On the Trail: In the Streets and Onstage, Candidates Debate Qualifications and Life in Connecticut

Republican primary candidates for U.S. Senate (L to R) Peter Lumaj, Themis Klarides and Leora Levy. (Anthony Quinn/WTNH)


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A televised debate between three Republican primary candidates for U.S. Senate vying to run against incumbent Democrat Richard Blumenthal drew the most attention, while nominees for governor Bob Stefanowski and Ned Lamont offered differing views on the safety and affordability of life in Connecticut.

While for some in the race for State Treasurer, discussion about reproductive rights continued to overshadow their ideas on state finances.  

“They should support me because I am a principled, common-sense, conservative Republican. I am not a career politician. I am a career American.”

— Debate response by Leora Levy to a question posed to all three candidates about why unaffiliated voters should support them.

“I’m not afraid to be a Republican. I’m a conservative. I’m the only one who’s an unwavering conservative. Never changed my positions.”

— Candidate Peter Lumaj’s reply. 

“I have won eleven elections in this state in a Democratic-leaning district. And that’s important because Connecticut is a Democratic-leaning state. And I know I am a strong, common-sense Connecticut Republican.”

— Response by party-endorsed candidate Themis Klarides. 

“Last night’s CT GOP debate for US Senate was a train wreck. Any one of them would immediately put Mitch McConnell in charge. That means a national ban on abortion, corporate handouts, and cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other programs Americans need now more than ever.”

— Connecticut Democratic Party’s social media post on the debate.

“New London is a great town. It’s got all the elements to be a thriving city. People there are concerned about affordability and public safety, but it doesn’t need to be that way. We can combat crime and foster an environment for cities across CT to grow by giving our officers the resources they need and enforcing the laws on the books.”

— Republican candidate for Governor Bob Stefanowski’s social media post after a visit to New London. 

“Connecticut is the most family-friendly state in the country with incredible schools, safe neighborhoods, a $250 per child tax rebate, and generous paid family leave. It’s great to see people recognizing all we offer and choosing Connecticut to raise their families.”

— Social media post from Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont.

Democratic party-endorsed candidate for State Treasurer Erick Russell. 

“The right to make and access reproductive healthcare choices for oneself should not be determined by where you live or, for that matter, the company you work for.”

— Statement by Erick Russell, the party-endorsed Democratic candidate for State Treasurer, on his plan to create a fund to offer financial assistance to those who travel to Connecticut for abortion services.

As your next State Treasurer, I will use the office to urge corporations to act responsibly. And right now, acting responsibly requires companies to support a woman’s right to have an abortion.” 

— Social media post by Democrat Dita Bhargava, running against Russell in the primary. 

“As Treasurer, I’d focus on financial literacy – this means building financial skills for residents and incentivizing savings – and give families access to all the information they need.”

— Democratic primary candidate Karen DuBois Walton’s social media post. 

“Recently I had the opportunity to visit with small business owners of Albany Ave in Hartford. CT should be fostering pro-business policies to help these businesses and as your next State Treasurer that is what I plan to do.”

— Republican party-endorsed candidate for Treasurer Harry Arora’s social media post.

Steve Jensen

Steve Jensen was a journalist for 13 years with the Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer of Manchester before becoming a Communications Director for the State of Connecticut. Jensen covers politics and law enforcement for CT Examiner. T: 860 661-6404