After some very public prodding by Republican State Party Chairman Chris Healy, state Senator Sam Caligiuri (R-Waterbury) seems likely to switch races and run for Congress from the 5th district, a seat currently held by popular Democrat Chris Murphy. Caligiuri has spent months campaigning for the GOP nomination for the US Senate and the chance to face embattled incumbent Chris Dodd.
In an unusually high-profile move, Healy released a statement making the case for Caligiuri for Congress. The statement:
Over the last few weeks, State Senator Sam Caligiuri and I have discussed his candidacy for statewide office. After much thought and discussion with other leaders and activists, I have urged him to focus his energies on the Fifth Congressional district where I believe he would be a top candidate.
This is a sentiment shared by many Republican activists in the district. And while it is in no way meant to diminish the efforts of other Republican candidates, Sen. Caligiuri has established himself as a proven reformer and principled legislator.
Senator Caligiuri’s potential entry into the fifth congressional district race spells trouble for Democrat Chris Murphy and shows Republicans are ready to provide new leadership in the Congress.
In an interview with The Hanging Shad yesterday, Healy said his public call was not so much a push for Caligiuri to abandon the Senate race and switch campaigns as it was an airing of the sentiment among the GOP. Readers can make their own call on that one based on the content of Healy’s statement.
Healy notwithstanding, it would seem a smart move for Caligiuri to switch. He is currently lost in the shuffle in the GOP field looking to run against Dodd. Indeed, he was the only candidate (other than the enigmatic Peter Schiff) not to beat Dodd in a theoretical match-up in the latest Qunnipiac poll. Healy is correct that Caligiuri is too attractive a candidate to be an also-ran in the senatorial field. The bottom line is that Caligiuri lacks the Wells-Fargo trucks filled with cash that rivals Linda McMahon, Tom Foley and to a lesser extent, Schiff have.
Caligiuri has been the Republican most feared by Democrats since he won the state senate seat vacated by Murphy when Murphy beat entrenched Congresswoman Nancy Johnson. Democrats recognize Caligiuri is smart, articulate and possesses a power base in Waterbury, the heart of the 5th district. In fact, some in the GOP may be looking for some payback as a result of Murphy’s whipping of Johnson in a race in which Johnson’s incredibly negative campaign backfired.
A potential problem for Caligiuri should he switch, will be charges of “campaign shopping”—a charge that would be accurate. But if he could over come that, along with the fact that he is very conservative for Connecticut, he would be a formidable opponent for Murphy particularly in the present anti-incumbent political climate.
Murphy, for his part, would certainly kick it into gear if Caligiuri came on the scene. A brilliant campaigner and extremely popular (he may be ticketed for the US Senate sometime in the future himself), Murphy would put it into overdrive. It would be a great race to watch.
Caligiuri says he will decide in a few days whether to switch campaigns. The call here says he makes the move and makes the 5th Congressional District a race to watch.
The is a special event this evening at Hartford’s somewhat hidden gem, Real Arts Ways. Broadcasting gem John Dankosky takes his WNPR show “Where We Live” on location in his quest to locate creativity in the Capitol City. WWL is a true treasure in an otherwise virtual wasteland of FM radio in Connecticut (yes, this writer has been a guest on WWL, so he may be a bit biased).
Writes J-Dan, “Locating Creativity: Can Art and Innovation Revitalize Hartford? It’s not just musicians and artists. Its scientists and business people too. It’s potentially YOU.
Can Hartford, the former insurance capital of the world, support a creative class? What (and who) is already here – and how can we connect them? How does the greater Hartford region contribute to Hartford’s creative landscape? What are the elements of a dynamic city – and where should Hartford focus its energy? What are the city’s barriers to a bustling creative economy?”
Real Art Ways
Music/Arts – Jam Session
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Real Art Ways
NOTE: The author of The Hanging Shad will be a guest this weekend on FOX 61’s “The Real Story” with host Laurie Perez. We’ll discuss the political issues of the day. “The Real Story” airs on FOX 61 (channel 6 on most cable systems) Sunday at 10:30 am. Tune in if you can!