CT-04: Chris Shays Flips Out On Blogger

This is hilarious. Whaddyaknow, good ole above the partisan fray Chris Shays, for whom the root of all evil is partisanship in politics, refuses to engage with a blogger at a press conference because, like...

You're not the press...you're just totally a Democrat and you're totally with a camera that's used for one opportunity for me to slip.

Totally.

Shays went on to channel Susan Collins, expressing his paranoid fear of having his every word and action caught on tape. You gotta wonder what exactly they have to hide. They might want to follow CGG's advice over at CT Local Politics for politicians who are confronted with a blogger with a video camera.

Don't preempt anyone from speaking simply because their political views are different than your own. It makes any calls you may make for bipartisanship sound hollow and insincere. The person may in fact be smarmy and unpleasant. Let them. Then they're the bad guy and not you. (and it's all on video for the world to see!)

Instead, you get this...

Also check out the total Democrats over at MyLeftNutmeg for more on the downward spiral that is Chris Shays. And oh yeah, give money to the guy who's gonna take Shays down in 08.

There's more...

Democratic Leaders On Offense in '08, GOP Not So Much

Congressional Quarterly has been taking a look at the July campaign donations by the PACs of the two parties' leaders in congress and has found a promising trend. While all ten of John Boehner's expenditures were devoted to protecting endangered incumbents, 4 of 5 of Steny Hoyer's were spent to build up the war chests of Democratic challengers (the 5th went to this week's CA-37 special election winner Laura Richardson.)

Hoyer's AMERIPAC made five donations to Democratic House candidates in July, and four of them are staging serious challenges in the 2008 elections to take over seats currently held by these Republicans: Christopher Shays of Connecticut and Mike Ferguson of New Jersey, who are running for re-election; Ralph Regula of Ohio, who is seriously considering retirement; and Deborah Pryce of Ohio, who recently announced she would not seek re-election next year. [...]

By contrast, Boehner's leadership PAC, known as The Freedom Project, made donations to 10 GOP candidates last month that party leaders have identified as being especially in need of early campaign cash -- and all of them are incumbents, including Shays and Ferguson. The others are James T. Walsh of New York, Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado, Dean Heller of Nevada, Vern Buchanan of Florida, Thelma Drake of Virginia and John R. "Randy" Kuhl Jr. of New York.

The Democrat challenging Chris Shays in CT-04, Jim Himes, got a further boost from a visit by DCCC chair Chris Von Hollen who hosted fundraisers for Himes in New York City and Connecticut  earlier this week. CT Local Politics was there (h/t Melissa Ryan in Breaking Blue.)

It's great to see the DCCC throw so much support at Himes, who really does look poised to beat Shays this time. It's clear from the aggressive stance the DCCC has taken going after Shays this time that Von Hollen and Himes are determined not to repeat Emmanuel's and Diane Farrell's mistakes of the past.

From My Left Nutmeg

"This is certainly one of the priority races in the country," Van Hollen said in a telephone interview yesterday. "We look forward to working him (Himes) in any way that we can be helpful."...

Himes took a swipe yesterday at Shays when asked to explain his early fundraising success.

"People are realizing everywhere that Shays has passed his sell-by date and I see that all over the district," said Himes, who called Shays a rubber-stamp for failed White House policies on the Iraq war.

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CT-04: Chris Shays Once Again Wants It Both Ways On Iraq

They don't call him Both Ways Shays for nothing. Last night on CNN's Situation Room, Rep. Chris Shays, aka the last Republican congressman left in New England, gave a lesson on how to be both for and against withdrawal from Iraq. Via TPM Election Central:

"We do not have the force structure to maintain the level of troops we have in Iraq now, and certainly to increase them," Shays said during an appearance in CNN's Situation Room. "So, whatever General Petraeus tells us in September, we are still going to have to reduce the number of troops in Iraq. And that's why I think it would be wise to let the Iraqis know that now, that there will be a gradual reduction in troops."

Sounds pretty good, right? But when given the opportunity to put his vote where his mouth was last week, Shays voted NO on the Responsible Redeployment From Iraq Act. At the time, he said:

We need to bring our troops home and we need a deadline to do that. But this deadline begins in 120 days and concludes by April of next year guaranteeing absolute failure... We need to bring our troops home but not by the deadline that's been offered.

Instead he called for the Iraq Study Group recommendations to be adopted, even though they were ignored by his majority Republican congress AND, as Shays's 08 challenger Jim Himes reminded Shays in his statement in response to Shays's vote (h/t MyLeftNutmeg):

"Today, Rep. Shays  called again for a new Iraq Study Group report, while disregarding the most important recommendation of the Iraq Study Group: ending major combat operations in Iraq by spring 2008.  Rep. Shays' vote today not only goes against ISG recommendations, it is in direct violation of his campaign promise to the people of the 4th District...."

As Greg Sargent recaps, time and time again, whenever given the opportunity, Shays votes in favor of continuing Bush's failed policy in Iraq. But I've got to disagree with Sargent on one point: Shays isn't the latest to join the ranks of the Republican WINO (Waverers In Name Only) caucus, he was the founding member.

Update [2007-7-20 21:22:25 by Todd Beeton]: Oh yeah, and Shays has also officially lost it.

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2008 Congressional Challengers: This Time It's Personal

James L over at Swing State Project has the Q2 fundraising numbers for 2008 congressional incumbents and challengers of both parties. And as they've done at the presidential and campaign committee levels, the Democrats shine here as well.

These two bullet points are especially telling:

* Republican challengers who outraised Democratic incumbents: Jim Ryun (KS-02) and Andrew Saul (NY-19).

* Democratic challengers who outraised Republican incumbents: Charlie Brown (CA-04), Russ Warner (CA-26), Jim Himes (CT-04), Michael Montagano (IN-03), Frank Kratovil (MD-01), Andrew Duck (MD-06), David Nacht (MI-07), Kay Barnes (MO-06), Eric Massa (NY-29), Vic Wulsin & Steve Black (OH-02), John Boccieri (OH-16), Darcy Burner (WA-08).

Two challengers who hit particularly close to home for me are Charlie Brown in CA-04 and Jim Himes in CT-04.

I had the pleasure of meeting Lt. Colonel Charlie Brown in San Diego at the calitics CDP blograiser where he impressed me with his passion, especially on the war, and his friendly way as he closed the place with us with beer in one hand, blogging away with the other. We here in California are looking to him to be the Jerry McNerney of 2008 and to hopefully lead the charge toward taking back red California. And when Charlie Brown defeats corrupt Rep. John Doolittle next November, he'll have the pleasure of representing my Republican uncle whose admonition to me last November was something to the effect of "ok, well you won, now let's see if you can do something." It was a standard to which he never held his own party. Charlie Brown will show him what's it's like to actually have a representative in Washington looking out for his interests, not his own.

Along the same lines, Jim Himes in CT-04 (see Melissa Ryan's introduction HERE) is taking on Chris Shays in my Republican parents' district. In fact, I lived in the 4th when I turnd 18 and Shays was one of the first votes I cast. He actually represented the district pretty well through the 90s but under Bush and the extremist Republican majority, Shays became an enabler of the worst kind. Last November was a heartbreaker but 2008 will be the year when the last Republican congressman in New England is sent back home.

What heartens me about these races is the strong local blogger support both challengers enjoy, a fact that is inextricably linked to their fundraising strength. Calitics has been a strong advocate of Brown's since his 2006 challenge (in which he came within just a few points of unseating Doolittle) as has Dump Doolittle and Himes is finding strong support from MyLeftNutmeg (see their takedown of Shays's pro-Iraq vote and Himes's instant response HERE) as well as CT Local Politics.

As we look toward expanding our majorities next year, these are two races I'll be watching. What races are most important to you and have you checked out the local blogs that are covering them? Link 'em up in the comments.

There's more...

2008 Congressional Challenge Round-up

From CQ:

After capturing TX-22 & 23 last year, Democrats now have Republican Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10) in their sights. The Democratic challenger last year won 40% of the vote having spent only $65,000. There are two potential 2008 challengers, Larry Joe Doherty, star of "'Texas Justice,' a courtroom reality show in which he portrays a Stetson-wearing judge settling real-life rifts between people," and Dan Grant, an Austin-based international affairs consultant.

Also from CQ:

Dan Seals, who got 47% of the vote last year against Mark Steven Kirk in IL-10, is making another run, although he'll have to get through the primary first. And Darcy Burner might have some primary competition herself in WA-08.

From The Politico:

The only two close calls for Democratic incumbents last November were Reps. Jim Marshall (GA-08) and John Barrow (GA-12) who successfully fought off challenges in their newly redrawn districts. Not surprisingly, they top the NRCC's list of targets for 2008.

From calitics:

Charlie Brown, who plans to take on corrupt Rep. John Doolittle in CA-04 again next year (unless Doollittle resigns for some reason...), has announced he is giving 15% of the donations that come in to his campaign via ActBlue by Saturday's fundraising deadline to victims of the devastating Lake Tahoe fire.

From MyLeftNutmeg:

Please tell me this is the guy who will finally take out Chris Shays (CT-04.)

From Swing State Project:

Chris Van Hollen is going to zealously challenge five FL congressional seats next year, including a Jennings v. Buchanan rematch in FL-13 as well as in FL-08, FL-10, FL-15 and FL-24. James L has Van Hollen's rationale for each, as well as this nugget:

Democrats have proven themselves more adept at holding red turf than Republicans have been at retaining seats in blue districts (Democrats currently hold 62 House districts that Bush won in 2004, while Republicans hold a scant eight that voted for Kerry)

There's more...

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