The three - Reps. Christopher Shays, Nancy Johnson and Rob Simmons - are under fire for their pro-Iraq war views, support for President Bush's agenda and a festering GOP sex scandal on Capitol Hill that threatens to drag the party down in next month's midterm elections.
"They're calling Connecticut ground zero," said Shays.
Democrats eager to recapture the House after a dozen years need to gain 15 seats and Connecticut potentially could deliver a fifth of the winning margin. (AP)
Y'know, I really can't remember a year when so much political attention was paid to this state. It's like we're Ohio or something.
So why us? Beyond the Lieberman-Lamont thing, what we're seeing here is yet another stage in America's shifting geographic loyalties. The northeast, remember, used to be solidly Republican. Connecticut has voted for Herbert Hoover (twice!), Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and George H.W. Bush, among others, and has had far more Republican governors than Democrats in its history. But the political fault lines have been shifting, and Republicans, far from being the stuffy, pragmatic, northeastern fiscal conservatives of yore, have morphed into a socially conservative, religious, Southern party. Democrats, on the other hand, which once were the dominant party in the south, are now dominant in the liberal northeast and west coast, and are making inroads into the mountain west.
This year, a fault line runs through Connecticut. We may be about to ditch some of the last traces of Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party (a few will remain here and there), just as the South is ridding itself of the old Democratic Party. Republicans here are already on the ropes--it's been a decade since they last held control of either chamber in Hartford, and eighteen years since they lost their last U.S. Senate seat. Even if Jodi Rell wins this fall, it seems unlikely that a Republican governor would follow her in 2010.
If they go down this fall, they may not rise again for a very long time. That's going to make things around here a lot less interesting.
"Conn.'s rare breed of moderate Republicans living on the edge." Associated Press 10 October, 2006.