Twenty minutes after a noisy crowd at the Blumenthal Headquarters quieted to listen to Linda McMahon’s concession speech, Richard Blumenthal’s campaign manager introduced the former Attorney General to the crowd as “Connecticut’s first new Senator in a generation.”
“Connecticut today had an election, not an auction,” Blumenthal told the crowd as he took the stage.
“People tell me that Washington isn’t listening,” he said. “Well I am listening and I will make Washington listen to Connecticut.”
Blumenthal said he had extended his hand to his former opponent and welcomed her help moving forward. His mention of McMahon elicited a few boos from the crowd, which had been chanting “Blumenthal” since hearing her concession.
During his seven minute speech, Blumenthal told the crowd that he planned to reduce obstacles for small businesses and to foster green technology and jobs. He said he would work to reduce the national debt but “not on the backs of senior citizens and middle class families.”
Blumenthal’s speech confirmed what supporters at his headquarters had been talking about since they began showing up around 7 p.m. — the race was trending in their candidate’s favor.
And as 10 p.m. arrived at the Hartford Hilton, the grand ballroom began to fill with excited supporters encouraged by the news that the major networks had called the U.S. Senate race for Blumenthal.
Grace and Jim Williams of West Hartford were among the happy supporters. Mrs. Williams, who had worked on Blumenthal’s campaign, said, “I’m thrilled really. If he approaches his new position like he did as Attorney General it will be wonderful for the state.”
While Mrs. Williams said she was a lifelong Democrat, her husband described himself as a staunch independent who nonetheless supported Blumenthal.
“Dick will be a good spokesperson for Connecticut in the Senate,” Mr. Williams said.
Mrs. Williams said she was relieved that McMahon was defeated.
“I could never support someone in the business she was in. It was derogatory toward women, the WWE. Very upsetting. It just set women back,” she said. Like many people, both the Williams expressed frustration at the relentless stream of negative ads this election season.
“How can people get the truth in this country with all this dirt-throwing?” Mr. Williams asked.
John Oczkowski of the East Hartford Fire Department also was at the headquarters and said today was a great day for Connecticut. He was there with other members of his union, the International Association of Firefighters, to support Blumenthal.
Kirby Boyce of the Local 1746 Machinists Union had similar feelings about the Democratic victory.
“I think this is means something big for Connecticut.” Boyce said, adding that Blumenthal was supportive of the unions during the closure of the Pratt & Whitney plant in Cheshire.
“Dick was by our side the entire time. Hopefully he will be able to continue what Senator Dodd has done for the state — that is look out for our working families,” he said.