Congressman Chris Shays says he will vote for Senator Joe Lieberman this November:
"As things stand now I will vote for Joe Lieberman," said Shays. "He is one of the few Democrats who is not making politics with the Iraq war."
Shays was speaking to The Hour's [subscription required] editorial board. According to The Hour, Shays criticized his Democratic opponent Diane Farrell for endorsing Lieberman's re-election:
"She has made (Iraq) her her primary issue," Shays said Lieberman's views on Iraq are "nearly identical to mine."
Southern Connecticut Newspapers report Shays is confident about his re-election chances in his upcoming rematch against Farrell in Connecticut's Fourth Congressional District.
During a meeting with the editorial board of The Advocate and Greenwich Time, the 18 year House veteran said "his voting record supports the best interests of the Fourth Congressional District:"
"I feel I'm more effective today than I've ever been before," Shays said. "I have a lot of clout in my party and I think I'm needed by my district."
[. . .]
He said his fallout last year with disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was empowering because the Texas Republican eventually resigned from his leadership post, as Shays called for.
Shays, and his constituents, are lucky DeLay was indicted and had to step down. Otherwise there would have been a price paid for Shays' outspokenness. It happened before. In 1998 $10 million was removed from a $25 million allocation of transportation money headed for his district after he branded the bill "a blatant attempt to buy votes."
When Shays complained, another $5 million was removed.
Shays also told The Advocate and Greenwich Time that should the Democrats win control of Congress in November, his independence from the Republican leadership will strengthen his role in the House:
"In the end, if I'm in the minority, I'll be one of the most powerful members of Congress," he said.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would "have to depend on me as a moderate Republican" for votes if she became Speaker of the House, he said.
Shays seems to have forgotten how kind Pelosi was to him during and immediately after the 2004 election.
After the election the Hartford Courant reported:
While he never had much in common with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, their relations were cordial. At least that was true until she campaigned for his opponent in the election and last week when she told the national press corps he was a meek grandstander.
"She said I was brain dead," Shays said, clearly sad about her attitude. Pelosi called Shays "a rubber-stamp-for-the-radical-right-wing, check-your-brain-at-the-door congressperson" and "an enabler for DeLay."
[. . .]
"Working with Chris Shays," Pelosi said, "is not something I spend a lot of time thinking about." She called his claims of moderation a "masquerade," using the DeLay rules voice vote instead of a roll call to prove her point.
"He grandstands outside by saying he doesn't approve of the rules change," Pelosi said. "He could have with one word called for a [roll call] vote ... but instead he chose to meekly voice his position instead of standing up to the task and asking for a vote."
This should be an interesting race.
UPDATE: The Hartford Courant reports that during Shays' interview with the editorial board of The Advocate of Stamford he let slip GOP officials have discussed cross-endorsing Democratic Lieberman this fall:
The remark was not immediately reported by The Advocate, but it set off a flurry of calls among Republicans who have been gauging support for the idea among GOP candidates, including Gov. M. Jodi Rell and U.S. Reps. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, and Nancy L. Johnson, R-5th District.
One GOP operative who was aware of the discussions said premature public disclosure of the possible cross-endorsement probably would kill the idea. That seems to be case.
By Tuesday evening, spokesmen for top Republicans publicly distanced themselves from the possibility of backing Lieberman, who faces a Democratic primary over his support of President Bush and the war in Iraq.
And a spokeswoman for Lieberman, who previously had refused to rule out appearing on any but the Democratic line on the November ballot, said he would not accept a cross-endorsement.
"Would he accept the endorsement of the Republican Party? No, he is seeking the Democratic Party nomination," said Casey Aden-Wansbury, his communication director. She said no one representing Lieberman has discussed a cross-endorsement with Republicans.
More thoughts at Ex-Donkey Blog.