by Craig Dimitri

Could control of the U.S. House be determined, by the third-party candidacy of a 31-year-old Harvard graduate, in the affluent Connecticut suburbs of New York City?  Probably not.  But none of us thought that the Presidency could turn on one candidate (George W. Bush) carrying one state (Florida) by less than one-hundredth of a single percentage point (not 1%, 0.1%, or 0.01%, but 0.009%).  So, stranger things have happened.  Read on to see how… 

Phil Maymin is the aforementioned long-shot candidate, running as a Libertarian in Connecticut’s hotly contested 4th CD, where veteran incumbent Chris Shays (R) is battling his 2004 opponent, Diane Farrell (D).  Maymin, of course, has no chance of winning.  Libertarians have no chance of winning in general, and certainly not in high-profile U.S. House races in affluent suburbs. 

However, Maymin’s candidacy may very well determine who does win the seat.  His importance has been increased since another long-shot candidate, the Green Party nominee, dropped out – an obvious boost for Farrell (as Al Gore could attest to, after having lost Florida by 537 votes, while Green nominee Ralph Nader received 80,000 votes in the state).  The vanishing of the Green nominee also leaves one less option for the eternally disaffected voter, who might have voted Green out of protest, and then switched to Maymin rather than voting for Farrell.  Thus, it’s not absolutely certain than Maymin’s vote would only hurt Shays. 

CT-4th CD polling has vacillated widely, with respected pollsters in sharp disagreement as to whether Shays or Farrell is ahead (please see my previous CT-4th CD story –  – for more on that divergence).

Although many independent polls have been taken in this district – it’s a genuine swing district and its proximity to New York City has increased its profile – none of them have included the Libertarian long shot in their surveys.  But perhaps they should have.  Objective, intelligent observers of the political environment in Connecticut, believe that Maymin may in fact be the X-factor in this district.  Take a look:

Gary Rose, chairman of the department of Government and Politics at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, interviewed in the Stamford Advocate on Sunday, October 29:

“He’s a player… He has an impact, especially in a race so tight. He may be able to steal enough support from the laissez-faire Republican vote to affect Shays.” 

The author of the article, Mark Ginocchio, went on to write:

“Independents may be a key vote for Farrell and Shays, but one candidate who also is targeting those voters, and who could be a spoiler for the incumbent, is Libertarian candidate Phil Maymin. Maymin, who petitioned his way onto the ballot in July, participated in more than half of the 11 congressional debates, surprising observers with his knowledge of the issues and personality.”

Control of the House of course, probably won’t pivot on a single seat, and if it did, the seat in question would probably not be the 4th CD in Connecticut.  But you never know.

Maymin official campaign site –

Shays official campaign site –

Farrell official campaign site – 

Zogby poll –

MajorityWatch poll –

Questions?  Comments?  Information?  You can contact Craig Dimitri at 

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