Today’s Hartford Courant revisits the Fairfield County 4th Congressional District race and quotes a Washington analyst as saying Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell’s campaign strategy portraying her opponent Christopher Shays as a tool of conservatives is “risky.”
“In the increasingly contentious clash for Fairfield County’s 4th District congressional seat, Democratic challenger Diane Farrell has taken to linking Shays to conservatives, including President Bush, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and the bane of liberals, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.,” the newspaper said.
Amy Walter, an analyst who follows House races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said it is a risky campaign strategy for the newcomer Farrell to attempt to tie Shays to DeLay, the Courant reported.
“Even in this district, with well-educated voters, I don’t think a lot of people are paying attention to Tom DeLay,” Walter said. “That’s a hard argument to make.”
The newspaper quoted a Republican strategist as saying Farrell’s strategy was dishonest.
“It’s a tough sell to say he doesn’t vote the way his district wants him to vote,” said Christopher Paulitz, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee in Washington.
“It’s so intellectually dishonest, and she’s not going to be able to mislead her way into Congress.”
Ironically, some Shays backers say that his iconoclastic ways could hurt him among Republicans, and that Farrell’s attacks will backfire and help Shays, the newspaper said.
“Farrell had votes [from disgruntled Republicans], and she’s losing votes by the comments she’s made,” said Sam Romeo, a longtime Greenwich Republican.
When told that the Shays campaign and others sharply reject her notions about the comparisons to DeLay, Farrell dismisses the objections and repeats her charge once again, the Courant said.
“He’s not an independent,” Farrell responds. “That’s what I’m saying, in a nutshell.”
One of the biggest supporters of Farrell’s campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is touting the same line as Farrell, except sometimes in harsher terms, the report said.
“Shays has done nothing with his alleged moderate credentials except use them to cynically advance the agenda of his right-wing masters,” the Democratic group said, adding that Shays is running a “rubber-stamp-in-moderate’s-clothing campaign that Republicans are now running all over the country.”