Themis Klarides challenging Richard Blumenthal for Senate seat
One of Connecticut's top Republicans is challenging Sen. Richard Blumenthal for his seat.
Themis Klarides is the most powerful woman in Connecticut Republican politics, but can she beat someone who is 8-0 in elections? Blumenthal hasn't lost an election in 37 years, but Klarides is hoping to change that.
The former top Republican in the Connecticut House is appealing to independents.
"How upset they are, Republicans and Democrats alike, with what's going on in Washington, the dysfunction, the rancor?" said Klarides.
For now, Blumenthal isn't engaging.
"My focus is on doing my job and working for the people of Connecticut. There will be plenty of time for politics later in the year," he said.
Political analysts say many voters feel a personal connection to Blumenthal.
"He shows up at everybody's birthday party. He also appears at every event that you can think of," said Dr. Gary Rose, from Sacred Heart University.
Blumenthal has a distinct fundraising advantage. But with control of Congress at stake, Republicans could pour a lot of money into this race.
"I think this could be the case, whether the national party might even donate money," said Dr. Jonathan Wharton, from Southern Connecticut State University.
Before she can take on Blumenthal, Klarides has to beat back three GOP challengers - perennial candidates Peter Lumaj, John Flynn and Robert Hyde.
"I think the only other candidate who is somewhat viable in this contest to win the nomination would be Lumaj," said Rose.
Klarides was originally looking at a run for governor, but once Bob Stefanowski jumped in, Republican leaders convinced her to take on Blumenthal instead.