The Wild History of CT's 5th Congressional District
Former lawmakers and candidates from the 5th reflect on the district's history.
Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District is kind of funny looking.
It’s been that way since 2002, when the state lost a seat in congress and had to jam together two “normal looking” districts. This made for an epic battle for control of the seat...but it also made for one of the strangest and most entertaining political arenas in our state.
The old 5th was a simple diagonal line - stretching from Waterbury to Danbury.
The old 6th - its unhappy partner in a marriage arranged by the census - was a sprawling landscape of mostly rolling hills and suburbs.
So, what did we end up with after the “merger?”
A district that contains mid-sized, formerly industrial cities that often elect Republicans....several small towns occupied by everyone from working farmers to weekending New Yorkers...wealthy suburbs of both Hartford AND New Haven...and a good old fashioned independent streak. In fact, unaffiliated voters make up the largest block of voters in the district by far.
Democrat Chris Murphy has held the seat for the last six years...but it’s changed party affiliation 13 times since Lancelot Phelps first took the oath in 1837.
Today, Colin McEnroe - who once partied with Lancelot Phelps - joins me for a historical look at the district that is giving us - by far - the most entertainment value this election season. There will be plenty of time to talk about the issue on the table in next Tuesday’s primary...but today we’ll talk to two former holders of the 5th district seat...to one candiate who NEARLY took the job...and we’ll try to track down one former 5th district congressman who has simply gone missing.
What are your stories from the 5th? Do you live in Waterbury, Danbury, Southbury or Woodbury? Are you having a hard time figuring out what Meriden and Sharon have in common?