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    Saturday, December 03, 2022

    Blumenthal for a third term

    There is a joke about U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal that isn’t really a joke: “He would attend a letter-opening if invited.”

    It’s pretty close to the truth; Blumenthal turns up all over Connecticut virtually every weekend, making sure his constituents see and hear from him. Amusing as his predictability may be, he runs his office as he did when he served for 20 years as the state’s attorney general, with daily outreach to the public.

    While many Connecticut voters may find Dick Blumenthal’s politics more liberal than their own, they have repaid his dedication and accessibility by electing him twice to the senate. He is now seeking a third term.

    His opponent is Leora Levy, a political fundraiser and member of the Republican National Committee. She won a three-way primary by defeating the party nominee, former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, a moderate, and another challenger as conservative as Levy herself. She has the endorsement of former President Trump, who called in to a Montville Republican Town Committee fundraising dinner to announce his support -- although the RTC had endorsed Klarides.

    The two debated just once, in this last week of the campaign. Their responses, as reported by The Connecticut Mirror, were as often about President Joe Biden and former President Trump than about their own positions. That should not be a surprise, because what happens in the mid-term elections will deeply affect the agenda for the next two years and the 2024 presidential election.

    Levy, who emigrated from Cuba as a young person, has said she wants the southern border closed. She opposes the Inflation Reduction Act that recently passed, which would among other things allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices and reform federal income tax enforcement. She blames inflation on the administration’s policies, wants abortion access reserved to the states -- and would like it limited to cases of rape, incest or risk to the pregnant woman’s life. She opposes the recent federal legislation increasing background checks and creating incentives for state to enact red flag laws. She does not believe there is system racism in the United States. She would arm teachers in schools.

    Blumenthal voted for the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes provisions to hold down health care costs for people enrolled in Affordable Care Act programs, and he supports ways to lower and subsidize consumer fuel costs as a way to address prices. He continues his longtime focus on consumer issues, cosponsoring many such bills and chairing the consumer protection subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He has sponsored measures to assist immigrants, including people who fled -- or were left behind -- in the U.S. departure from Afghanistan. He has consistently supported gun safety measures and has made a point of advertising his continuing support of women’s access to abortion.

    The difference between the Republican primary which selected Leora Levy and the general election is that Democrats and unaffiliated voters will also be voting. Polls have consistently shown Blumenthal with a double-digit lead over Levy.

    Which party will control the senate hangs on the outcome of the mid-term elections Nov. 8. Leora Levy appears ready to vote however Republican senate leadership tells freshmen to cast their votes. Dick Blumenthal has steadily demonstrated that he will vote Democrat. Bipartisanship is not on the table for voters in this race.

    While we do not agree with every Democratic policy or proposal, the party is not out to end democracy as we know it, to deny proven election results, to enact laws on behalf of the rich and powerful or attempt to keep people from exercising their right to vote. We lament the lack of a moderate Republican candidate who might have given voters a choice in a contest with the incumbent. Democracy is indeed on the ballot, however, and a vote for Leora Levy is not a safe vote for democracy.

    The Day endorses Richard Blumenthal for a third term.

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