Archive for the ‘Joe Courtney’ Category

More at Stake for Murphy than Just a Congressional Seat
October 29, 2010

The new CT Capitol Report  poll showing Congressman Chris Murphy a point behind Republican Sam Caligiuri is not only threatening his re-election to the 5th District, but also the stealth race he’s been running for a while:  for the U.S. Senate in 2012.   

Murphy has always dismissed such talk with the pat answer “I’m focused on being a congressman,” or something along those lines.   However, it is no secret in political circles that the two term Democrat has his eye on challenging Senator Joe Lieberman two years from now.   Murphy’s name has appeared in polls for the 2012 race, and there was even talk earlier this year that if the Vietnam controversy forced Dick Blumenthal from the race, Murphy would replace him. 

 But something happened on the way to 2012.   One political insider who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told me while Murphy was  looking beyond ’10, he  was blindsided this summer by the strong race Caligiuri was running, expecting instead to be easily re-elected     Now he is spending loads of cash in the fight of his political life. 

If Murphy loses, his chances of running for the senate will be dealt a devastating setback.   If Jim Himes and Joe Courtney win, they would instantly be stronger senate candidates than a candidate whose last performance was a loss.   Throw in Susan Bysiewicz and possibly Ted Kennedy, Junior and it would be very difficult for Murphy to make a case for himself that he should be the one to take on Lieberman and the Republican candidate, who will likely be a formidable one.   The days of the state GOP putting up a sacrificial lamb candidate for the senate are over.   

Even if the entire congressional delegation is re-elected, Murphy still needs a strong win to buoy his chances in ’12.   If he wins a close nail biter and Courtney romps by a huge margin, perhaps the party will look at the man from the 2nd district.    A while back, a person close to Courtney called me up, a little peeved after we aired a story about a potential Murphy Lieberman matchup.   This person wanted to know why we only talk about Murphy running for the senate.    “Just because Joe doesn’t drop hints he wants to run like Murphy does, doesn’t mean he isn’t interested in the senate…’s just too early to be doing that,”  that person told me.   

If Himes pulls out a win over Dan Debicella, he could make a case to run for the senate.  Courtney and Himes are considered more moderate than Murphy, which could make them more appealing as  statewide candidates in a Lieberman challenge. 

We will learn much on Tuesday night.   Hard to fathom, but the race for 2012 starts next week.

Unpopular Obama Could Help Caligiuri, Peckinpaugh and Debicella
September 14, 2010

Congressmen Jim Himes, Chris Murphy, and Joe Courtney are no doubt secretly hoping congressional business keeps them in Washington on Thursday.   If their calendars on Capitol Hill are clear they might hope for thunderstorms to leave them stranded at Reagan National Airport, or a sudden case of something…anything to prevent them from being photographed with President Obama when he visits Connecticut.

The new Quinnipiac Poll shows the President’s approval rating in the state in a tailspin:  45%, down from 50% in the last poll, and down from 71% in April of 2009.    According to the mastermind behind the Quinnipiac University poll Doug Schwartz,  the President’s approval figure is even lower in the 2nd, 4th, and 5th districts.   In 2006, those three seats were all held by Republicans. 

In the 5th district, Congressman Murphy has his work cut out for him in terms of defending his votes for the President’s policies.   Only 38% of those polled in the 5th approve of the job President Obama is doing, and a whopping 60% disapprove.   The 5th is also home to the highest unemployment in the state, 12.2% in the Waterbury area.  On Face the State last week, Congressman Murphy said he would be proud to stand by the President on Thursday, but these new bleak numbers may have his advisors scrambling to find him another commitment, pronto. 

Republican Sam Caligiuri is already tagging Murphy with a big “O” on his back.   The only poll we have seen in the race so far is an internal one released by the Caligiuri campaign, showing the race a dead heat.  The Murphy campaign has not yet released a poll.  

It is also worth noting that in the 2008 presidential election, Obama won every Connecticut congressional district, but his margin of victory in the 5th was the narrowest in the state. 

The President’s approval rating  also tumbled in the 2nd district to 41% from 46%.     Democrat Joe Courtney is going for a third team, and Republican challenger Janet Peckinpaugh is using part of the formula Courtney used to defeat Rob Simmons in ’06:  linking the incumbent to an unpopular president.  

A look at the 2008 presidential primary suggests support for the President in Courtney’s district may never have been that strong.   When Barack Obama won the Connecticut primary he lost just one congressional district to Hillary Clinton: the 2nd. 

In the 4th, Congressman Jim Himes has been distancing himself from the President and the Democratic leadership for most of the summer.   His spokeswoman told me Himes welcomes the President to his district this week, but will be in Washington for a vote.   The President’s approval rating in the 4th is now at 43%, down from 48% in the last QU Poll.      Challenger Dan Debicella, like Caliguiri and Peckinpaugh have been calling their opponents rubber stamps for the President.     In this anti-incumbent year, that could resonate with voters.   President Obama’s low approval ratings could also be a factor in the voting booth.  A third of those polled in the QU survey said their vote for a senate candidate would be a vote against President Obama.   

Maybe John Droney was right.


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