July 6, 2004: Headlines: COS - Liberia: Congress: Election2004 - McNally: Hartford Courant: McNally must capture the hearts, donations and votes of primary voters. His pitch to Democrats, especially those in the Connecticut River Valley, underscores his liberal credentials - his Peace Corps experience and his strong anti-war stance

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Liberia: Special Report: Liberia RPCV Shaun McNally, Candidate for Congress in Connecticut: July 6, 2004: Headlines: COS - Liberia: Congress: Election2004 - McNally: Hartford Courant: McNally must capture the hearts, donations and votes of primary voters. His pitch to Democrats, especially those in the Connecticut River Valley, underscores his liberal credentials - his Peace Corps experience and his strong anti-war stance

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-22-73.balt.east.verizon.net - 141.157.22.73) on Thursday, July 08, 2004 - 8:49 pm: Edit Post

McNally must capture the hearts, donations and votes of primary voters. His pitch to Democrats, especially those in the Connecticut River Valley, underscores his liberal credentials - his Peace Corps experience and his strong anti-war stance

McNally must capture the hearts, donations and votes of primary voters. His pitch to Democrats, especially those in the Connecticut River Valley, underscores his liberal credentials - his Peace Corps experience and his strong anti-war stance

McNally must capture the hearts, donations and votes of primary voters. His pitch to Democrats, especially those in the Connecticut River Valley, underscores his liberal credentials - his Peace Corps experience and his strong anti-war stance

Battle Looms In 2nd District
Democratic Brass Taking Sides, Even Before Primary

July 6, 2004
By PENELOPE OVERTON, Courant Staff Writer

Nancy Pelosi draped her arm around Jim Sullivan's shoulders and asked the deep-pocketed crowd gathered at the posh Polytechnic Club in Hartford late last month: "Don't you think it's time to send Jimmy to Washington?"

That Pelosi, the top Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, would come to Connecticut to stump for a Democrat who hopes to unseat a vulnerable Republican, isn't at all unusual.

That the California congresswoman would do it in a primary race is.

And it speaks volumes about the stakes for the Democratic party, as it tries to claw its way back into the majority in the House - that it would back a congressional candidate and start funneling donations to the campaign before the local party holds its primary.

"The numbers tell us we should be holding this seat," said Pelosi during a break in the check-writing and crudite-nibbling last week. "That is why I'm here now. The race is too important to wait for a primary. We know Jimmy can win in November."

But can he win in August?

Sullivan, a former Norwich alderman, is one of two Democrats hoping to take on Rep. Rob Simmons, the two-term Republican congressman in the 2nd Congressional District. The other is Shaun McNally of Deep River, a former state legislator and lobbyist for a pro-business group.

Most of the Democratic establishment, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which recruited Sullivan for the race, signed on with Sullivan months ago on the assumption that he would become the nominee without a primary fight. But McNally squeaked into a primary - set for Aug. 10 - with just enough district convention delegates. The situation has the potential to embarrass Democrats if Sullivan loses, but, more important, it threatens to detour their effort to win back a seat many feel the Democrats never should have lost.

The DCCC, the congressional political arm for Democrats in the House of Representatives, has a policy of steering clear of races until after a primary clears the field. Officially, it doesn't want to undermine the local political process. Unofficially, it doesn't want to back the wrong guy.

But in the case of Connecticut's 2nd District, where political history, voter registration numbers and strong support for John Kerry make any Republican very vulnerable, Pelosi said, the DCCC is more than willing to break its primary rule.

"We're playing to win in the 2nd District," said Rep. Robert Matsui, the California congressman who runs the DCCC and whom Sullivan credits with persuading him to run.

Both men made a run for the nomination in 2002, but stepped aside to give Joseph Courtney a clear field. But McNally shows no inclination to do that this time, pointing to his General Assembly run in 1986 when he defeated a party-backed Democrat in a primary and went on to win the general election. When asked if he is playing spoiler, McNally points to that election as proof that a primary can energize a party.

National and state party leaders such as Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, whom Sullivan considers his mentor, said it would be great if McNally opted to back out, but McNally said no one has actually asked him. He thinks he can win. If he doesn't, he figures a primary will boost Sullivan's name recognition.

But some analysts believe an August primary will force Democrats to exhaust the little money they have on the primary race, create party rifts for Simmons to exploit in the fall and scare away deep-pocketed national donors.

A few analysts and former candidates think the primary might help the party, agreeing with McNally that it will boost the candidate's name recognition and attract early public interest. A primary also opens the door for donors to contribute more cash.

Sullivan considers himself a "meat-and-potatoes guy." He served two terms on the Norwich City Council in the 1990s and spent the last 12 years as a financial planner. He is a little league coach and drives a minivan with a "JSULLY" vanity plate.

On the stump, Sullivan always thanks his "friends in big labor," who usually stand silent at the back of his rallies holding lawn signs. Chatty senior citizens flock to Sullivan to discuss his plans to lower prescription drug costs.

Sullivan's speeches, clearly aimed at the race he anticipates after August, tend to be an anti-Simmons chorus: "Simmons votes like he is George Bush's congressman from Texas, not your congressman from Connecticut" and votes for policies that are "all bully, no pulpit."

 McNally

McNally touts his time at the Connecticut Business and Industry Association as invaluable, saying it gave him experience in jobs creation and networking. He vows to forsake special-interest money and rips Sullivan for taking labor donations. He focuses more time on Sullivan than Sullivan does on him. McNally paints himself as an independent, which he thinks will play well in November.

But first, McNally must capture the hearts, donations and votes of primary voters. His pitch to Democrats, especially those in the Connecticut River Valley, underscores his liberal credentials - his Peace Corps experience and his strong anti-war stance.

"I am the only candidate in this race who wants to pull out of Iraq right now," said McNally. "I lived in Liberia for two years. I know what war can do to a country. We must, without question, get out of Iraq right now, not just for us, but for the Iraqi people."


It is nothing short of an uphill climb for McNally. Political analysts predict Sullivan will win the primary easily, noting he has raised more cash than McNally. In the April campaign finance report, Sullivan had raised $168,000, including a dozen donations from sitting federal lawmakers as well as donations from union and labor groups. McNally had raised $79,000. The next reports are released July 15.

That's on top of the support of national, state and regional Democratic leaders, including such high-profile Democrats as Sen. Christopher Dodd, who coincidentally is McNally's former boss.

But some analysts, such as Paul Petterson, a political science professor monitoring the race from Central Connecticut State University, are careful to note the DCCC is taking a risk by backing a candidate before the primary, even one as heavily favored as Sullivan.

"The people that live in eastern Connecticut love to be unpredictable and they don't like being told what to do," he said. "That's what made it possible for a Republican to win there in the first place. If they did what was expected, they'd never have kicked out Sam."

Sam is Sam Gejdenson, the 20-year incumbent Democrat who lost to Simmons in 2000, and who now supports Sullivan. Gejdenson predicted, between hors d'oeuvres at the Pelosi event, that the primary would help Sullivan. After all, Gejdenson said, it helped him win his first congressional race in 1980.

"Nah, it won't be a problem at all," Gejdenson said. "It's in the bag."




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Story Source: Hartford Courant

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Liberia; Congress; Election2004 - McNally

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By daniel (user-uinj0d9.dialup.mindspring.com - 165.121.129.169) on Friday, July 09, 2004 - 11:17 am: Edit Post

Pat,

Go to Howard Dean's Democracy for America program in Burlington, Vermont. You are going to need support like that when the DLC comes out for the other guy.

I am sure Howard would support your candidacy. He is doing to it throughout the country.

Daniel Pailes


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