Connecticut's 4th congressional district election, 2006

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The 2006 Connecticut 4th Congressional District Election was held on November 7 to elect the representative from the 4th District of Connecticut, which includes 17 towns in southwest Connecticut.[1] Representatives are elected for two-year terms; the elected representative will serve in the 110th United States Congress from January 3, 2007 until January 3, 2009. The candidates were Christopher Shays, Republican, incumbent, member of the United States House of Representatives since 1987; Diane Farrell, Democrat, former Westport, Connecticut Selectwoman; and Phil Maymin, Libertarian, owner of a financial management firm and Justice of the Peace in Greenwich, CT. Richard Duffee, Green, ultimately withdrew his candidacy. Shays was ultimately re-elected by a margin of 6,645 votes.

The candidates (left to right) Chris Shays, Diane Farrell, Phil Maymin, Richard Duffee

Background[edit]

Shays[edit]

Main article: Christopher Shays

Shays grew up in Darien, Connecticut, attended Principia College in Elsah, Illinois, and received an MBA and MPA from New York University. He was a member of the Connecticut state house of representatives from 1975-1987, when he was elected to fill the vacancy caused by the death of United States Representative Stewart McKinney.[2] He has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 1987. In his tenth term in the 109th Congress, Shays served as Vice-Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform. He is Chairperson of the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations,[3] and a member of the Financial Services and Homeland Security Committees.

Farrell[edit]

Main article: Diane Farrell

Born August 10, 1955, in New Rochelle, New York, Farrell is a former elementary school teacher who later worked in the advertising industry and first became engaged in school politics when her children entered the Westport public schools.[4]

She served two terms as the first selectwoman (a position equivalent to Mayor) of the town of Westport, Connecticut. According to her campaign website, she was elected in 1997 with 59% of the vote and with 71% in 2001.[4] The official results show that Farrell won in 2001 with 70% of the vote.[5] Farrell's campaign website says she was elected to office on both occasions with the support not only of her fellow Democrats, but also a significant group of independents and Republicans.[4]

Farrell had previously run for Connecticut 4th's Congressional District Election in 2004 against Shays. She began her campaign in the spring of that year, raising over US$1.9 million, and spending US$517,789 to Shays' US$879,885.[6] She received 48% of the vote (51% in Westport), and lost by 5%.[7]

Under Farrell's administration, according to a report in The Westport News, Westport had the highest tax rate in the state of Connecticut.[8] A 2004 New York Times article reported that Shays faulted Farrell for allowing Westport's property taxes to double in seven years; she replied that the town had the eighth lowest property tax rate in Connecticut, with "a lot to show for that money in the form of new schools and a new senior center".[9] During her term, the town's required real property revaluation had to be postponed due to a six-year backlog in assessments.[10][11][12]

Maymin[edit]

Phil Maymin, 31, works in the financial industry. He runs his own financial management firm. He is also a Justice of the Peace in Greenwich, CT. He completed a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics and a Cum Laude Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from Harvard University. He is also completing his Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Chicago. He graduated from Phillips Academy. His family immigrated to America from Russia when he was five years old. He lives in Greenwich, CT with his wife and baby daughter.

Maymin ran on a libertarian platform. He supports a deadline for Iraq within the next year. He supported secure borders and opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants. He also advocated slashing taxes, phasing out spending, and paying down the debt.

Criticisms[edit]

A week after Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy campaigned in Connecticut for Farrell, Shays was questioned about the Mark Foley scandal. Shays said, "Dennis Hastert didn't kill anybody", referring to the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident involving Kennedy.[13] Farrell criticized Shays for making this claim, saying, "This is symptomatic of Chris losing his composure in a tight race." A spokeswoman for Kennedy said, "This just makes clear the real need for change in November. Beyond that, I'm not going to dignify such a desperate attack with a response."[13] The Libertarian standing between them during the debate was finally asked to jump in if he had anything to say about the Foley affair. Maymin, a 31-year-old Russian immigrant who runs a hedge fund, got a huge, genuine laugh by pointing out, "There has not been a single Libertarian congressman involved in a scandal."

Endorsements[edit]

Shays[edit]

Shays received endorsements from the Connecticut Post (this is a reversal of its 2004 endorsement of Farrell[14]), Esquire, Governor of Connecticut M. Jodi Rell, the National Association of Community Health Centers, League of Conservation Voters, Human Rights Campaign, Business and Professional Women, Women's Alliance for Israel, Republican Majority for Choice, National Federation of Independent Business, Connecticut Laborers' Political League, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition, and other veteran and union groups.[15]

Farrell[edit]

Farrell's endorsers included the Connecticut AFL-CIO, the pro-choice group EMILY's List, the New York Times (this was Shays' first serious congressional race in which the NYT did not endorse him[16]), the Hartford Courant, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Women's Political Caucus, the National Association of Social Workers, AFSCME, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and the National Organization for Women, as well as a number of other labor, environmental and women's groups.[17]

Green Party candidate withdrawal[edit]

On October 23, 2006, the Green Party withdrew its candidate, Duffee, and gave its support to the Democratic candidate, Farrell. In exchange, Farrell has agreed to post Green Party issues on her web site and to support the inclusion of Green candidates in future debates. Duffee and Farrell made the announcement at a news conference in Norwalk.[18]

Finances[edit]

In the campaign finance reporting period ending June 30, 2006, Farrell had US$1,376,139 cash on hand to Shays' US$1,507,565, according to Open Secrets.[19]

Polls[edit]

An October 4, 2006 poll conducted by Zogby showed 46 percent of likely voters supported Farrell while 41 percent supported Shays, and 11 percent remained undecided.[20]

An October 2, 2006 poll conducted by the University of Connecticut's Center for Survey Research and Analysis showed 44 percent of likely voters supported Shays while 40 percent supported Farrell, and sixteen percent remained undecided.[21]

Polling[edit]

Source Date Farrell (D) Shays (R) Maymin (L) Undecided
Reuters/Zogby Poll November 1, 2006 51% 43.5% N/A 4%
Reuters/Zogby Poll October 4, 2006 46% 41% N/A 11%
University of Connecticut's Center for Survey Research and Analysis October 2, 2006 40% 44% N/A 16%

Final Results[edit]

US House election, 2006: Connecticut District 4[22]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Chris Shays 106,558 50.87
Democratic Diane Farrell 99,913 47.70
Libertarian Phil Maymin 2,998 1.73
Turnout 209,469

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Connecticut's Fourth District, Congressman Christopher Shays. Fourth District Links. Accessed October 8, 2006.
  2. ^ Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. SHAYS, Christopher H. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  3. ^ United States House Committee on Government Reform. National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  4. ^ a b c Farrell for Congress. About Diane Farrell. Retrieved on October 9, 2006.
  5. ^ Town of Westport. Election Results. November, 2001. Retrieved October 9, 2006
  6. ^ CapitalEye.org. Connecticut District 4. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  7. ^ Election Results. CNN November, 2004. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  8. ^ Casciato, Don. Farrell and Shays Duel Over Iraq, Rumsfeld. Westport News October 6, 2006.
  9. ^ Cowan, Alison Leigh. Using Iraq, a Challenger from Westport has a Washington veteran on the defensive. The New York Times October 10, 2004.
  10. ^ Cleanup of Westport Permit Backlog to Begin Monday. WestportNow.com March 26, 2004. Retrieved October 9, 2005.
  11. ^ RTM Okays Reval Postponement; Farrell Promises Independent Assessor Audit. WestportNow.com June 1, 2004. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  12. ^ Westport Collects $884,600 in Back Taxes. WestportNow.com December 16, 2004. Retrieved October 11, 2006.
  13. ^ a b Shays on Foley handling: At least no one died. CNN October 11, 2006.
  14. ^ "Chris Shays earns Post endorsement in 4th District race" http://www.connpost.com/electionnews/ci_4571266 Retrieved October 29, 2006
  15. ^ Shays for Congress. Endorsements. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  16. ^ Kinsley, Michael: "Return of the Yellow Dog A case for voting for the party over the person" http://www.slate.com/id/2152350/ Retrieved October 29, 2006
  17. ^ Farrell for Congress.Farrell for Congress:Endorsements. Retrieved October 26, 2006.
  18. ^ Haigh, Susan (2006-10-23). "Green Party, Democrats form alliance to back Farrell". Boston Globe (AP). 
  19. ^ OpenSecrets.org. Total Raised and Spent, 2006 RACE: CONNECTICUT DISTRICT 4. Retrieved October 9, 2006.
  20. ^ Reuters/Zogby Poll: Dems Hold Leads in Races for Key House GOP Seats as Republicans grapple with sex scandal. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
  21. ^ Ginocchio, Mark (2006-10-02). "16% undecided in 4th District race, poll finds". Greenwich Time. Retrieved 2006-10-05. [dead link]
  22. ^ U.S. House results for Connecticut http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2006/general/by_state/us_house/CT.html?SITE=CTHARELN&SECTION=POLITICS Retrieved November 8, 2006.

External links[edit]