Note: This is a significantly expanded version of a comment I made on another diary; in other words, it's not just deja vu.
It's been a shame to see Chris Shays' metamorphosis over the years from Weicker-like independent liberal Republican to typical GOP hawk (pronounced "hack"), as for the most part his principal identification with the administration has been on the war and homeland security issues, while remaining semi-independent on others, though to a lessening degree over time.
Unfortunately, those are the ones that matter, and the fact that Shays
has always been too moderate to be acceptable to the core of the GOP anyway does not bode well for his own party's support this November, despite the fact that this district has voted Democratic only seven times since 1895.
So here are the issues as a near-lifelong resident of the area sees them:
- The relationship between the extremists that run the GOP today and Fairfield County, one of the last bastions of old style moderate-to-liberal Republicanism left in America and which has had no use for the hard-right variety, is uneasy at best. Shays replaced liberal Republican Stew McKinney upon his death in 1987 (McKinney had himself replaced The Blessed Lowell Weicker when the latter chose to run for Senate in 1970, changing the future course of the Nixon Administration). Shays was widely viewed to be McKinney II for his first several terms. McKinney won his nine terms in a variety of walkovers, as did Shays until 2004. The RNC would presumably rather have a candidate more in line with their views on all topics, not just the war and homeland security (see point 3 below).
- Shays has come damn near losing (2006: 51-48, 2004: 52-48, after only once scoring below 60% and often over 70% in his runs since 1988) even when his party wasn't running for the exits like a bunch of future chicken hawks from their local draft boards circa '68;
- Shays is on the wrong side of the one issue that matters, The War.
Thus, one can see him getting attacked from the left and ignored by the right (the way the RNC decided to desert true maverick Lowell Weicker in 1988, showing then as now that the GOP hearts Joe Lieberman), in addition to which Jim Himes is an awfully appealing candidate, especially for this district.
In other words, put your money on a loss for 10 term moderate Republican from a district that has had a GOP congressman for the last 40 years (and 99 of the last 113) and has no love for the hard right. Despite that, put a fork in him; he's done.