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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Will any politician benefit by saving sub base

The celebration hasn't yet ended but people are wondering how saving the sub base will benefit and politicians who are up for re-election.

From the Hartford Courant
But even as politicians celebrated the bipartisan victory, they were unwilling to predict major, long-term political gains for anyone - even Simmons, the elected official who was most endangered by the base closure. History is rife with examples of dramatic moments soon forgotten by voters.

George H.W. Bush soared in the polls after the Gulf War in 1991, but he lost the presidency in 1992.

His son similarly benefited from the leadership displayed in the days after 9/11, but the younger Bush still came within one state of losing re-election as president three years later.

Simmons' staff is aware of a more relevant precedent: His predecessor, U.S. Rep. Sam Gejdenson, a Democrat, helped reverse a Pentagon plan to close the Groton base in 1993.

The next year, Gejdenson won re-election by 21 votes.

The state Senate's top leader, Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, predicted voter memories will be no longer in 2006 than in other years.

"I think there will be some positive bounce for folks as a result of the fact we were all successful in keeping his base off the list," Williams said. "But, you know, a year from now the issues are going to be entirely different. "
If Connecticut would of lost the sub base, Simmons would of been toast. His district has been traditionally Democratic and he's going to be in a tough re-election campaign with Joe Courtney as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will work hard and pump alot of money to unseat Simmons.

In saving the base, Simmons might of saved his neck from the chopping block but with a year to go till eleciton day, saving the base doesn't mean he'll easily win re-election either.

Simmons' top aide, Todd Mitchell, did not disagree.

"It does not hurt Rob politically to have participated in saving the sub base. A monkey could figure that out. There is absolutely no debate there," Mitchell said. "But I think Rob's position is now, `We put a lot of time and effort into saving the base. It's on to the next issue.'"

Simmons, who says the 2nd is the most Democratic district in the country held by a Republican, can never afford to rest easy, Mitchell said.

Simmons, who unseated Gejdenson in 2000, already has a Democratic opponent, Joseph Courtney, and is targeted for defeat by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.