In the Republican graveyard of the Northeast, the region where the party all but ceased to compete over the past decade, there are signs of GOP life in places that as recently as November seemed to have none.
By Josh Kraushaa
In Connecticut, there is an unexpected opportunity to unseat veteran Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) in 2010. In , (D) trails his Republican challenger in the polls. Several House races seem promising in neighboring New York, where Democratic Gov. David Paterson’s bungling of a recent Senate appointment has jeopardized both his seat and the one now held by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
It’s not exactly a rebirth, but the combination of some self-inflicted Democratic wounds, the economic downturn and the departure of President George W. Bush has shell-shocked Northeastern Republicans cautiously optimistic about their fortunes in 2010.
“To predict there is now a groundswell of support for Republicans is a little pretentious,” said former Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.), who lost a reelection bid in 2006. “But clearly the traditional voter in the Northeast is looking more closely at Republicans with Bush and the war in Iraq not on the front burner anymore. Now the Democrats have their scandals, they have their problems, and the American people are looking back and thinking we need to balance things out.”
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