Thursday, June 15, 2006

Republican Label May Be Albatross For Some In Midterms

Maybe they can run as "Other."

Republican Rep. Christopher Shays cites his differences with President George W. Bush, produces a chart outlining his moderate voting record and pledges his independence from party leaders in Congress.

His Connecticut colleague, Republican Rep. Rob Simmons, says working with Democrats comes naturally in a district where voters favored Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry over Bush by 10 percentage points in 2004.

For Shays, Simmons and other Republicans running for Congress in Democratic-leaning or swing districts in November, playing down their party label and playing up their independence has become a matter of political survival in a year when "Bush" can be a dirty word.

"This would not be a close election if George Bush was popular. This would not be a close election if there wasn't a war in Iraq," said Shays, who is embroiled in a tight race with Democrat Dianne Farrell.

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