Gov. Ned Lamont and Republican Party Chairman Ben Proto. Credit: Christine Stuart photo

Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont and the endorsed slate of constitutional candidates spent Wednesday morning telling the media that former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Republican Senate candidate Leora Levy, is on the ballot. By the afternoon, Connecticut’s Republican Party Chairman Ben Proto, was telling the media that it’s President Joe Biden that’s on the ballot.

“How is Joe Biden going to affect the ticket in November?” Proto said when asked about the impact the former president would have on the race.

“He’s the sitting president. He’s the one who is making horrible decisions. He’s the one who has driven us to a 9 plus percent inflation rate,” Proto said. 

Levy received a last-minute endorsement from Trump in a three-way race for the Republican nomination. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski, who didn’t face a primary challenge Tuesday, has also given money to Levy, which has given the Democratic Party the ability to tie the two candidates to Trump. 

“Joe Biden is the one who is going to be involved in voters thoughts,” Proto said during a half-hour conference call with reporters. 

He said voters are smarter than the media gives them credit for and will be voting based on their current economic condition and decide whether they are better off with a Democratic majority in the General Assembly and Congress. 

Republicans have not held a U.S. Senate seat since 1982 and haven’t held the governor’s office since 2006. 

“Whether or not Donald Trump had an impact on the primary has nothing to do with the outcome of a general election November,” Proto said. “That’s going to be decided by what’s going on in the country today and the state today.”

Gary Rose, a political science professor at Sacred Heart University predicted Levy’s victory would help Democrats re-elect Blumenthal with ease in November.

“It would be a pretty significant landline [for Democrats] if she wins the nomination,” Rose said of Levy. “This is a blue state and it’s a very moderate state. This is not Trump country and it’s not really even Trump country within the Republican party, I don’t believe. Of course we’ll know that for sure after today.”

Earlier in the day, Lamont said, “This is a new Republican party, I think they’re leaving a lot of the moderates, leaving a lot of the independents, leaving a lot of the folks who believe in core Connecticut values by the wayside and we’re not going to let that happen.”

Asked whether he would seek an endorsement from Biden, Lamont said he supported the president but stopped short of indicating he would actively pursue an endorsement.

“If it’s a choice between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, I’m going to be with Joe Biden every day,” Lamont said.

It’s the more than 900,000 unaffiliated voters who decide Connecticut’s election and Proto said they’re concerned about inflation, concerned about family and kids as much as Republicans.

He said it’s not going to be about the former president who hasn’t been president for two years. 

He said it’s a “distraction” from the real issues.

He said Biden, Blumenthal and Lamont do not want to talk about those issues “because they know they’re wrong on them.”

“That’s all they’re trying to do with Trump is distract voters from the real issues that are impacting voters day-in and day-out,” Proto said.