The Midterms: Connecticut and Oregon

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

Today we look at two states on opposite ends of the country.



The current Congressional delegation favors the Democrats 5-0 and Elizabeth Esty is retiring from the Fifth District.  Before we get to those races, there is a Senatorial race where Democratic incumbent Chris Murphy faces some GOP sacrificial lamb who will easily lose this race to one of the most anti-Second Amendment, gun-grabbing Democrats in office.  Do not expect any changes in the Senate from this state.

In that open 5th District race, Jahana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, will be the Democratic candidate after winning a primary over Mary Glassman who barely won her party’s endorsement at the state convention.  She will face Republican Manny Santos who won his party’s endorsement at the GOP convention.  Should Hayes win, she would be the first black woman to represent Connecticut in the House (the Democrats are great at claiming “firsts”).    Some of the more liberal voices in Connecticut supported Glassman over Hayes, but the latter overcame those endorsements.  Being a teacher, naturally Hayes has the endorsement of the state’s teacher unions and she also picked up the support of the state’s largest union- SEIU.

On the GOP side, Santos was perhaps the weakest of the lot to survive the primary.  His fundraising totals have been atrocious, mounting only $25,000 in one reporting quarter.  This is the most conservative of the state’s five Congressional districts located in the western part of the state.  In 2012, it supported Obama by a 9-point margin, but Clinton by only 4 points in 2016.  Still in all, the GOP is unlikely to pick up this seat in an open race.


Instead, the attention will be on the gubernatorial race where incumbent Democrat- Dan Malloy- will leave office one of the most unpopular Governors in the country.  Ned Lamont is the Democratic candidate and Bob Stefanowski represents the GOP.  Some polls show a relatively- by Connecticut standards- race in favor of Lamont.  The Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) has pumped over $1 million into this race while their Democratic counterparts have chipped in only $125,000.

The problem for Stefanowski, however, is the presence of independent Oz Greibel who qualified for the ballot.  He competed with Stefanowski for placement on the Independent Party’s ballot which is awarded by party leaders.  Connecticut, like New York, allows a candidate to be placed on the ballot for multiple parties.  What Stefanowski DOES have going for him is the voter dissatisfaction with the administration of incumbent Democratic Governor Dan Malloy.  For his part, Lamont has been distancing himself from Malloy and acknowledges the problems Connecticut faces, many of them due to Malloy’s policies.  Overall, despite the headwinds any Democrat faces through a connection to Malloy, available polling shows a likely Democratic victory come November.  This is furthered by the fact that the independent- Greibel- will likely siphon votes from the GOP allowing Lamont to win with less than 50% of the vote.


With no Senate race, all Congressional incumbents running for reelection and that delegation favoring the Democrats 4-1, no one expects that to change in 2019.  Instead, any action will be at the gubernatorial election where Democratic incumbent and certifiable gun-grabber Kate Brown will face Knute Buehler.


What makes this race interesting and quietly has some Democrats concerned is the fact that Bueller is a self-described pro-choice Republican.  Brown’s approval ratings- many by pollsters her campaign commissioned- are so-so.  Furthermore, Brown’s administration has been racked with allegations shedding a negative light on the state’s foster care program.  They have a not-so-great high school graduation rate and increasing crime and homelessness in Portland is weighing on her administration.  Of course, it doesn’t help that antifa basically rules the streets of Portland while their police force stands down.

Also working in Bueller’s favor is the fact Oregon has not elected a Republican Governor since 1986.  One-party rule fatigue has to figure into the equation when these other factors are considered.  That has given the GOP hopes that they can not only make this race interesting, they can actually win it.

One group- Priority Oregon- ran a commercial that brought a demand from Brown that they take it down.  That ad featured a mother reading a bedtime story about “Kate Brown’s Oregon” where there were homeless camps everywhere and foster children did not have enough to eat.  The last claim: “you sell drugs while running a daycare service” is what upset Brown.

That claim referred to a Portland man- Samuel Watson- who simultaneously ran a store selling marijuana (legal in Oregon) and a daycare center out of his home.  Oregon law prohibits the selling of marijuana from daycare centers.  Watson has since ceased that daycare center, but the ad seems to have made an impact nevertheless.


Still, this is Oregon and since the bulk of the population lives in or near ultra-liberal Portland, how these areas go, so goes the state.  I am not discounting Buehler’s chances here, but one has to realize that this IS Oregon.  The one thing that MAY motivate Oregon’s conservative voters is a ballot question on whether Oregon’s status as a sanctuary state should be rescinded.  Between that question, Democratic Party rule fatigue, Brown’s not-to-great numbers and the impending scandals surrounding another term, the GOP can win this race.  However, I’m placing it in the “D” column at this point and will revisit it at the end of the series with hopefully more polling data.

As of the end of this analysis:

US Senate 22-18 Democrats; US House 50-46 Democrats, and Governors 12-8 Republican.

Tomorrow: South Carolina and South Dakota.


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