After being re-elected just last week, Sam Kitzenberg a State Senator from Montana has changed his registration from Republican to Democrat. This action will break an even tie in Montana's State Senate. This is especially interesting because the Montana State Legislature has no tie breaking mechanism and there's a very real possibility that the State House could find itself tied as well. Details of the switch and the state of Montana local politics can be found here.
When reading about Kitzenburg's switch my first thought was that had I voted for this guy I'd be pissed. Political affiliation means something to me, and 99% of the time a candidate's party plays a role in how I vote. It's especially important for a legislative seat where an elected official is expected to caucus with one side or another.
Connecticut voters don't seem to share my feelings about party affiliation though. Unaffiliated votes outnumber those registered in both parties. Voters are happy to elect Rell while at the same time giving our State Legislature a super-veto-proof majority. Senator Lieberman won with a majority of the Republican vote, which helped to assure a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate.
What role do you think political parties play/should play in Connecticut? If say Jodi Rell or Chris Dodd chose to switch parties tomorrow would it matter to you? And if party doesn't matter can you see Connecticut eventually holding non-partisan elections?
Robbins, Jim and Johnson Kirk. "Montana Balance of Power Shifts With a Single Seat". New York Times. 11/18/06