroiled in a fight to stay on the ticket when the state Republicans realized that Lieberman losing, meant either a weak Democratic ticket, or a three way race. Lieberman, founded himself a new party and discovered that the nuts and bolts of voter identification had to be tackled out side of the system. The evidence that party affiliation means less and less can be tied to the steady increase of the unaffiliated majority and the acceptance of even party politicians to vote for the individual not the party.
Heading into the final week before the election, the Republican under ticket has voiced complaints that the state GOP has not provided enough support. Rell holds a decisive lead over DeStefano, but it's likely that her constitutional officers will remain Democrats except that she'll get a Republican as Lieutenant Governor. Statewide Democrats look to hold their veto-proof majority in the state senate, and add a few seats in the legislature. It's this type of office by office calculation by voters that makes the case that the party affiliation matters less and less.
Then there's places like Norwalk, where the 1990's fostered room for a viable third party, the Independent party and the Working Families Party gains ballot spots in the following decade. In today's Norwalk Advocate Matt Miklave joined his Common Council colleagues in endorsing Lieberman, brining the total to 7 out of 10 Democrats.
Of the five council Republicans, four contacted -- Douglas Hempstead, Nick Kydes, Richard McQuaid and Kelly Straniti -- said they probably would vote for Lieberman.The mayor citing a friendship with Schlesinger demurred.
Joanne Romano, the other council Republican, could not be reached.
"I don't feel right about endorsing Lieberman," Kydes said. "But Lamont, I believe, is extremely left-wing. Lieberman seems to be more of a moderate."
Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia delivered Schlesinger's seconding speech at the Republican Party's May 20 convention. He did not fault the council Republicans for backing Lieberman.
"I understand their concern. But Alan's a friend of mine, and I am not going to join them," Moccia said. "I thought he did a great job in the debates. He made a great case. Can he make up for where he is (in the polls)? I hope he can."
Norwalk will once again likely show up as blue and red on Genghis' 2006 election maps, changing colors with each office defying partisan identification. It's that maverick history that suggest there will also be an additional color for an eventual Lieberman win. With party affiliation seemingly irrelevant, will the next election cycle bring a new wave of movement to a more centrist positions, or spawn a new political party dynamic? Only time will tell.
The Norwalk Advocate, Norwalk council majority backs Joe By Brian Lockhardt, 10/28/06