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Republicans from all over Connecticut will gather at the Connecticut Convention Center today to take on what is shaping up as some hotly contested political races. The delegates will decide who gets the official Republican endorsement for various races. However, any candidate who gets 15 percent of the vote can force a primary in August. The marquee match-ups are for US Senate and for Congress from the state’s 5th district.
The race for the open Senate seat has been contentious at times and shows no signs of slowing down. Wrestling magnate Linda McMahon has a solid “ground game” of delegates. She ran for an open US Senate seat two years ago, won the nomination but was soundly defeated by Democrat Richard Blumenthal despite spending $55 million on the race.
Former US Representative Chris Shays has not pulled any punches in his effort to be the nominee. He has tried to portray McMahon as irresponsible (for spending the $55) and he has repeatedly branded her as unelectable against the endorsed Democratic candidate, US Rep. Chris Murphy. The latter charge has some validity. Polls show McMahon winning a GOP primary but when matched against Murphy, she loses. Shays, however, loses a primary (according to the polls) but runs neck and neck with Murphy.
Some establishment Republicans seem to be moving toward Shays. When Mitt Romney came to Hartford, there was a reserved seat for Shays in the front row. Not so for McMahon. State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney is featured in a video supporting an “electable candidate.”
The other featured contest is for the open congressional seat from the 5th district. State Sen. Andrew Rorback tells The Hanging Shad that while he won’t make a prediction, he believes he has solid support. Roraback’s morderate views attracts independants crucial to win the general election.
Businesswoman Lisa Wilson-Foley has been hammering Roraback, particularly on his position on the death penalty. The Wilson-Foley campaign is at best distracted, at worse possibly guilty of violating campaign finance laws. Controversy came when it was revealed that former governor-turned-radio host John Rowland was “advising” her campaign while simultaneously being paid as a “consultant” to a business owned by Brian Foley, the candidate’s husband. To matters worse, Rowland was bashing Roraback on his radio show until WTIC-AM announced he would not talk about the race.
Several other candidates are seeking the nod for the seat—Businessman Mark Greenberg and Afghanistan war veteran Justin Bernier.
No matter what happens today, there will likely be a primary between McMahon and Shays this summer (Aug. 14th).