Sunday, August 07, 2016

Race of the Day- Connecticut U.S. Senate

92 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Blue State (East)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

Large Republican gains in non-Presidential races across the country over the past decade have not extended to the Nutmeg State. Connecticut is heavily Democrat, and has continued to trend that way.  Even an unpopular Governor was reelected in 2014, amid a national GOP wave. With that in mind, the Senate race there this year will mostly be an afterthought.

Six years ago though, the office was open, and some Republicans felt they had a chance to flip a seat. Democrat Richard Blumenthal, had been a top vote-getter in the state as Attorney General, but he earned some bad headlines as a Senate candidate, after he was discovered to have for years, been misrepresenting his military service during the Vietnam years. A moderate former Republican Congressman, who might have been competitive, lost out of the nomination to Linda McMahon, the very wealthy and free-spending executive of her family's famed pro-wrestling company. Despite promises of an upset, McMahon would go on to lose the first of two consecutive races for Senate as the GOP nominee.

She took a pass on this 2016 race, as Republicans were mostly conceding a reelection to Blumenthal, who had put the resume issue behind him. Economist Larry Kudlow, upset at Blumenthal's vote authorizing the Iran Deal, threatened a run, but stayed out. The candidate who was being seen as most likely to be nominated was August Wolf, an investment executive and former Olympian in the Shot Put. Wolf's campaign never recovered though from the allegations of a former campaign staffer, that she had been sexually harassed by the candidate. Wolf strongly denied the allegations, but his campaign looked to be in disarray.

Connecticut has a system where candidates can either be gain ballot access through a state party convention or by petitioning to get on the primary ballot. With Wolf's campaign not gaining much traction, even before the allegations, party delegates easily gave their nod to State Representative Dan Carter. Another businessman, who had been the party's 2004 U.S. Senate nominee, dropped out at that point and endorsed Carter. Wolf tried, and failed to gather enough signatures to make it onto the primary ballot, so the upcoming contest, this Tuesday, is long since decided.

Dan Carter is a military veteran and represents Newtown, the site if a tragic school shooting. In the state legislature, Carter has backed some gun control measures, but to those to whom that is the most important issue, it would be tough to compete with the rhetoric of Blumenthal and his fellow Democrats in Connecticut.

If Carter runs a respectable race, he might become someone who improves his political opportunities down the line, but this year, in a state as solidly blue as Connecticut, he is not really in contention.

Carter campaign link:

Senate races predicted thus far: 3 D (2 Safe, 1 Likely), 4 R (2 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Leans)
Overall predicted thus far: 39 D, 34 R


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