Former TV news anchor and newly declared Republican Janet Peckinpaugh said she wants voters to send her to Washington, where she will use her skills as a journalist—communicating and researching issues—to serve as a member of Congress and report back to her constituents.
“I want to send someone to Washington who is like a journalist,“ Peckinpaugh said Tuesday when she stopped by the state Capitol press room. Someone “who can go to Washington and who can listen to what the people want.
“We send people to Washington to do a job and rarely do they do it,” Peckinpaugh said.
Peckinpaugh is the third Republican candidate to announce a challenge to second-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, the Democrat who narrowly defeated Rob Simmons almost four years ago. Matthew Daly of Glastonbury and Daria Novak of Madison also are vying for the Republican nomination.
“What I want is a smaller government,” Peckinpaugh said. “I also want transparency.”
“I want to go to Washington and find out what’s going on,” Peckinpaugh said. “I don’t like what’s happening. Our government is too big, and getting too powerful, and we’re losing our freedoms and I don’t like that.”
Peckinpaugh, who was an unaffiliated voter for many years, said she switched her party affiliation to Republican after a 30-year career in the media because “my values are Republican values.” However, she also said she aligns herself more with the middle of the party than the extreme right of the party.
Even though Hartford isn’t part of the Second Congressional District, Peckinpaugh stopped by the Capitol for a brief news conference Tuesday with a press corps that has shrunk considerably since she last practiced journalism.
Accompanied by Edward Munster, who ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 1992, 1994, and 1996, Peckinpaugh said she knows she is getting into the race a little late. But she said she has name recognition.
“We started calling delegates about a week ago and many still didn’t feel any strong affiliation to any of the other candidates,” Munster said.
Munster, who lost in close elections to Sam Gejdenson, said he expects Peckinpaugh to get the party’s endorsement during the second round of voting at the May 21 convention. There will be an initial round of voting in every contested race at the convention. After the initial round, delegates will have five minutes to change their votes. During that second round of voting is when Munster believes she’ll clench the endorsement.
The Second Congressional District covers a wide portion of eastern Connecticut and had been a Democratic stronghold for many years. But now 47 percent of its voters are unaffiliated.
Courtney, who has held the seat for four years, beat Simmons in 2006 by just 83 votes, earning him the nickname, “Landslide Joe.”
In response to Peckinpaugh’s announcement Tuesday, Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo fired a shot across Peckinpaugh’s bow by criticizing one of her past working relationships.
“If Janet Peckinpaugh is serious about seeking this office, she should be upfront with voters and reveal to the taxpayers of Connecticut how much she received from Lend America for auctioning off her journalistic credibility to appear in their fraudulent infomercials,” DiNardo said in an emailed statement.
Peckinpaugh responded by clarifying the situation surrounding the infomercial.
“At the time of the project, there were no allegations concerning Lend America’s conduct or the product they were selling. In December, 2009, when the Federal Housing Administration withdrew Lend America’s ability to issue the government backed home loans, I was angry and saddened to learn that many Lend America customers had been defrauded,” Peckinpaugh said.
“One of my goals as a Congressman will be to protect consumers from such lenders so this type of fraud doesn’t happen to anyone,” she added.