Klarides Gets GOP Endorsement for Senator from Connecticut; Primary Still Likely

Themis Klarides received the endorsement of the Connecticut Republican Party last week for nomination to unseat Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, but fellow Republicans Leora Levy and Peter Lumaj got sufficient backing at the nominating convention to pursue primary campaigns.

Both Levy, a businesswoman, and Lumaj, a former secretary of state hopeful and former gubernatorial candidate, are running to the right of Klarides, a former minority leader of the state House of Representatives who has voted for gun-control legislation and favors abortion rights. Levy and Lumaj oppose both. Insofar as this year’s election will be decided amidst the expected overturning of the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion, Klarides could find her position on abortion a liability in the primary, though possibly an asset in a blue-state general election. 

During Connecticut’s GOP Convention, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel voiced her support for Levy in an email, calling the candidate “a trusted friend, respected public servant, and great American.” 

Levy and Lumaj have aligned themselves more closely with former President Donald Trump than has Klarides, who reportedly said she wrote in former House Leader Larry Cafero for president in 2020. She was, however, a Trump delegate during the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Upon being nominated, the former House minority leader struck an optimistic tone for her campaign and urged party unity despite disagreements on some issues.

“Thank you to the delegates and Republican Party leaders for putting your faith in this campaign and nominating me as the party endorsed candidate for US Senate,” she tweeted over the weekend. “We have the best opportunity in a generation to send a Connecticut Republican to the US Senate and I am honored to take on this challenge. Together, we can retire Richard Blumenthal and send a real fighter to Washington.”

Republicans’ state committee also nominated business executive Bob Stefanowski for governor, State Representative Laura Devlin (R-Fairfield) for lieutenant governor, trial lawyer Jessica Kordas for state attorney general, State Rep. Harry Arora (R-Greenwich) for state treasurer, salesman Dominic Rapini for Connecticut secretary of state, and financial services executive Mary Fay for comptroller. 

Blumenthal secured the Democrats’ nomination for re-election at his party’s convention last week as well. Gov. Ned Lamont (D), Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, and Attorney General William Tong were also nominated to run for re-election. Democrats further nominated State Rep. Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford) for comptroller, attorney Erick Russell for treasurer and State Rep. Stephanie Thomas (D-Norwalk) for secretary of state. 

Connecticut’s primary will be held on August 9. 

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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Connecticut Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Themis Klarides” by Themis Klarides. Background Photo “Connecticut State Capitol” by jglazer75. CC BY 2.0.

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