MASHANTUCET, Conn ( Associated Press) — Connecticut Republicans were gathering Saturday to endorse a candidate to challenge two-time U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal in November, but it was unclear whether the GOP would have to go through the primary battle first. may or may not.
About 50 miles away, Connecticut Democrats were expected to support incumbent Gov. Ned Lamont for a second term in office.
Former Madison House Minority Leader Themis Clarides, who is endorsed by top state Republicans, was expected to receive the majority of Representative support. But she faced competition from four other GOP contenders—including Liora Levy, a conservative from Greenwich and the state’s Republican National Committeewoman. Levi’s has raised more than $1 million and has made it clear that she is not holding back from the race.
Candidates need 15% representative support to force a primary.
“I have invested 100% in it. I put a lot of my money into a lot more than my rival,” Levy said. “I’m in this for the end. No matter what, I’ll let the Republican voters of the state of Connecticut decide who will be their candidate against Dick Blumenthal. We must put up someone who is actually a Republican.”
It appears Peter Lumaj, a conservative and Fairfield attorney who has previously run for office statewide, may secure enough votes to even run in Connecticut’s Aug. 9 primary.
Klarides has said she can win over general election voters in a Democratic-leaning state with her moderate stance on social issues, such as support for abortion and gay rights, with her conservative views on fiscal issues.
“I’ve talked to a lot of unaffiliated and a lot of Democrats who are really disillusioned with Sen. Blumenthal; disillusioned that he follows the party line and is partisan in everything he does, ”she said in a recent interview.
Meanwhile, Lamont and his running mate, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bisiewicz, are bracing for Connecticut’s financial return after years of budget deficits.
“I think a lot of people appreciate that the state is turning a corner. I think a lot of people know that we are going from crisis to crisis and at least the ship is going to be stable. We have been,” Lamont said after the most recent legislative session. “I think there is a sense that we are starting to make progress. So our job is to make sure we continue to make that progress.”
His opponent is Madison businessman and 2018 GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski, who received GOP support Friday night. Stefanowski calls Connecticut “the definition of a failed state,” riddled with debt, high taxes, and “heavy regulation.”
Democrats are also expected to endorse candidates for attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and comptroller on Saturday, while Republicans are set to pick candidates for comptroller and secretary of state.