Blue States Turning Bluer?

As a companion piece to my previous post, the Washington Post outlines some races in the North East (and other Blue States) where Democrats can unseat Republicans.

Rep. Nancy L. Johnson first won election to the 5th District in northwest Connecticut in 1982, and the popular former teacher has kept her seat for nearly a quarter-century. By most accounts, however, this achievement has been more in spite of her GOP affiliation than because of it. Voters perceive her as a moderate Yankee Republican and not a true conservative.

But as the electorate becomes more polarized around party identification, Democrats hope to make the "R" after her name and those of other Northeastern Republicans stand for "radioactive." This has happened to Johnson before. In 1996, she won by one percentage point when Democrats capitalized on her ties to then-Speaker Newt Gingrich. This year, she is running against Democratic state Sen. Chris Murphy.
Other 'Yankee Republicans' (aka Rockefeller Republicans) mentioned by the article include Michael Arcuri, a District Attorney running an uphill race against State Sen. Ray Meier for an open House seat in Upstate New York, and in my Home State's 6th District, Lois Murphy is mounting another run at Jim Gerlach who won by only some 6,000 votes in a district that includes some upscale Philly suburbs. Gerlach's close ties to Bush and to Jack Abramoff bode well for Murphy.

Similarly (but strangely different) is the case of Bob Casey Jr. in Pennsylvania. Running for U.S. Senate against Blue State aberration Rick Santorum, Casey, the son of popular ex-Governor of PA Bob Casey Sr., is a Anti-Choice Democrat. This information does a little to dispel the idea that the 'Blue' North East will always elect strong Progressives. In the end, Casey is a great step forward from Santorum for a 'Blue' state with many rural voters.

A combination of breaking the GOP's strangle hold on the South and Mid-West and reducing the number of Republicans (no matter how moderate) elected in solid 'Blue' states is a recipe for retaking the House and Senate.

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