Democratic Congressional candidates and candidates for statewide office gathered Saturday for what they dubbed a “Unity Rally,” following Tuesday’s primary, but only one defeated candidate – Maritza Bond showed up.
Bond was defeated by Rep. Stephanie Thomas, D-Norwalk, in the secretary of the state race.
Democrats acknowledged her from the stage and thanked her for coming.
The event with more than 100 Democrats was a kick-off to the next 86 or 87 days of the midterm elections – depends on how you count.
The Republican Party will hold a “unity” picnic Sunday afternoon in Meriden.
Leora Levy, who was nominated as the Republican to run against U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, used the occasion to say in a statement that what unites Connecticut Democrats is “failed policies and floundering leadership.”
Levy, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, said Democrats are responsible for “out-of-control spending driving record inflation, high energy prices, an invasion at our border, government intrusion between parent and child, and lawlessness and crime on the rise in our communities – that is what unites Biden and Blumenthal.”
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, who isn’t on the ballot this year, said Blumenthal wears Trump’s disdain for him as a badge of honor.
Murphy said Trump knows that if Blumenthal is in the Senate “Donald Trump is going to be held accountable.”
“This is a deadly serious election,” Blumenthal said. “These choices couldn’t be clearer. My opponent says a woman should not control her own body. Should not have the freedom to decide when and whether to become pregnant.”
Blumenthal said Levy will vote if elected to make Mitch McConnell majority leader and “no woman will be safe in America,” if that happens.
“The Republican Party has gone to the right-wing fringe in this country,” Blumenthal said. “Donald Trump might not be on the ticket but his policies are.”
Democrats talked about how the issues are on their side.
U.S. Reps. Joe Courtney, Jahana Hayes and John Larson attended the rally after flying back from Washington D.C. having just passed the Inflation Reduction Act.
Among the 755-page bill’s various elements are provisions which cap at $2,000 the out-of-pocket expenses of prescription drugs for seniors on Medicare by allowing the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies over drug prices. Other sections dedicate more that $300 billion to curb climate change over the next decade through investments in clean energy.
Meanwhile, the legislation would spend $300 billion to reduce the federal deficit. Spending in the bill has been offset by a new 15% minimum tax on companies earning more than $1 billion a year in profits.
Courtney said like the Affordable Care Act, Republicans will attempt to eliminate the Inflation Reduction Act, if they gain a majority in this election.
“They are going to try on day one to roll back what we passed,” Courtney said. “They said it right there on the floor.”
He said the Democratic Party is the party of “Franklin Roosevelt that created the GI bill and earlier this week Joe Biden signed the PACT Act.”
He said they can run on their record.
“Democrats have done what Republicans say they want to do,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said when referring to the party’s reduction of long-term debt.
“You can count on us to support the families in our state,” Bysiewicz said, referring to the increase in the minimum wage and passage of the paid Family and Medical Leave Act.
Many Democratic candidates talked about how they protected reproductive freedom in Connecticut.
But the outstanding question for the party was whether they will be able to energize their base to turn out in November.
Nearly 15% of Democrats turned out for Tuesday’s primary, that’s less than the 20% Republican turnout.
Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo said Democrats only had the secretary of the state and treasurer race on the ballot Tuesday and “people don’t understand the importance of those positions.”
She said she expected voter turnout to be much higher in November. She said they will see much more excitement among voters for the general.
Courtney, who won his first race in the Second District by 86 votes earning him the nickname ‘Landslide Joe’, said mid-term elections are tough.
He said he thinks the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs, which overturned Roe, was a “game changer.”
And he said, the Inflation Reduction Act countered the narrative that Washington doesn’t get anything done.