09 October 2007

Shelton in the Rear View Mirror

As Shelton disappeared in the rear view mirror, it seemed clear that the storyline of the campaign - the contest to fill Dick Belden's seat and continue his legacy - had reached its zenith. Newly-minted Representative Jason Perillo grew up down the street from Dick and Bert Belden, he campaigned on continuing Belden's legacy, and in victory, paid humble homage to our departed friend.

As far as the mechanics of the effort, House Republican Leader Larry Cafero deserves high praise from his fellow Republicans for making the special election a top priority. Running a highly coordinated campaign, Cafero's team marshalled the resources that the new public financing laws bestowed on the candidates and turned them into an aggressive, effective campaign. And when the two camps, with financial parity, were allowed to make their cases to the people of Shelton's 113th District, 65% of them sided with Jason Perillo and the Republican message of downtown redevelopment, preservation of open space, and fiscal responsibility.

The takeaway message is that there is something happening here in Connecticut, albeit somewhat unnoticed. The Republicans in this state will no longer be the Party of Loyal Opposition or easily subdued challengers. We will recruit good, enthusiastic candidates with a firm grasp of the message and the willingness to do what must be done to win. We will be better organized and allow experienced operatives to guide us in the right direction. We will work harder, more diligently, and with greater skill. And when we do these things, we will win.