Shays Holds Off Democrat in Connecticut House Race

A University of Connecticut survey conducted in late October had shown Farrell gaining momentum in the final stretch for the southwestern Connecticut House seat, but other polls had shown Shays and Farrell running neck-and-neck up to Election Day.

The Associated Press reported Shays getting 51 percent of the vote to Farrell’s 48 percent.

A spokeswoman for Farrell told the Stamford Advocate that the campaign had no set threshold of votes at which they would demand a recount.

The match-up turned into a replay of the 2004 election when Shays defeated Farrell in their first go-round 52 percent to 48 percent.

With affluent New York City suburbs reporting first, Farrell had an early lead. But her lead dissipated and Shays took control of the vote as results continued to filter in early Wednesday.

Libertarian candidate Phil Maymin, who Sacred Heart University professor Gary Rose told the Associated Press could be “the Ralph Nader of 2000,” did not factor in the final vote, earning only about 1 percent of the district’s votes.

Shays, a 19-year veteran of Congress, maintains a Republican in the seat that hasn’t been held by Democrats for 37 years.

“Tell the American people the truth, and they’ll tell you the right thing to do,” Shays said during his victory speech at his Norwalk campaign headquarters, the Stamford Advocate reported.

Shays, a longtime supporter of the Iraq war, in August, become one of the few Republicans to call for a timetable for troop withdrawal, after a 13th and 14th trip to Iraq. He also called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

As a moderate Republican in a liberal New England district, Shays had gone against party lines, supporting stem cell research, abortion and campaign finance reform. He called for the removal of then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, after a Texas grand jury indicted him on a conspiracy charge stemming from a campaign finance investigation.

Farrell relentlessly attacked Shays’ stance on Iraq. Her television advertising campaign told viewers, “for three years, Chris Shays has been wrong on Iraq” and that he has given President Bush “a blank check to run an open-ended war.”

With votes remaining to be counted, Farrell would not concede the race.

“This has been a great race. This really will go down in history as one of the all-time great races,” Farrell told the Stamford Advocate.