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CT-04: Chris Shays vs... Mike Richter?

by: James L.

Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 10:32 PM EST

Well, ain't this intriguing.  According to Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report, Connecticut Democrats are weighing the possibility of running former NHL superstar Mike Richter against the last Republican House member left standing in New England: the battle-hardened Chris Shays.  As a longtime hockey fan, the idea certainly leaves me feeling a little giddy.  Richter was a career-long member of the New York Rangers, carrying them alongside Mark Messier, Adam Graves and Brian Leetch to a historical Stanley Cup victory in 1994.  His Rangers jersey is only one of four to hang retired in the rafters of the Madison Square Garden.  That's got to carry at least a little bit of resonance in the NYC metro area, even if hockey hasn't exactly been the taste du jour of the area in the past few years.

As for his connection to the district, Richter is a recent graduate of Yale, where he obtained a degree in Ethics, Politics & Economics in 2006.  According to Gonzales, he also found the time to campaign for Democrat John Hall in his upset victory over Sue Kelly in NY-19.  Makes you like him even more, doesn't it?

However, a Shays-Richter matchup isn't a sure bet:

But Richter [...] apparently is looking at a number of districts in more than one state before he makes a final decision.

According to Wikipedia, Richter was born in Abington, Pennsylvania.  There are two Abingtons: a small township in Lackawanna County (PA-11, held by Democrat Paul Kanjorski), and a larger township in Montgomery County (shared between PA-13 and PA-08, both Democrat-held seats).  Perhaps he could be eyeballing a nearby tossup district like PA-06 or PA-15.

He also went to school in Lake Placid, but I believe that that area falls under freshman Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand's NY-20, although Republican John McHugh's 23rd district is right next door...

In any case, the idea of having Mike Richter in our arsenal is exciting.  I'd certainly take a fresh face over a third kick at the can by Diane Farrell.  And if there has ever been a more effective American-born goalie at shutting down right-wingers, I'd like you to name one.

James L. :: CT-04: Chris Shays vs... Mike Richter?
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Granted I know as much about hockey as I do about curling,
but I'd never heard of this guy before today.I think the people of Connecticut would be more excited by a former Whaler than a former Ranger.

"They tried to make you civilized. They just don't seem to realize that what they touch, they bastardize."

All due respect
Conn. has tons of Rangers fans. Mike Richter is one of the most recognizable and popular NHL players in recent years.

You admit you know nothing about hockey and presume to know what other people think about the subject?

[ Parent ]
Especially in the 4th cd
close to NYC, and bordering Rye NY where the Rangers practiced for years.

[ Parent ]
You know,
I lived in Rye for two years and I can't remember a single time I heard anyone talk about hockey.

And I did a lot of eavesdropping on the metro-north platform.

"They tried to make you civilized. They just don't seem to realize that what they touch, they bastardize."

[ Parent ]
I stand corrected
I didn't realise this was Fairfield county. Then, yes, among the minority hockey fan population, the Rangers would be their team, as the commuter population is quite high.
  Having grown up in New Haven county, all my hockey fan friends (all 4 of them) followed the Whalers, then then Bruins, and whatever the local new haven minor league team of the year was. I usually ended up at Yale hockey games.

All of this is irrelevant.

I wish Richter the bet of luck, but I still say the average voter on the street of say, Darien or Bridgeport wouldn't get star struck at the mention of his name.

"They tried to make you civilized. They just don't seem to realize that what they touch, they bastardize."

[ Parent ]
Two related things
1) Wait till he campaigns with Messier and Leetch

2) The media LOVES celebrity candidates, and if Richter does some appearances with Mess, then all hell will break loose - there hasn't been a sports celeb politician in the NY area since Bill Bradley, and I have no doubt the media would just go gaga over this candidacy (Heath Shuler, anyone?)

[ Parent ]
good point
the NY media is starved for a story like that.

CT-02 is Ranger country, but my guess is that he runs elsewhere in NY. I'm glad he's considering running somewhere.

[ Parent ]
You mean CT-04, yes?
I don't think Mike Richter is going to primary Joe Courtney...

Anyhow, I tend to think that CT-04 might be his best fit, since it's very much inside the NYC sphere of influence, and Richter just spent the last four years studying in CT. There aren't really many options in NY - NY-23 is very far from the city (though it is a swing district). I suppose NY-03 on Long Island is a possibility, but then you'd be open to some pretty legit charges of carpetbagging. (Unless Richter lived there while he was a Ranger. Anyone know about that?)

[ Parent ]
Isn't Uniondale in NY-03? Regardless, it can't be very friendly terrirory for any former Ranger, carpetbagger or not.

Also I don't think people who weren't around NYC in the mid-90s understand how huge a deal the Rangers were, even for non-hockey fans.

[ Parent ]
Maybe it's 'cause I was a teenaged girl.
Having lived in CT03, but on the CT04 border (Milford) from 1979-1998, the only hockey teams I ever heard about were the New Haven Nighthawks and then the unfortunately named Beast of New Haven. So, perhaps I'm in the minority for only having attended minor league and Yale hockey games.

At any rate, my point is, I lived within NYC's sphere of influence in the 1990s and never paid attention to the Rangers at all.

Now the Red Sox and the Yankees- THOSE were the teams people talked about.

And, FYI, a lot of CT 04 is super old school WASP/DAR country. People tracing their ancestors back to the 1630s and stuff...

"They tried to make you civilized. They just don't seem to realize that what they touch, they bastardize."

[ Parent ]
Good point! Didn't even think about that.

Oh, and Potvin sucks!

[ Parent ]
SSP Quiz
Can you think of any successful NHL players turned politicians?

I can only think of one Canadian example: Ken Dryden.  He's certainly had a storied career--lawyer, author, businessman, Liberal politician, and goalie!

Richter is from ..
Montgomery County, PA.  It's the suburban Philly one ... I think Philly area people would vote for him ... even though he was on the enemy .. he's still well known .. it would be better if he'd run against Shays ... provided Lamont is not interested

We need more Wisconsin Badgers in Congress. 

Go Mike Go!

"My name's Dr. Multimillionaire and I kicked your ass." -- Rep. Steve Kagen D-WI to Karl Rove

Heck Yeah!
Kammron Taylor for Congress!

[ Parent ]
this is great news. I had always hoped this guy would get into politics.

he has a natural gimmick, just like john hall. that will help him.

where he will work best is in the suburban/exurban regions around NYC that still have a fond memory of his rangers. he will speak to the white male working-class and related demographics that too often swing R.

and he could get messier to speak on his behalf. i can hear it now: "for a while we canadians have wondered what the heck is going on this country. a vote for mike would be a great step in the right direction."

Have you been to CT 04?
I think the words "white working class" have never ever been used to describe it.
  My brother and his family live there and I think I saw one Ned Lamont sign there the whole cycle- and we drove all over Greenwich, Ned's hometown for pete's sake.
  I honestly think the reason CT 04 tends to go republican is because it is primarily populated by rich white people. Average normal looking houses that would be $200,000 anywhere else can go for a million.  Stratford, maybe, because Sikorsky aircraft is there, so there are a lot of skilled (union) laborers in that area, but on the whole, Fairfield county is where the millionaires live. Think of it as the upper east side of Connecticut. Fairfield county is not the land of working class hockey fans. The working class is not swinging the district right, the rich people worried about inheritance taxes are.

Connecticut District 4
Demographic Data (2000 Census)
Population: 681,113
Male: 48.2%
Female: 51.8%
Median Age: 37.2
18 Years and Over: 74.0%
65 Years and Over: 13.4%
Employed: 62.0%
Median Household Income: $66,598
Families Below Poverty Level: 5.4%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 42.2%
(of those over 25)

"They tried to make you civilized. They just don't seem to realize that what they touch, they bastardize."

[ Parent ]
I double-checked, and Stratford is in CT 03. But Bridgeport and Shelton probably do have a significant # of skilled laborers.

"They tried to make you civilized. They just don't seem to realize that what they touch, they bastardize."

[ Parent ]
probably a better way to define the NY Rangers demographic would be white, grew up in the area (not an import), can trace roots back to immigrants from Europe ca 1880-1910 or thereabouts.

IMHO these are the people most likely to be Rangers fans, or to have been Rangers fans in the early 1990s.

not the same as "working class," i'll agree. whether CT-04 matches this description i don't know.

sports fandom tends to be passed down through families, especially ice hockey.

too bad the NHL is a mess - it's a great game.

[ Parent ]
I just realised this guy is my parents' best friends' former hockey-player neighbor. So I guess I have heard of him. How's that for convoluted?

"They tried to make you civilized. They just don't seem to realize that what they touch, they bastardize."

[ Parent ]
repub free new england
With his help we can make New England our new solid region (not as big as the south, but oh well) purge it of Sununu and Collins in 08, then Gregg in 2010, then finally pray like crazy that Snowe retires in 2012 and we run Independent Angus King (uber-popular left leaning independent, like Bernie Sanders, except not a socialist.) 

Top ten signs you're an SSPer #1: your favorite song is "Panic At Tedisco" and no one understands what you mean.

I doubt King wants to run for the US Senate.
Mike Michaud.

[ Parent ]
Hey, man
I thought for sure you'd put in an appearance in our Lethal Primaries thread.

[ Parent ]
I know, but a guy can dream can't he?  better than Baldacci.  Baldacci!!!!!!!

Top ten signs you're an SSPer #1: your favorite song is "Panic At Tedisco" and no one understands what you mean.

NY 23
Hockey's huge up here in New York's North Country, and though it's GOP-dominated, Richter could give the complacent John McHugh a test. People thought Gillibrand had no chance, either.

I would think
More Sabres or Canadiens fans up there, no?

[ Parent ]
Doesn't matter
Up here, they respect the game, from the Habs to the Sabs to the 80 Miracle in Lake Placid to the Plattsburgh State Cardinals (No. 1 in women's Division III right now, and the men's team just qualified--again--for the NCAA tournament). And Richter is the embodiment of a lot that's classy about the game.

[ Parent ]
What about Richter taking on Staten Island?

there you go
SI is full of Rangers people

[ Parent ]
Ooh, yeah!
That'd be great-- getting rid of Vito Fossella, the only Republican congressman from New York City.  Solidify this town as the capitol of Blue America!

[ Parent ]
Richter after September 11
showed incredible judgment and courage.  He and other Rangers were interviewed after Bush's "with us or against us" speech, and Richter criticized it as cowboy talk. 

This may not have gotten covered widely, but it did in Canadian hockey circles; I'm pretty sure it was on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada that I heard about it (I'm in a hockey family).

Right then, I thought how untypical Richter was among American players, and that he must be not only bright but brave.  Of course, in hockey a lot is brushed aside in the case of goalies that would be held against other players.

But I'm happy to hear that he's politically inclined, and wish him the very best wherever he ends up running.

Richter stay home
Let's see...Richter grew up in Pennsylvania, went to high school in Lake Placid, lives in Guilford and wants to run in...Fairfield???  If the 4th really wants to beat Shays, then it should run someone who lives in the District and knows the District.

Richter's biggest qualifications for Congress are the Stanley Cup and that he just graduated college.  The guy hasn't spent a day in the real world.  The 4th is the wrong district for him.  Shays would score an easy hat trick against him.

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