The Connecticut and Georgia Races
Opening caveat: Anyone from Connecticut or Georgia, please chime in. These are merely the views of one person in New Jersey.
In Connecticut, it would appear that Democrat Dan Malloy will be new Governor replacing Republican Jodi Rell. Tom Foley trails by 8 points- certainly within striking distance, but unrealistic. It would be no great surprise if Malloy prevails since Connecticut is considered a very blue state,
The Senate race was originally considered a possible Republican pick up, but that all changed when Chris Dodd decided on retirement rather than explain some questionable housing deals on the campaign trail. His withdrawal saved the Democratic Party some potential embarrassment. From everything I have read, Dodd’s fingerprints are all over the financial meltdown and housing mess. When Richard Blumenthal, the headline-grabbing State Attorney General, took the banner from Dodd, it appeared to be a shoo-in for the Democratic Party in Connecticut.
Blumenthal had/has some resume problems, but who hasn’t fudged or embellished a resume in the past? By coming clean and by the inconsistencies being discovered early enough in the election cycle, that situation has become somewhat defused. The problem is that Republican Linda McMahon has been pesky and is hanging in there. At this stage, given the fact that Connecticut is a Democratic bastion and Blumenthal’s name recognition alone, one would expect that he would be ahead by more than 8 points in the polls. One would not expect him to have to fly in Obama to bolster his chances, but he did just that.
This could be taken one of two ways. Perhaps, Blumenthal and Democrats are leaving nothing to chance. Or maybe, perhaps McMahon’s peskiness is a sign of discontent in the electorate. And some of it makes sense in light of the state’s demographics. Obama’s two biggest signature legislative “achievements-” Obamacare and financial regulation- affect a large portion of workers in Connecticut. There is a lot of uncertainty and uneasiness buried in over 5,000 pages of “legislation” those two laws represent. Perhaps, McMahon can take advantage of that uneasiness and uncertainty and make this race closer than what it should be. In the final analysis, Blumenthal will probably win. By how much will be the question. If nothing else, McMaon’s candidacy has opened an unnecessary front in the overall battle, one the Democrats thought they secured when Dodd pulled out.
There are five Democratic Congressman and that is not expected to change. Connecticut may be one of those rare states this year where they can look back and smile. Perhaps only in the 4th District do Republicans stand a chance. They would have to unseat incumbent Jim Himes and his challenger, Dan Dibecella, has closed the gap in recent weeks from 8 to 6 points. I believe that once a race reaches 6 points, the person in the lead starts to panic and question things. Himes is in that area now. Remember that Himes unseated Republican Congressman Christopher Shays by only 4 points. Dibecella is the classic “moderate” Republican that can win in a blue state- fiscally conservative and socially moderate. We can debate the “conservativeness” of candidates, but in a state such as this, the discussion is moot. Although not a foregone conclusion, all five Democratic Congressman should win re-election.
In Georgia, outgoing Democratic Governor Sonny Perdue should be replaced by Republican Nathan Deal who vacates the very conservative 9th District. In a red state like Georgia, only a conservative leaning Democrat could prevail statewide. Roy Barnes has recently closed a 10-point gap in the polls perhaps giving the Democrats some false glimmers of hope. If the DGA wants to invest resources in Georgia in what will probably be a losing cause, I say go for it.
For the Senate, poor Mike Thurmond is the Democratic name on the ballot and sacrificial lamb. Republican John Isaakson leads by 20 points and that margin is not going to change.
The current Congressional delegation is 7-6 Republican. Three of those seats are running unopposed- the 6th, 11th and aforementioned 9th Congressional Districts. John Linder is retiring from the 7th, but Republican Rob Woodall should easily retain this seat. Among the Democratic districts, the 4th, 5th, 12th and 13th appear safely in the hands of Democrats. In the 2nd, Sanford Bishop appeared vulnerable to a challenge from Mike Keown, but he stayed a fairly consistent 10 points ahead in the polls. Bishop is considered perhaps the most conservative African-American in Congress. Still, his vote in favor of Obamacare is the albatross that he must bear and one that Keown must take advantage of until Election Day. However, in a district that is 60% white, Bishop’s past history cannot be overlooked. I will give this one to Bishop. In the 8th District, incumbent Jim Marshall leads Austin Scott by 6 points. This is a rural district in central Georgia. He is a Blue Dog Democrat and social conservative. He is one of two Democrats to vote against SCHIP authorization and unlike Bishop, he voted against Obamacare. Marshall has the conservative credentials and sounds like a Democratic victory the Republican Party can live with in Georgia. The fact he is only 6 points ahead in the polls underscores the fact that the Democratic label- not necessarily individual Democrats- is a liability this election cycle. In the end, there should be no change in the breakdown: 7-6 Republican.