The Republican contest to pick a candidate for the fall U.S. Senate race picked up some momentum last week, with the first debate in which five GOP contenders faced off.
A lot of the debate was predictable.
Linda McMahon is back with many of the same old talking points, the ones that didn't help her win in 2010.
She has a mostly all-new team of advisers and she's been recast a bit to appeal more to women. This time, too, she has been programmed for the campaign trail with a jobs plan, which she mentions every chance she gets.
The narrative is still the same: She grew up poor, and she and her husband struggled to make ends meet, even filing for bankruptcy before they got very rich in the television wrestling business. She is an entrepreneur and jobs creator, she says.
Gripes about wrestler steroids and women in skinny bikinis on McMahon programming simmered a bit in last week's debate, but they haven't started to boil over yet, like they did in 2010.
Christopher Shays, the other big GOP name in the race, practically wears a big E for electability on his chest.
Shays, a former U.S. representative, mentions polls showing him to be much more electable than McMahon against a Democrat almost as often as McMahon mentions her new jobs plan.
Shays, saying during the debate that he was once the only Republican from New England in Congress, casts himself as the moderate who can pass muster in a Connecticut Senate race.
Shays stumbled a bit at one point, trying to sort out and recount his dozens of years in the state Capitol and in Washington, kind of playing into McMahon's jibe that he is a well-worn political insider.
But clearly Shays is selling himself as someone ready to hit the ground running and work the system in Washington to the benefit of Connecticut voters.
Some of the most interesting stuff in last week's debate came not from the headliners but from the three nobodies running against Shays and McMahon.
One of these, Brian K. Hill, a retired U.S. soldier and Hartford attorney, struck me in the debate as an especially intriguing candidate.
Hill, who is black, says Connecticut Republicans need to stop nominating wealthy residents of Fairfield County for office and concentrate on candidates who can do well in the big cities.
He has a point.
Hill is articulate and thoughtful and tosses out plenty of red meat to Republican hard liners, promising to cut waste from a government in Washington that he says is way too big.
While the other candidates last week, when asked about immigration, talked about prohibiting amnesty and building bigger fences, Hill veered toward accommodation, saying illegal immigrants need to be held accountable and pay taxes.
Hill, who admits to voting for Obama in 2008, certainly appears to be the least Republican in the current GOP pack. Maybe that could make him more electable in a moderate state like Connecticut.
He ran in the 2010 Senate race as a write-in candidate.
Connecticut Republicans in 2010 went into a swoon over McMahon's pledge to spend so much of her own money on the campaign. That might happen again, although you would think the party would realize how hopeless a McMahon candidacy would be this year, when Obama and national Democrats already have cast this as the election in which the future of the middle class will be determined.
And Connecticut Republicans again would put up a very rich candidate who won't promise to not slash Social Security or Medicare?
The Day has a popular new comic in which a character named Nobody does all kinds of ordinary things, which seem kind of special, even extraordinary, because Nobody is doing them.
I know Brian Hill is a crazy long shot. Republicans will very likely settle either on the tried and true or the checkbook candidate.
But wouldn't it be nice to see a Nobody like Hill as a contender in November?
This is the opinion of David Collins.