With the state political conventions in the rearview mirror, insiders in Connecticut’s Democratic and Republican parties have settled on the likely candidates to face off in November for the state’s five congressional seats.
During conventions last weekend, state Democrats, who have held all five congressional seats since 2008, nominated five incumbent representatives to seek re-election. Republicans, meanwhile, are looking to take advantage of voter discontent ahead of the midterm election to gain ground in the historically blue state.
Democrats are looking to reelect U.S. Rep. John Larson to the Hartford area district he has represented since 1999. Republicans have tapped Larry Lazor, a doctor from West Hartford, to run for the seat. This year, Larson is also facing a challenge from the left, in Muad Hrezi, a former staffer of U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy’s office. Hrezi is collecting signatures in order to qualify for a primary election.
Democrat U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney is seeking a ninth term representing the 2nd District which makes up most of the eastern half of Connecticut. This year, Republicans have nominated state Rep. Mike France to challenge Courtney.
Currently the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro is running for what would be her 17th term representing the New Haven area. Republicans have nominated former Sacred Heart University professor Lesley DeNardis to run for the seat. DeNardis’s father, Lawrence DeNardis, represented the district for a term in the 1980s.
Democrat U.S. Rep. Jim Himes is seeking reelection to the Fairfield County district he has represented since 2009. Former Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson received the Republican nomination to run for the seat. However, Michael Goldstein isn’t giving up on his bid and is seeking to collect the more than 2,000 signatures he needs to get on the ballot for the Aug. 9 primary.
Two-term Democrat Rep. Jahana Hayes is running for reelection representing central and northwestern Connecticut. She will face former state Sen. George Logan, who won the Republican nomination.
On Friday, state Republican Party Chair Ben Proto said voters feeling the impact of inflation would likely look for a change when they head to the polls in November, providing Republicans a chance to make gains in Connecticut.
“First, last and foremost will be the economy and inflation. The overwhelming increases in gasoline, home heating oil, groceries, food staples, just everyday cost of living items that folks are dealing with is always going to be the issue,” Proto said. “We know where prices were just a year ago let alone before Joe Biden became president.”
State Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo said that economic conditions could change between now and November and she expected that likely Supreme Court action overturning Roe vs Wade would energize more voters.
“Not just progressive voters, there are moderates and conservatives who are also angry about the fact that Roe vs Wade may be overturned and we have Connecticut Republicans who are staying quiet or making up lame reasons why it’s okay,” DiNardo said. “It’s going to be a major part of the campaign.”
Proto said he did not expect the issue to sway many residents. Voters who are predominantly concerned with the issue are likely already in one camp or the other, he said.
“If you’ve been an ardently pro-choice voter and that’s the only issue you care about and the only issue you vote on, you are never voting for the Republicans. If you’re an ardenly pro-life voter and that’s the only issue you care about, the only issue you vote on, you’re never voting for the Democrats,” Proto said. “The rest of the world lives in the middle.”