Class Notes

Leading the Red Charge in a Blue State

Leading the Red Charge in a Blue State
Class Notes - Leading the Red Charge in a Blue State - Summer 2007

Last year was tough, to be sure, but not too tough for Connecticut Republican Party Chair Chris Healy ’80, whose state was no exception to a startling mid-term election that shifted Congressional power across the aisle after many years of Republican control. “We’re putting the pieces back together,” he said. Today, Healy spends most of his time “dialing for money” and taking on the Democrats in the Connecticut media, often discussing the values of a lower profile government. “It’s a winning message,” said Healy, and one he hopes will lead his party to victory in 2008. 

The 2006 election was a “bad report card for our party,” Healy confides, citing voters’ frustration with the pace of the Iraq war and what he says was a lack of judgment by Congressional leaders who weren’t minding the store. “The Democrats were energized. It was a wake up call.”

But Healy, who enjoys being the underdog, isn’t rattled by one election. Next year, He expects the most media savvy party will prevail. “The Democrats know that the communications paradigm has exploded,” he said. The challenge is to grab voters’ attention. “People have so many distractions now. How do you get past Britney Spears’s hair growing back?” The Internet offers endless mediums for candidates to deliver messages, particularly to younger voters, and victory will go to those who master them. But it won’t be easy. “We in politics are still writing on the backs of envelopes,” Healy said. “We’re trying to run a hybrid car on leaded gas.”

Healy’s confident the Republicans can surf whatever wave the Internet crashes against his party’s shore, and the voters will heed the elephant’s call—government is getting in the way of people’s success. For instance, he said, more businesses would be growing if they didn’t have to go through all the legislative rigmarole pushed by the Democrats. 

“Let the Republicans get government back to what it’s supposed to be about,” he said. Sure, the government must take care of those who can’t take care of themselves, but “let the rest of the nation thrive!”

Published August 2007