CTNewsJunkie file photo
CBIA President and CEO Joe Brennan (CTNewsJunkie file photo)

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association endorsed 102 General Assembly candidates Tuesday, a majority of them Republicans, for the Nov. 8 election.

In the Senate, the business organization endorsed 18 Republican candidates and four Democrats. In the House, it’s backing 61 Republicans and 19 Democrats. Overall, it made endorsements in 22 of the 36 Senate races and 80 of the 151 House races.

But not all of its 102 endorsements come with campaign cash.

The organization has said it intends to spend $400,000 on just 15 races, four in the Senate and 11 in the House.

CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan has said their decision to target specific races was not based on ideology, but rather on voting records. He also said they weren’t specifically looking to flip control of the Democratic majority in the Senate to Republicans.

Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, called Brennan out for the comment recently and told reporters “don’t spit in my face and call it rain.” He said CBIA is definitely trying to change the party controlling the Senate. If the four Republicans they are supporting win, Republicans would control the chamber 19-17. Democrats currently control the chamber 21-15.

The group is financially supporting four Republican challengers in what could be considered swing districts:

• George Logan over Sen. Joe Crisco, D-Woodbridge;
• John French over Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Killingly;
• Republican Heather Somers of Groton over former Democratic state Rep. Tim Bowles, and;
• Len Suzio over Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, D-Meriden.

In the House, Republicans need to pick up 12 seats in order to gain a slim 76-75 majority. But the business lobby is financially supporting only 11 races in that chamber, including the races of Reps. John Hampton, D-Simsbury, and Jonathan Steinberg, D-Westport. Hampton and Steinberg are two members of the moderate caucus and are fiscally conservative.

On the Republican side, CBIA is supporting incumbent Reps. Aundré Bumgardner, R-New London, Charles Ferraro, R-West Haven, and Kathleen McCarty, R-Waterford.

The group is also supporting Republican challengers in six House districts:

• Republican Scott Storms over Tim Curtis, past chairman of the Windsor Democratic Town Committee, in a district that includes both Windsor and Windsor Locks;
• Brian Ohler, a Republican from North Canaan over William Riiska, a Democrat from Salisbury;
• Griswold First Selectman Kevin Skulczyk over Democrat Tracey Hanson, a member of the Voluntown Board of Selectmen;
• Torrington Board of Finance member Christopher Diorio over Rep. Michelle Cook, D-Torrington;
• Nicole Klarides-Ditria, the sister of House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, over Rep. Theresa Conroy, D-Derby, and;
• Andrew Falvey, a former Cheshire Town Council member over Democratic candidate, Liz Linehan, for a vacant seat.

“The most immediate challenge we face is fiscal stability, as it is key to restoring business confidence in the state, which will lead to much-needed job-creating investments,” Brennan said Tuesday. “We believe the candidates we’ve endorsed have the ability to foster a business climate where companies want to invest and create jobs to help our economy grow.”

Click here for a full list of their endorsements.