Friday, November 10, 2006

Why Farrell Lost

Today's Courant takes a look at why Diane Farrell's second run for congress failed.

During the presidential election two years ago, when overall turnout was higher, Farrell won by a 14,000-vote margin out of about 34,000 cast in the heavily Democratic city where Shays lives in the Black Rock section. This time, with just 20,000 votes cast, Farrell drew 10,000 fewer total votes and got only 7,000 votes more than Shays.

Orman also said U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman's run as an independent against endorsed Democrat Ned Lamont may have benefited Shays. "Lieberman confused a lot of people," Orman said, drawing votes from Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger.

Shays and Lieberman, both moderates under attack for their support of the Iraq war, may have been viewed as a "respected, endangered species," Orman said, in a district that probably had the most intense anti-war sentiment in the country. Moderate voters may have reasoned, "if you save Joe Lieberman, you're going to save Chris Shays," he said.

Monika McDermott, a polling expert at the University of Connecticut's Center for Survey Research and Analysis, said Shays may have succeeded in taking the bite out of Farrell's main campaign issue.

"The only message Farrell kept hammering away at was Iraq," McDermott said. "What Shays managed very deftly to do during the campaign was to neutralize her by changing his position [to be more critical of the war]," without having it look like a flip-flop.

"He came across as very contemplative on the issue," she said. "His reputation as an independent thinker and not a slave to his party, helped him do it credibly."


My biggest problem with the Farrell campaign was that she never came out strong for Lamont or DeStefano, or even Joe Lieberman. Her campaign tried to have it both ways, and in the end I think voters saw right through that. Even if people don't agree with your feelings about a ticket they like knowing where you stand. Lieberman/Shays may have caused some confusion, but I think Farrell only added fuel to that fire.

The robo calls didn't help either. I heard several complaints about them from people who thought they were coming from Diane.

Shays also deserves credit for pulling a Lieberman on the Iraq war. The change in rhetoric was effective, and much as I hate to admit this Democrats weren't prepared for the change. Shays truly is a skilled politician.

The question I'm left with is can a Democrat win in the 4th district? And who would you like to see attempt it next?

Source
Lang, Joel. "Farrell's Focus On Iraq Failed". Hartford Courant. 11/9/06

38 comments:

Gabe said...

Yes and Malloy.

Genghis Conn said...

Yes. Dan Malloy.

Anonymous said...

Well its pretty clear that Diane Farrell shouldn't run in 2 years.

I'm sure someone will suggest Ned Lamont, but I have a feeling Ned wouldn't be as interested in this role.

Are there any Democrats who have succeeded in traditionally Republican towns (Greenwich, Monroe, Trumbull)? A first selectman or mayor of one of those towns could be an attractive canddiate.

Genghis Conn said...

Malloy was at Courtney HQ on election night, and I have to say, he was like a magnet. Everyone was thrilled to see him. I think he has a bright future--I don't think the primary loss this year hurts him.

Anonymous said...

cgg said: "My biggest problem with the Farrell campaign was that she never came out strong for Lamont or DeStefano, or even Joe Lieberman. Her campaign tried to have it both ways, and in the end I think voters saw right through that. Even if people don't agree with your feelings about a ticket they like knowing where you stand."

cgg - excellent analysis. You comments above underscore the very difference between Shays and Farrell (beyod issues). Farrell is a "finger-in-the-wind" type politician. She afraid to be wrong and always wants to be right. Well, that's impossible.

To answer your last question: this is a Republican seat, and no one out there beats Shays.

cgg said...

I'd like to see Malloy run too. He'd be a good match for Shays, and it would be a fun campaign to watch.

Gabe said...

GC - great minds.

I would love to see Lamont run in that district as well. Unfortunately, he doesn't sound like he will be gearing up for another slugfest campaign in 2 years and the 4th is where he did the worst...

cgg said...

Lamont against Shays would not be pretty. I'd like to see Lamont run for something again, but Shays would destroy him in the 4th.

Genghis Conn said...

I suspect Lamont's going to disappear for a while, and let some of the bitterness from that Senate campaign settle a bit.

I expect him to primary for Dodd's seat in 2010 if Dodd decides to either retire or go into a Democratic presidential administration.

Anonymous said...

Malloy is more interested in being Governor than a Congressman. At least right now, he is the front runner for the Democratic nomination for Governor - DeStefano is done, Blumenthal will never run, Susan B. can't beat Malloy, and neither can Speaker Amann, and Larsen, Murphy DeLauro don't run either.

It would be easier for Malloy, the Democrat, to win the race for governor then it is to beat Shays.

If he runs against Shays and loses then he is done forever.

Too much to risk.

Jim said...

Dan Malloy is an oustanding executive, and has no record as a legislator. I have vowed to support Malloy in anything he does down the road, but I think that's going to be governor.

State Senator Andrew MacDonald, however, could certainly give Shays a run for his money. Also, Bill Finch could be successful if he gave it another shot.

Honestly, though, I think you have Bob Duff, Andrew MacDonald, Bill Finch, Ned Lamont, and Diane Farrell on one side. On the other, you have John McKinney, John McKinney, John McKinney, and John McKinney. As soon as Chris Shays retires, pick one from either side and there's your race.

Anonymous said...

Farrell would beat McKinney and Malloy would lose to Shays.

Anonymous said...

Of Farrell's issues, which resonated with the voters? It seemed to be "throw out the Republican Congress" and "end the war."

The Repub congress is gone. And Shays now wants a timetable.

So what issue does a Dem run on in the 4th?

I'm a Shays supporter, but I really don't see anyone giving him a serious run in two years.

Anonymous said...

You can't even find the Hartford Courant on the newsstands in the 4th and it shows up in the libraries days after it's published. There has to b an explosion that kills millions before they even have a reporter on the ground in Fairfield County. They don't have any idea why Farrell lost. She lost becasue of GOTV for Shays helped along by the Bloomberg organization.

Anonymous said...

On the GOP side, what about 26th District State Central Member
Gian-Carlo Peressutti?

Anonymous said...

McKinney talks in the article about the Shays campaign because he knows about it. What the article doesn't say is that there isn't a single Republican state rep left in McKinney's home town of Fairfield. He wasn't going to dirty his hands over those races just like he hsan't done anything to help take beack the First Seletman seat in a town where more are registered as Republican than Democrat. Nice guy with a famous name locally but not much of a team player beyond what is personally important to his quest for the 4th CD job. He doesn't even hang around at the Fairfield GOP HQ very long on election nights when Shays runs because he shows at the Shays victory event to work on grabbing Shays coattails to boost his own future.

Anonymous said...

Its curious that someone brings up G.C. Peresutti to run from Congress, which is a joke, and then goes onto bash McKinney 15 minutes later isn't. Sounds like some early posturing to me.

Anonymous said...

Why did Farrell lose?
Turnout in urban areas and the candidate herself.
Dems want to win? Don't run a Martha Stewart wannabee from Westport. Adam Wood is one of the best on the dem side, if he could not get the snob in her saab elected in 2006 no one could have. Dems need to offer a contrast to Shays. An tough energetic ethnic man with some dough.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 1:56 - I am a former member of the Fairfield RTC and you couldn't be more wrong. Senator McKinney was working the polls all day for a Fairfield State Rep candidate, made phone calls and knocked on doors during the campaign, coordinated mailings, shot a tv ad, helped raise money and even went to the Fairfield train station at 5:30am to help campaign, despite running unopposed. He did the same last year for Jack Stone when he ran for First Selectman.

Oh, and I was at the HQ when he spoke along with the other candidates. He din't leave until all the results were tabulated. Then he went to the Shays, just like everybody else from Fairfield. We are all Shays supporters and went to his great victory party.

The fact is that people don't vote for a candidate for state rep simply because a state senator asks them. There are no coattails anymore, in case you hadn't noticed.

Not sure what axe you have to grind but your info is all wrong.

Anonymous said...

Whats Adam Wood done? Roy O ran the race.. they both have never won an election.

Anonymous said...

Diane Farrell will be back, because she lost by a slim margin. Diane "DON'T HIRE ADAM WOOD!" This kid is the reason you lost- hire a real campaign professional not these young kids. Remember the Ned Ad- where the car keeps crashing into the wall-Hello? I heard he will be working for the Alex Knopp 07 comeback tour- if so, he could add another lost to his record.

Dan Malloy is not going to beat Rell- he just won his day job by 1,000 votes. He did lose to JDS- and has a poor labor record. Dan was hoping that JDS lost so he could have another shot! If he tries to run again -the voters of Stamford will dump him. Dan- keep your day job!

Jimmy Amann we win the Demo Primary in 2010! Why not he will already be defacto Gov- with supermajority in the house! Jodi will be lame duck!

Anonymous said...

I like Jimmy- he told those Ned Heads" I will crush you" if you try to run against me. Thats is the funniest video on the web right now. The speaker is cool and he not afraid to take on those wacky bloggers. Amann 2010

Anonymous said...

"Jimmy Amann we win the Demo Primary in 2010! Why not he will already be defacto Gov- with supermajority in the house!"

This is an interesting point Anon508. It will be fun watching Amann control his 106 member caucus and even more fun watching him work with Sen. Williams, who also want sto run for Governor and also has a supermajority.

Get ready for the fireworks!

Anonymous said...

I doubt Malloy runs for re-election as Mayor. His term is up in 2009, and then he can be a full time candidate. I have no doubt that he is our next governor, and we'll be lucky to have him.

Anonymous said...

Although I am a Republican, I do think Malloy would be a very capable Governor. But 4 years is a very long time there Anon. 6:31, and there are a lot of land mines out there that the Mayor could accidentally land on.

Anonymous said...

Malloy is not going to be elected gov or mayor again. Mr. Pink polo shirt will never get past a primary. He is not a good mayor and the people of Stamford almost voted him out. He is a Republican-lite who sucks up to Corp America. What does he know about the inner-city? I saw him at a event in New Haven-clueless. My money is on the speaker - Williams is to boring to be Gov. Vote for the guy who tells his foes- I will crush you. Ganster

Anonymous said...

Shays is congressman for another 6-10 years. There is no one who can beat him now-- not even Dan Malloy.

He has proven himself to be a survivor.

My guess is a nobody runs against him in 2008 and he has an easy time.

Anonymous said...

If Farrell couldn't beat him this year, she's not going to be able to do it in 2008. The political climate will be completely different. "Throw out the Republican congress" and "Put a check on the Bush Administration" will no longer be issues.

Anonymous said...

McKinney should run for First Selectman of Fairfield if he were really a party leader. He is the only one that can beat Flatto but then again he might lose. The party has only lost local seats while he has been the State Senator. It isn't about coattails, it's about leadership and risk taking. Sure he shows up but he's not getting dirty. And who is Perusutti anyway? There' no axe to grind here, just the facts on the ground.

bluecoat said...

The Fairfield RTC is a very fractured organization with the old guard uninterested in new ideas or change - despite the best efforts of some younger memebers to bring it together for the last several years. Presumably, 4;54 PM is not the former RTC member that has campaigned in the past for Flatto and Drew - D's -- because that guy is gone from the town and the state but 4;54 sounds to me like one of the in you face members of that inclusionary group. Stone was a terrible candidate for First Selectman and not much better than Hug who ran two years before - the only thing Stone had going for him was he looked the part; he was never been elected to the legislative leadership in Hartford just as Tymniak never was despite being there longer than McKinney and despite the fact that thier are more assiatants and deputies than Carter has little liver pills.; they were Ranking Members of couple of insignificant committees and longtime Rowland supporters and they went bye bye this time around because the local Democrats are well organized with a better message but not a great message. As for McKinney, 1:56 was a little harsh but not far from the mark. And maybe he should take on Flatto because I can't see anybody else beating him out of the job. Rell probaly wouldn't like that though becasue then the seat would go into play and she has no impact on Fairfield voters - she backed Hug and Stone for First Selectman while Flatto sailed to victory. She couldn't even convince the voters to keep Tymniak and Stone in the legislature - it wasn't about coattails.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 12:16 - You sound like Bluecoat: why are you hiding?

Anonymous said...

Jim - you should run. You've got the time.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dick Tracey: Who is Hug that Bluecoat talks about?

Anonymous said...

As a relatively active Democrat with some say over the matter, let me be the first to say that I'd vote for Jim Amman if he received the Democratic nomination for Governor.

It would still take about three or four martinis for me to build up the strength to overcome my initial, visceral revulsion.

And if you quote me on this, you're a liar. :-)

Anonymous said...

Jim Amann will be our best chance in a long time! No Mayor has become gov in a very long time! Our current gov spent her time in Hartford building a base. Amann is the most powerful pol in state government and will be in the best position. So JDS and Malloy supporters get over it- your guy lost!

bluecoat said...

Hug is E. Penny Hug, the wife of a local firefighter and a bookkeeper or something like that in a pediatrician's office in Milford or West Haven. Nice lady who was Chair of the Board of Finance for a few years and I guess she's still on there but if she runs for Finance again the Democrats will take her seat as they have been doing on that Board little by little. Flatto called her a pawn of the Republican party. I am not sure that she's part of the fractionization but she's an example of the lack of a bench and the lack of diversity of thought in the Fairfield GOP. McKinney's uest for the 4th CD seat isn't building the party. The one comment I get the most is that it's the same old people saying the same old things with nothing real getting done right and so a lot of people give up and just go for any new face just to see what happns. To the DTC Chair's credit, and even Flatto, they've brought in some new faces to capitilize on the unrest - not that they have done any better because they haven't. I haven't seen that attitude from this and the last RTC Chair - it's hard to understand why when they keep losing. I am glad to see I am not the lone wolf on this but a couple of bloggers isn't going to change things.

Anonymous said...

McKinney is DeLuca's Deputy and he has nowhere else to go in the State Senate. And Rell shunned him for the LG job. First Selectman of a town like Fairfield would add to his qualifications. The Westport job certainly got Farrell closer to beating Shays than any previous contender. The move would be in his best interests because it doesn't look like Shays is stepping aside anytime soon.

bluecoat said...

that was me at 12:29 - blogger sin't being kind to me today.