AS GOES CT-05....

AS GOES CT-05. Alec's report on robocalls in the CT-05 race is terribly worrying. Mostlly because just before I read his post, I wrote the following:

If the fifth congressional district in Connecticut goes to the Dems today, then I�ll predict a Democratic pickup of more than 21 seats. If the district goes Republican, the Dems will still win a majority of the House, but by a smaller margin -- possibly not greater than four.

Why CT-05?

In 2002 redistricting caused two incumbents, Republican Nancy Johnson and Democrat Jim Maloney to run against each other. Johnson won by about 10 points -- a larger margin than was expected at the time. And since then, Johnson has a gained reputation in the district for being something of a moderate.

Johnson�s opponent is Chris Murphy -- a state senator from Waterbury, who by most accounts a fairly charismatic guy and attractive candidate. The most recent polls have shown the race to be neck and neck as Johnson�s lead evaporated over the summer.

The district stretches from the super affluent outer suburbs of New York to the de-industrialized lower Nagatuck Valley, then northwest to the cities of Danbury and Waterbury. If Murphy wins, he can thank his regular base of support in Waterbury, Danbury and the Naugatuck Valley. But perhaps even more so, he will owe his victory to disillusioned wealthy voters in the outer New York suburbs, who either sat this one out, or -- quite possibly for the first time in their lives -- pulled the lever for a Democratic member of Congress.

These wealthy towns (like Westin and Ridgefield) have always been a strong base of support for socially moderate, pro-corporate Republicans like the incumbent Nancy Johnson. If Johnson wins, it will be because she kept the wealthy white residents in these communities voting Republican. If she loses however, it could be because these socially moderate, fiscally conservative voters jumped ship. And if that happens, it could signal the coming regional realignment of the north east away from north-eastern style Republicans.

--Mark Leon Goldberg

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