Vote 2022: Biden and Trump on ballot in Connecticut’s U.S. Senate race
With just four days until voters head to the polls, Republican Leora Levy is scrambling to close Sen. Richard Blumenthal's double-digit lead in the polls. But in many ways, Connecticut's U.S. Senate race is less focused on them – and more on Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
In television ads, Levy blames President Biden and Blumenthal for crime and inflation.
"It's the trillions of dollars of government spending in the Biden-Blumenthal Build Inflation Back Better bill and the American Relief Plan," Levy said in an interview with News 12 Connecticut.
Meantime, Blumenthal said a vote for Levy is a vote for Trump.
"My opponent has said that she'll always have Donald Trump's back," he said. "You can't have Connecticut's back if you're always having Donald Trump's back."
The former president's last-minute endorsement helped Levy pull off a stunning upset against the party-backed candidate, clinching her the GOP nomination. Last month, Trump doubled-down by holding a fundraiser for Levy at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
But in their only debate, Levy downplayed Trump's support.
"I've been endorsed by a lot of people in our party," Levy said on the WFSB-TV/CT Insider debate on Wednesday.
In our interview, Levy insisted she is not beholden to Trump.
"I will do what I say I will do," she said. "I don't owe anything to anybody."
Polls show inflation and the economy as voters' top concern. To bring down prices, Blumenthal wants to release even more oil from the U.S. strategic reserve, lower the federal gas tax, and charge oil companies for profits – returning the money to drivers as a rebate.
"We can out money back in people's pockets, reduce the cost of living in Connecticut, by imposing a windfall penalty on the humongous profits that oil companies are making now, and cut the gasoline tax," said Blumenthal.
Levy wants more fossil fuel exploration, although energy analysts have noted those projects might not produce price relief for several years.
"There has been a concerted effort – a war on American energy production by the Biden administration since Day One in office, completely rubber stamped and approved by my opponent," she said.
Like other Democrats, Blumenthal's sharpest attack concerns abortion. After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, more than a dozen Republican-led states have banned the procedure.
"There's only one person in this campaign who will stand strong and fight to restore women's personal decisions over health care," he said.
Levy's position on abortion has changed over the years. In 2012, Levy told the Connecticut Post, "I believe in a woman's right to make that decision for herself." Today, she is a vocal abortion opponent.
"Sen. Blumenthal is trying to scare you because he cannot run on his record," said Levy. "I will not vote for a federal ban. I agree with the Dobbs decision. This is a state issue. And in the state of Connecticut, abortion is legal."
Connecticut state law allows for abortion up to the point of fetal viability, generally 22 to 26 weeks. But Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is proposing a national law limiting abortion to 15 weeks, which would potentially supersede state law.
Blumenthal still holds a significant cash advantage, although Levy has caught up on individual donations. Blumenthal had $3.05 million on hand, compared to Levy's $432,156, according to the most recent campaign finance reports. However, the Connecticut Patriots PAC recently spent nearly half a million dollars to run a TV ad attacking Blumenthal on illegal immigration.
News 12 Connecticut asked both Blumenthal and Levy if this will be their last campaign. Both deflected, saying they're focused on winning this race.