Democrats have Nancy Johnson in their crosshairs in 2006
Is Nancy Johnson beatable?
The Democrats are hoping she can be defeated next November as they have their eyes on the 5th district seat. With Johnson's close relationship to Tom DeLay and her questionable trip to Central America recently, be sure that the Democrats will pull out all the stops to link Johnson to DeLay, special intrests groups, and lobbyists.
From The Danbury News-Times
The re-election campaign for veteran U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson of Connecticut is one of several emerging an an early barometer for Republican fortunes in next year’s elections.It's easy for people to talk about the races in the 2nd and 4th districts but one shouldn't underestimate Chris Murphy as he seems like the frontruner for the Democratic slot and could give Johnson an incredible hard fought race.
Races for the 5th District congresswoman, Rep. Deborah Pryce of Ohio and Rep. Vito Fossella of New York’s Staten Island are being watched by the Washington-based Cook Political Report for signs Republicans could lose their majority in Congress.
“If you’re looking for a canary-in-a-coal-mine race, this is one,” said Amy Walter, who tracks House races for the organization. “If all of a sudden you see Nancy Johnson slip, it’s a sign other Republicans in similar districts should be concerned.”
Johnson is a 12-term congresswoman with a strong fundraising advantage over potential challengers and a reputation as a tough, seasoned campaigner. Johnson, a New Britain Republican whose district includes much of the Danbury area, scored double-digit victories in her past two races.
But the unfolding GOP ethics scandals, President Bush’s slumping popularity and growing public doubts about the Iraq war pose are making it tougher for Republicans fighting to maintain their hold on Congress. It has emboldened Democrats seeking a net gain of 15 seats to recapture the House.
Republicans nationwide face a “political environment about as bleak as it’s ever been,” said Walter.
In Connecticut, U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, a 4th District Republican whose district includes Ridgefield and Redding, and Rob Simmons, R-2nd Dist., faced tougher challenges in the 2004 elections. But a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman said unseating Johnson ranks as a priority for the national party.
“Nancy Johnson’s seat has always been high on the list,” said Sarah Feinberg of the DCCC. “I know Shays and Simmons seem to get all the headline attention, but all three are top-tier candidates for us.”
Democrats Chris Murphy, a state senator, and J. Paul Vance Jr., Waterbury Board of Aldermen president, are vying to run against Johnson next fall in a district that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry won by 1,112 votes in 2004.
Murphy had a $234,245 campaign account balance, according to his third-quarter fund-raising report, while Vance reported $13,071.
Johnson’s $1.9 million campaign war chest dwarfs her potential challengers, providing a crucial advantage.
Still, national Democrats are touting Murphy’s prospects, trying to link Johnson with the Bush administration. “We’re talking to the national party on a daily basis,” said Murphy.
DCCC chairman Rahm Emanuel praised Murphy and delivered a $2,000 check last month.
Johnson’s toughest race was in 1996 when she edged Charlotte Koskoff by a single percentage point. Murphy was Koskoff’s campaign manager.
NOTE: Genghis over at Connecticut Local Politics adds some interesting insight into this story and is right about one thing; don't underestimate Nancy Johnson. She has one hell of a warchest, a moderate, and is pretty popular in her district. This doesn't mean that she's is unbeatable, it just mean that in order to win, the Democrats are going to campaign very hard.