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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Connecticut Post Endorses Shays

The Connecticut Post, which endorsed Democrat Diane Farrell two years ago, today endorsed incumbent Republican Christopher Shays for re-election. The newspaper is published in Bridgeport, where Shays lives.

The text of the editorial: “Even more so than two years ago, voters in Fairfield County’s 4th Congressional District face a gut-wrenching decision at the polls on Nov. 7 in a campaign that is being viewed nationally as a bellwether of American politics in 2006.

“The race pits a rematch between 19-year Republican incumbent Christopher Shays of Bridgeport and his challenger; Democrat Diane Farrell, the former first selectwoman of Westport. 

“Both are articulate, progressive politicians who are well versed on the issues, the district and its citizens.  They are more alike on issues than apart.  Shays’ experience aside, either candidate would make a fine congressperson for the district, which covers lower Fairfield County and swings northward from Bridgeport into the lower Naugatuck Valley.

“This year, the Connecticut Post gives its endorsement to the re-election of Republican Christopher Shays.

“Two years ago, after supporting Shays for each of his runs, this newspaper backed his opponent because we felt Shays was not giving the district and his constituents the attention they deserve. We are now convinced that he has addressed those concerns.

“Unlike the 2004 race, however, increasing citizen dissatisfaction and uneasiness for the United States’ involvement in the war in Iraq has intensified this year’s 4th District rematch, most of the time overshadowing all other issues.

“The intensity, however, has profited district voters because both major party candidates—and even at times the two minor party candidates originally seeking the congressional seat—have provided a full airing of the issues through 11 debates, countless forums and far more-than-usual stumping on the campaign trail.

“We still disagree with Shays on several issues, including his at-times too ardent support for the failed Bush policies in Iraq, but we appreciate how deep and heartfelt he holds those beliefs.

“There have been times when we’ve questioned his positions, such as his recent inexplicable remark in the heat of debate and follow-up defense that Abu Ghraib was ‘something less than torture.’  But, unlike most politicians, Shays admitted his misspeaking on the matter.

“This is an endorsement that was not made lightly by the Post editorial board. Two years ago, we endorsed Diane Farrell as a fresh face in state Democratic politics with new ideas and energy to bring to the district. We still think that would be the case.  But at times in this year’s race her campaign seems to be more directed by national Democratic Party talking point memos than what would be best for the district.

“However, we are cognizant of Shays’ pivotal role in Congress—even if it’s a Democratic-controlled Congress—as one of a small minority of independent-thinking moderates that are able to reach across the political aisle to seek compromise, a commodity in short supply in Washington.

“His work on campaign finance reform, ethics, environmental and homeland security issues certainly attest to this.

“In addition, Shays has been an important and active behind-the-scenes ally for Bridgeport, the state’s largest city, but also one of its poorest, that doesn’t always enjoy a welcome reception in the halls of the federal or state government.

“We still prize Shays for his honesty and integrity. Although he’s suffered politically in Congress, his ability to remain an independent Republican in Congress during a White House administration that plays hardball with those of its party who are disloyal is truly admirable.

“Iraq, no doubt, has provided a torment for Shays. But as conditions and the conduct of the war have changed, he’s been flexible enough to change his views as well.  There are no easy answers for extricating ourselves from Iraq and even a Democratic Congress, if that’s the case, will have problems resolving the conundrum.

“We examined Shays’ 19-year record in the House of Representatives, however, and urge 4th District voters to return the congressman to Washington based on those accomplishments.”

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Posted 10/29/06 at 12:35 PM  Permalink



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