Tuesday’s just a day away. Are you excited?
For the first time in the years I’ve covered or managed campaigns in the city, Bridgeport could (emphasis on could) be a deciding factor in several key races, judging a preponderance of polling data. Bridgeport a kingmaker?
There was a sense based on the city’s recent turnout in gubernatorial cycles that the Democratic political organization would be hard pressed to eclipse a 30 percent turnout, roughly half of what showed in 2008 to support Barack Obama when voters were inspired and party apparatus wasn’t imperative to juice performance. The malaise changed with Barack’s Bridgeport visit. Could his visit stimulate a city turnout by five to seven percent? Possibly. There’s no measuring stick for such an appearance just days before an election. This has never happened. So it comes down to this, Dem city operatives hope to help pull enough votes to reach at least 25,000 votes citywide Tuesday. They’d feel better about pushing the turnout a few thousand more and hitting 40 percent. Is that realistic? Probably not.
Let’s say 25,000 vote. My guess is Congressman Jim Himes receives 19,000 of those votes (6000 to GOP opponent Dan Debicella) and wins the city by 13,000 (76 percent of the vote). Will it be enough to offset losses in the suburbs? Stamford and Norwalk must do their part for Himes, but those cities will not produce the differential Himes will receive in Bridgeport. They have something in those cities Bridgeport once had–a higher ratio of GOP voters. The good news for Himes is he probably starts election day with 1000 votes in the bank via absentee ballots.
None of this matters if the city turnout sucks or Debicella croaks Himes in the suburbs. Himes will get mauled in Darien and New Canaan, that’s a given, but in towns such as Westport, Fairfield and Trumbull can he hit the mid to high 40s percentage? If so, the Bridgeport goal number keeps him in the game and possibly propels. Similar for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy being squeezed by Republican Tom Foley. The difference is that Malloy doesn’t have to win Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District to become governor. More than 40 percent of Connecticut’s GOP registration reside in Connecticut’s 4th and 5th Congressional Districts. Malloy can fish for votes in the three other Congressional districts with a higher proportion of Democrats. But what Himes and Malloy and Dick Blumenthal, in his quest to replace Chris Dodd in the US Senate, all have in common is staying competitive with unaffiliated voters, the largest voting bloc in the state and the reason a Democrat for governor has not been elected since 1986.
Malloy has several appearances in the city planned for Monday.
Tuesday night we’ll know. It’s a long ballot and could be a long night.