Thursday, July 13, 2006

New Race Update from Larry Sabato

Political prognosticator, Larry Sabato, updated his review of the Murphy-Johnson race today. Sabato seems quite impressed with the challenge Chris Murphy is putting forth and takes notice of his strong fundraising ability and history of success. Sabato goes as far as to call Murphy one of the Democratic Party's "best hopes." None of this can be good news for the Johnson camp.

Although it is hard to believe that this district was on very few pundits' radar screens only half a year ago, it's plain to see now that Democratic state Sen. Chris Murphy of Cheshire has emerged as one of the out-of-power party's best hopes for defeating a well-entrenched House GOP moderate. The last time Murphy was this actively engaged in a race for Congress was ten years ago, when he was in his early twenties and served as campaign manager for Democratic challenger Charlotte Koskoff, who capitalized on a 1996 Democratic surge in the then-6th District to almost pull off a stunning upset against GOP Rep. Nancy Johnson.

Although it is unlikely Murphy will ever match the fundraising powerhouse Johnson dollar-for-dollar here, Murphy is holding his own, and will post a second quarter report pegging his total dollars raised for the cycle at over $1 million. Murphy's camp finds further encouragement in a Democratic survey taken for his campaign this week showing him leading Johnson 46%-44%, within the poll's margin of error. The Crystal Ball views those numbers with skepticism and believes Johnson is narrowly ahead, but this race is certainly well on its way to the Dirty Thirty.


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