HARTFORD, Conn. — Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Tuesday won a third term in office, fending off a challenge from first-time candidate Leora Levy, a Republican who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Blumenthal, the state’s former attorney general, focused much of his campaign on being a backstop for abortion rights in Connecticut and Democratic policies in Washington. Blumenthal vowed to fight any effort in Congress to impose a national abortion ban that would override Connecticut’s current law. Abortion is legal in Connecticut with restrictions.
He also warned democracy would be at risk if the GOP gained control of the U.S. Senate.
“We are in a break-the-glass moment in this democracy,” Blumenthal said after accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination in August. “And we need to stand up to the Trump Republicans, to special interests, to anyone who would put us back in time on workers’ rights, women’s rights, civil rights and liberties. It is the fight of our lifetime.”
In the Republican primary, Levy defeated the party’s endorsed candidate, former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, a social moderate. Levy received a late endorsement in that race from former President Donald Trump, who also held a fundraiser for Levy at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
Levy had hoped to become the first Republican U.S. senator from Connecticut since Lowell P. Weicker Jr., who served from 1971 to 1989.
Levy tried to make the race more about President Joe Biden than Trump, working to capitalize on voters’ concerns about inflation and financial struggles.
She also took a socially conservative tack that hadn’t been seen much in Connecticut statewide elections, opposing abortion rights except in certain situations and taking a stand against various gun control measures. Levy has also made parents’ rights a major campaign issue, calling for the end of “indoctrination and discrimination” in Connecticut schools after a Greenwich assistant principal was apparently secretly recorded saying he’d prefer not to hire politically conservative staff, including Roman Catholics.
Some moderate Republicans predicted that Blumenthal, 76, would sail to victory after Levy won her party’s primary in August. Party leaders had originally hoped Klarides, who supports abortion rights, would be a strong contender, especially after Blumenthal registered his lowest job approval rating since taking office in 2011 in a Quinnipiac poll conducted in May.
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