HAMDEN, CT — Two days after the Democratic Party’s overwhelming endorsement of U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy for a second term, Dominic Rapini announced his decision to primary the Republican Party’s endorsed candidate.
The national accounts manager for computer giant Apple, Rapini used Facebook Live to announce his intention to challenge Matthew Corey, the Harford pub owner, who took more than 53 percent of the delegates two weeks ago at the Republican Party’s convention. Corey raised less than $16,000 and spent about $4,800 of it before the convention.
Joe Visconti, who received less than 40 votes at the convention, also announced in a video message to his supporters that he would seek to petition his way onto the Republican primary ballot.
Rapini, who raised more than $116,000 for his campaign and had about $47,000 in cash on hand at the end of April, is the best funded of the Republican candidates running for Congress. According to the Federal Elections Commission, Rapini’s campaign also reported it has about $34,953 in debt.
Rapini, a star athlete at Hamden High School, used DiMatteos Pizza as the backdrop for his Facebook Live Monday.
Rapini touched on immigration policy, taxes, and school violence during his announcement.
He focused his remarks not on his Republican opponents, but on Murphy.
He blamed Murphy for not focusing on mental health issues when it comes to the school shootings.
“What he failed to do is understand we have a mental health problem,” Rapini said.
Rapini failed to mention that in 2016 Murphy was the co-author of the Mental Health Reform Act, which includes $1 billion in emergency funding to address the opioid and heroin crisis, and increased investments in cancer treatment and medical research. It also seeks to increase mental health parity so individuals can receive treatment that’s covered by insurance.
“He distracts us from the actual problem and takes us down a path, which takes us further from a solution, instead of solving the problem and saving lives,” Rapini said.
Rapini said Murphy has made Connecticut “less safe” by targeting the National Rifle Association and the proliferation of guns.
“Chris Murphy is complicit in not solving the problem of school violence,” Rapini alleged over the clattering of dishes in the busy restaurant.
In the same breath, Rapini said he’s not a partisan. He said he will work to bring jobs to Connecticut and solve its problems.
He also accused Murphy of not doing enough to stop the State and Local Tax cap that was part of Republican tax reform plan from going through, even though it was the Republican Party and Republican President Donald Trump backing the legislation that was signed into law last December.
“It’s hunting season for Chris Murphy and we’re coming after him,” Rapini said.
Murphy has raised more than $12 million for his re-election campaign and had about $7.7 million cash on hand at the end of April.