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Connecticut Republican Rep. Chris Shays, a perennial target for Democrats, lost his bid for an 11th term in one of the more significant losses tonight for congressional Republicans.
With Shays gone, the Republican Party no longer represents any congressional districts in the six states–Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hamp
shire and Maine—that make up New England.
Shays was perhaps best known for his work with presidential candidate John McCain to pass sweeping 2002 campaign finance reform laws.
Shays was ousted by Democrat Jim Himes, a former Goldman Sachs executive. Barack Obama at the top of the ticket may have helped Himes as the Illinois senator easily dispatched McCain in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Republican had been realistic about his re-election prospects this year. Even Shays’ brother, Peter, expressed doubts for a victory. Peter Shays told the Associated Press that his brother refused to run a negative campaign “and he got hurt a little bit with that.”
Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, the only blue states that John McCain was targeting in the final week of the campaign have gone for Barack Obama, according to the exit poll consortium tasked with calling races for the television networks and major newspapers.
The Keystone State has long been coveted by Republicans who liked to point out in the runup to today’s vote that their party had closed the gap at the presidential level in each of the last four presidential elections.
The Obama campaign has remained resolutely confident about its Pennsylvania prospects, insisting that the massive surge in Democratic voter registration — the result of a high-profile presidential primary in the state — had made it nearly impossible for McCain to win.
Should Pennsylvania and New Hampshire fall into Obama’s column, they would join Democratic strongholds Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, which have already gone for the Illinois senator. (Oklahoma and Tennessee have been called for McCain.)
As the county by county results trickle in, watch to see how big a margin Obama takes out of the city of Philadelphia as well as the four suburban counties that ring the City of Brotherly Love.
New Hampshire had long expressed a warmth for McCain, launching his presidential bid during the 2000 primary season and saving it in the 2008 campaign. But, New Hampshire was the epicenter of anti-war (and anti-Bush Administration) sentiment in 2006 and in the closing weeks of this campaign even the most ardent McCain supporters had acknowledged the state would not go there way.
With Pennsylvania and New Hampshire now seemingly off the map, McCain must run a tricky gauntlet — winning a handful of states that Bush carried in 2004 but are closely contested this time around.
Make no mistake: McCain now has almost zero margin for error.
Source: Washington Post