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The Republican tsunami appears to be moving through all parts of the country – from Oregon and Washington state to Rhode Island.
This is what happens when big wave elections happen. They permeate everywhere. Races that seem hopeless suddenly become hopeful. Races that look promising suddenly become clearly winnable.
I watched the Democratic tsunamis in 1958, 1974, and 2006. I also watched the Republican tsunamis in 1980, 1994, and 2010.
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There are regular patterns that begin to develop after Labor Day. When people start thinking about voting, their calculations change. This year is no different. The 401(k) declarations that were issued in early October will reinforce and intensify feelings of discontent with President Joe Biden and Democrats. These feelings will build an even bigger Republican wave.
Races that should be locked for Democrats suddenly become competitive.
I recently received an email from Barry Casselman, an old friend and longtime election analyst who writes a regular newsletter on politics. On Saturday, he wrote to me: “Now Connecticut? He explained that a new poll found Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal leading Republican challenger Leora Levy by just five points (49% to 44%). Two weeks ago, a poll put him above 50% and leading by 13 points. Casselman simply asked, “Can CT be in play?”
I checked with people who know Connecticut politics much better than I do, and the answer was surprisingly yes.
This is a year where any Democratic incumbent under 50 is potentially vulnerable. In addition to Levy on the Connecticut ticket, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski now trails Gov. Ned Lamont by just six points (40% to 46%), according to a Connecticut Examiner poll.
Importantly, the poll was taken before the brutal murder of two police officers in Bristol, Connecticut. Police refused to let Lamont speak at a memorial service for officers because Lamont signed legislation during the Black Lives Matters protests that restricted law enforcement and let criminals go free.
Crime and inflation seem to displace Connecticut voters just as they displace voters across the country. And, for Connecticut, being in the New York TV coverage area has an impact. Watching coverage of the ongoing New York carnage increases the crime’s impact on Connecticut politics.
In this context of crisis, Blumenthal is wounded by his 37 years in office. Like Democrat Patty Murray in Washington state, he has had nothing to show for more than six terms in the US Senate. People are looking for action, not excuses.
Nearly two-thirds of Connecticut residents say the country is on the wrong track (65%). At 48% to 43%, voters also say they want to elect a Republican who focuses on lowering prices rather than a Democrat who will keep abortion legal. The head-to-head poll between Levy and Blumenthal is a single-digit race despite Blumenthal’s huge spending advantage over a first-time candidate. Only 42% of Connecticuters think the incumbent won another term. Fifty-two percent want to give someone else a chance.
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All of this in a state without traditional in-person early voting and strict mail-in voting rules. It will be decided on Election Day – and turnout is expected to be high.
All of this makes Connecticut a great potential Republican pick-up. At the same time, you see Tiffany Smiley running a big campaign in Washington State. You see Herschel Walker outperforming its competitors in Georgia. And you see former Democrat Tulsi Gabbard campaigning with retired Republican General Donald Bolduc for the New Hampshire Senate seat.
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There is a tide coming. What we don’t know is how big and decisive this tide will be.
If the tsunami is large enough, even comfortable, well-funded Democrats who thought they were safe could suddenly be in trouble.
When people start making decisions based on their own lives – and their own wallets – then all the advertising in the world just doesn’t work.
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