Former nutroots hero now a -- gasp -- centrist Democrat

The 2010 version of Ned Lamont offers yet another striking sign of how a rough national landscape for Democrats is influencing politics at the local level.

By repositioning himself as a business-friendly centrist, Mr. Lamont is betting that liberals will give him a pass, if begrudgingly, because Democrats are desperate to capture the State Capitol for the first time since 1986…

“I think there’s some disappointment among liberals — you don’t feel the energy for Lamont the way you certainly felt it in 2006,” said Kenneth Dautrich, a public policy professor at the University of Connecticut. “His stay-to-the-middle positions have been: let’s make smart investments in education, let’s help small business. Many of those are moderate-to-conservative types of positions.”