Blumenthal secures CT Dem endorsement for third term in Senate

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) speaks at a press conference on the Senate’s upcoming procedural vote to codify Roe v. Wade at the U.S. Capitol Building on May 05, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) speaks at a press conference on the Senate’s upcoming procedural vote to codify Roe v. Wade at the U.S. Capitol Building on May 05, 2022 in Washington, DC.

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HARTFORD — U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal was nominated to carry the Democratic Party’s banner for a third consecutive term Friday, setting him up for a battle likely to test Connecticut’s deep-blue hue in national campaigns.

Blumenthal, 76, faced no opposition for his party’s endorsement during the opening night of the state convention, which was largely a coronation of sorts for the two-term senator, former state attorney general and U.S. Attorney.

The party’s delegates endorsed Blumenthal by acclamation following his nomination by fellow U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy at the Xfinity Theatre.

In his speech to the convention, Blumenthal directly addressed the contrast between his uncontested path to the party's nomination and his looming reelection campaign, saying the crowd of several thousand who showed up to endorse him was a symbol of the stakes in the Senate election.

“Your presence sends a message that you care and that you are ready for a fight,” Blumenthal said. “We know that we have those fights ahead and that the soul of our Democracy is at stake.”

Armed with an $8.2 million war chest and an immense personal wealth, Blumenthal enters his reelection campaign as the substantial favorite in Connecticut, which has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate since 1982.

The Cook Political Report rates Blumenthal’s Senate seat as a “solid” hold for the Democratic Party.

The GOP, however, is hoping to capitalize on voter frustration with inflation and rising oil prices, as well as the typical swing toward the opposition party during midterm election years. Several Republicans, most notably former House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and party Committeewoman Leora Levy, are vying to take on Blumenthal at the party’s convention this weekend at Foxwoods Casino.

Even with the endorsement of the Republican Party delegates, it is likely that at least one of the candidates will receive enough support to force a primary election in August to determine who faces Blumenthal.

“No matter who my opponent is, I always run like I’m 10 points behind,” Blumenthal said prior to his formal nomination. “In my own mind, I’m always the underdog.”

While in the Senate, Blumenthal has been noted as a fierce critic of former President Donald Trump — he sued the former president in 2017, and later voted to convict Trump during both of his impeachment trials — as well a leader on military affairs and consumer protection issues. He serves on committees overseeing the Judiciary, Veterans Affairs, Commerce and the Armed Services.

In addition to his record and touting local projects funded through the bi-partisan infrastructure bill, Blumenthal indicated Friday he would frame his reelection effort around Trump’s looming presence over the Republican Party, calling it a “key moment for democracy.”

A recently leaked draft Supreme Court opinion to overturn the half-century-old precedent in Roe v. Wade also opened a fresh line of attack for Blumenthal, who noted his support for legislation to enshrine abortion rights into federal law.

“There’s a fundamental question about whether we’re going to have Mitch McConnell and his band of Trump Republicans take over the Senate,” Blumenthal said. “It is a break-the-glass moment for Democracy, not just in reproductive rights but our liberties and values in general. We can't afford to go back to that time when Republicans held the Senate, which is one of the great dangers.”

During his first Senate race in 2010, Blumenthal defeated Republican businesswoman Linda McMahon by 12 percentage points. He then won reelection in a 28-point landslide during the presidential election year in 2016.

After securing Blumenthal’s endorsement, the state convention adjourned until Saturday when the delegates will vote on their endorsements for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and other statewide offices.