Election 2008: Winners and Losers

Now that a couple of days have passed, and events are becoming clearer, let’s take stock. Who came out ahead? Who’s been hurt? And where does this leave us here in Connecticut? There are some obvious choices here, and some less than obvious ones.

Winners

1. Democrats: Well, duh. Democrats had a great night nationwide, and Connecticut was no exception. Of course, now they actually have to do something with it.

2. Legislative Democrats: Through no fault of their own, Democrats have increased their majorities in the House and Senate. This doesn’t mean that incoming Speaker Donovan and Senate President pro tem Donald Williams don’t have their work cut out for them, but it may make some things a little easier.

3. Optical scan voting machines: I’ve really warmed up to them. Better, there were hardly any problems reported. Not bad!

4. Public financing: I’ve heard from many candidates about how much better public financing made their campaigns. Many said they wouldn’t have stood a chance without it, and that not having to raise money all the time meant more contact with voters. Works for me. 2010 will be the big test of the system as we get ready for statewide races.

5. John Larson: Not only did he win his district by the usual five billion votes, but he also now has a chance to move up in the ranks. Will we see a Speaker Larson someday? …Naah. But he is getting more powerful.

Losers

1. Joe Lieberman: He really hitched his star to McCain, and the gamble didn’t pay off.

2. Jodi Rell: Once again, she didn’t help get her fellow Republicans elected, despite doing some (some) campaigning and appearing in their ads. Voters still like Jodi, but they don’t seem to like her friends very much. Worse, the supermajority is back–although whether the Democrats will actually use it is another question.

3. Three strikes law: Christine Stuart has a fascinating piece about three strikes and the negligible effect it had on the campaign.

4. Republicans: It’s hard to take much good for Republicans from this election season. There are some rays of hope, however. They did manage to win some seats, although they had a net loss for the night, and most of their troubles were not exactly their fault. National trends heavily influence state legislative races. At the end of the night, though, they had lost their last congressman and were down seats in the legislature–including a senate seat they had worked very hard to gain earlier this year. Take heart, Republicans–2010 is on the way.

5. Candidates for state offices: The presidential race overshadowed everything else this cycle–and in a big way! Most people didn’t really tune into their local races until they were in the voting booth, I think. State and local issues took a back seat, and that’s a problem. Maybe we ought to move our legislative elections to off years.

What do you think? Who were the real winners and losers this cycle?

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