Friday, May 07, 2010

The 2nd District race....

Despite three Republican challengers, a Green party candidate (Scott Deshefy) and a Libertarian (Dan Reale), in the hunt to challenge two-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, Eastern Connecticut's congressional race this year has been least up until now.

The arrival of Connecticut former TV anchor Janet Peckipaugh — a recent Republican — into the fray has sudden elevated the contest to the level of "interest." Even the Republican National Congressional Committee — noticeably and uncharacteristically quiet these past few months — has arisen from its winter hibernation with a new awareness that maybe something might finally be happending in what has traditionally been a targeted race. (Neither the Republicans or Democrats have the 2nd District listed as a targeted race this year -- the first time in more than two decades It was initially listed as a targeted race in 2008, but fell off the list in the summer months leading up to November.)

The national committee came out with a nifty "spin" on her recent conversion to Republican circles by noting that when Rob Simmons held the seat he was considered the top Republican representing the most Democratic congressional district in the U.S. They credited his appeal among independents for his success, and they now note that Peckinpaugh appears to have those same traits that will likely appeal to the independently-thinking 2nd District voters.

Just what kind of long-range impact Peckinpaugh's candidacy will have on the race is unclear. But what she does bring to the contest immediately is name recognition -- something that has been woefully lacking thus far. And she brings some excitement, at least initially, that's also been lacking -- especially from the GOP side.

Neither Matt Daly nor Daria Novak have energized the GOP base -- the main reason why GOP members went searching out Peckinpaugh in the first place, and the national committee went into hibernation. After more than a year in the race, both still suffer a lack of name recognition, as does the third GOP challenger Doug Dubitsky, who only recently jumped into the contest himself after seeing and sensing a void.

How this plays out at the May 21 state convention when the party regulars vote for a nominee should prove more than just interesting.


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9:32 PM  

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