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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

CT: Courtney, Farrell and Murphy

For Democrats following the Senate race in Connecticut, the suprising story may well be that it comes down to three names not often mentioned in this regard: Joe Courtney, Diane Farrell, and Chris Murphy.

Those are the Democratic candidates in districts CT-02 (Courtney), CT-04 (Farrell), and CT-05 (Murphy). These are the candidates most directly affected by Joe Lieberman running an independent bid for the U.S. Senate after losing the Connecticut Democratic primary to Ned Lamont.

The GOP candidates running against these Democrats (Rob Simmons, Christopher Shays and Nancy Johnson) are happy to use Joe Lieberman to hide and blur their rubber stamp voting records. And so far, it seems, Joe is happy to help...

It breaks down like this. The voters Joe Lieberman needs to turn out to defeat Ned Lamont are the Republican and Independent voters least likely to vote for Joe Courtney, Diane Farrell and Chris Murphy. According to the poll cited in that link, Joe's got the support of those voters already; to win, he's got to get them to the polls.

And that's the point.

All three of these Democrats are running in districts where they can win in 2006...if they can successfully tie their GOP opponents to the Bush Administration and the GOP Congress. Joe Lieberman, however, running as a "party of one" can only beat Ned Lamont by blurring those lines and creating a wave of GOP and Independent turn-out that will take all three Democratic campaigns down with it. That's the crux of the matter. Joe's political interests overlap with the GOP incumbents and not with their Democratic challengers. Joe has no reason to point out how these CT GOP incumbents have been rubber stamps for the Bush Administration. If he was honest, he would.

It's critical to realize that the issues now being used by the GOP to separate Courtney, Farrell and Murphy from their Republican opponents are the wedges that Joe Lieberman will have to use and blur as well to gain traction in those districts. Issues like taxes, government spending, support for the military. That's the battleground. When we talk about Connecticut, the more we talk exclusively in terms of simply Joe Lieberman versus Ned Lamont, the more we frame these races in the terms of the recent Senate primary, the more we miss the point.

There will be a real debate on the issues in Connecticut, but it won't be the debate from the Democratic Senatorial primary. (Link to piece pointing out similarities in Diane Farrell's and Christopher Shay's Iraq war positions.) The debate in these three CT districts will turn on local issues, on the influence of huge sums of national GOP money ($10 million of the $40 million in national funds spent by the GOP is focused on CT), on an appeal, shared between the Lieberman campaigns and the three GOP incumbents, that is calculated to pull Connecticut independent voters away from the Democrats by blurring political distinctions, even in convoluted and surprising ways.

That last link is to Nancy Johnson's website. Today, on August 23rd, Nancy's website features photographs of Nancy with Joe Lieberman and Bill Clinton! Think about that for a second. Here's Joe Lieberman's voting record. Here's Nancy Johnson's. Joe may currently be "no Democrat," but Nancy Johnson is, to a much greater degree, no moderate "independent voice,"...not in the least. It's in both Johnson's and Lieberman's interests that no one bring this reality up.

  • Joe + Nancy blurring lines and working the turnout = a defeat for Ned Lamont and Chris Murphy.
  • Joe + Nancy working together = a big lie about Nancy's voting record.

  • In 2006, they shouldn't be allowed to get away with that.

    Now, the voters of Connecticut are smart. They can decide whom they want for their next United States Senator. They can decide whether to give Joe a "do-over" in his race against Lamont...or not. But bloggers and commentators must realize that this race isn't about Joe versus Ned anymore. This race is about Joe versus Courtney, Farrell and Murphy. It is these three less well-known candidates that are critically important for all Democrats focused on Connecticut right now.

    These are the names that Joe must face, front and center. These are the races we need to hold Joe accountable on. It's his critical weak point. Joe can't win unless he forms common cause with Simmons, Shays and Johnson. We need to ruthlessly point this out.

    Simmons (CT-02), Shays (CT-04) and Johnson (CT-05) have voted time and again to support this President and this GOP Congress and they will gladly use Joe Lieberman to confuse, distract and bamboozle Connecticut voters from paying attention to that fact.

    Joe Courtney, Diane Farrell, Chris Murphy: these are the names we must keep front and center in Connecticut.

    Joe Lieberman's party of one must not be allowed to sink the campaigns of three Connecticut Democrats making viable challenges to rubber stamp GOP incumbents.


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