What is there to say about the 3rd District that hasn’t been said about the 1st, beyond the fact that it’s farther south?
The 3rd, on the face of it, is pretty much just like the 1st. Take a look at this map from last election if you don’t believe me.
Yup, a sea of blue. Dark blue. Rosa DeLauro wins by huge, huge margins here. She defeated her last opponent, the hapless Joseph Vollano, by a plurality of 100,000 votes out of only 194,000 cast.
It wasn’t always this way. The district actually has more recent Republican history than the 1st. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were very popular here. Larry DeNardis defeated Joe Lieberman in 1980 on the Gipper’s coattails (he lost the district in 1982), and Republicans ran strong races against Bruce Morrison in the 1980s and when the seat was open in 1990. However, ever since DeLauro won that open seat, she and the Democrats have had a lock on it.
Well, first, like most districts in Connecticut, the 3rd is dominated by independents. These particular independents trend towards the Democrats, especially at the federal level, but they aren’t always a sure thing for them in other elections. Take a look at the map of swing towns:
There aren’t many Republican-leaning towns here, but there do seem to be plenty of swing towns. Unfortunately for Republicans, these swing towns don’t vote for Republicans at the federal level. They have, in fact, all delivered large margins for Rep. DeLauro. And they’re a bit crowded out, too, as the map of towns by population shows.
The purple area here actually shrinks when compared with the big Democratic powerhouses of New Haven, West Haven and Hamden. The district also touches two other heavily-Democratic cities, Middletown (once part of the 2nd) and Waterbury. All of these reliable Democratic towns don’t just give DeLauro a comfortable margin. They give her massive margins. Take a look:
New Haven voted for DeLauro by over 18,000 votes–out of about 22,000 votes cast.
Vollano did better in some of the swing towns. His margin in Milford wasn’t too embarrassing, but in almost every town he lost by a more than 2-1 margin. The independents, many of whom may have been Reagan Democrats, now strongly favor the actual Democrats at the federal level.
All of this, plus the district’s recent history and the way the district is currently drawn, suggests that the fate of current Republican candidates there is similar to the 1st. Bo ItsHaky will run the best race he can, but he will probably find it difficult to raise money or get Republicans outside his district or the media to take much notice of him. Don’t look for New Haven and its suburbs to elect anything other than a Democrat to Congress for the foreseeable future.
Note: I’ll have District 4 up by Thursday