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2010 Race of the Day: Battle in the Nutmeg State

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Chris Murphy could very well be the victim of his own fortune on November 2nd.  Riding high on the waves of the anti-status quo sentiment that swept him into office in 2006, he also held on to his seat in 2008 thanks to Obama fever.  But Americans have woken up to the disastrous policies of this Congress and Administration and once again are hungry for change—and that spells trouble for Murphy.  As his opponent, Sam Caliguiri, puts into motion a calculated campaign, Murphy may find himself, for the first time, out of luck.

While Connecticut leans Democratic, the Fifth District is the most Republican in the Nutmeg State and voters are ready to put some red in the state’s all-blue congressional delegation.  Comprising much of the state’s western region, it encompasses the northern part of Fairfield County and includes cities and towns such as Danbury, Waterbury, and Meriden. Republican Rep. Nancy Johnson represented the area for nearly 25 years before she was defeated by Murphy in 2006.  George W. Bush and John Kerry essentially tied here in 2004--each pulled in 49% of the vote in 2004--while the district went to President Obama in 2008 after he garnered 56 percent of the vote.  With a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D+2, this District is by no means safe for Democrats—and they know it.

Murphy got lucky: he was opportunistic and capitalized on the Democrat wave in 2006 and beat longtime Republican Rep. Nancy Johnson.  He can thank the emotional frenzy the Obama campaign ushered in for his reelection in 2008.  Unfortunately, he viewed that luck as a mandate to completely abandon the district’s independent tendencies for a liberal national agenda.  Murphy seems to have forgotten the meaning of the word ‘independent’ as he has consistently voted for the Democrats’ irresponsible tax-and-spend ways: the stimulus, health care reform, and the bailouts all received his support.  So while his constituents want jobs and economic stability first and foremost, he’s busy voting for measures that will drown future generations in debt and sink local businesses.  Even worse, he’s doing this all the while eyeing his next move up the political ladder.

Connecticut state Senator Sam Caligiuri won the primary last month and is looking to help right the wrongs of Murphy’s tenure.  A former mayor of Waterbury, Caligiuri is ready to forge a tough and aggressive campaign to boot Murphy out of his seat and to let his constituents know they have an ally for less spending and lower taxes in Congress.  His track record proves that he’s a committed public servant who has effectively reined in budgets and created jobs.  And during his time as mayor, Caligiuri also led the most aggressive municipal ethics reform effort in Connecticut history. 

Where Murphy put his own best interests first, Caligiuri is ready to go to bat for his constituents.  His support reaches beyond just Republicans.  Caligiuri recently picked up the backing of state’s Independent Party, a significant group of voters who share Caligiuri’s values of less spending, lower taxes, and more jobs.  On in their endorsement, the Independent Party of Connecticut cited Murphy’s role in a “Congress [that] has promoted policies of over-taxation and over-regulation,” stripping him of any credibility as an independent-minded representative. Caliguiri, however, “will help combat this agenda by fighting for individual freedoms and supporting our free market economy”. 

As we know all too well, the Democrats’ loyal support for their party’s reckless agenda has proven disastrous for our country.  This fall, that can change.  Voters have the opportunity to send a very strong message Washington, and people like Sam Caligiuri can help write it.  Americans want leaders.  They want to be heard.  Murphy forgot this, but Caliguiri won’t.

For more information, or to show your support, please visit, or visit his Facebook and Twitter pages. 

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