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    Saturday, December 03, 2022

    Courtney claims victory in 2nd District race

    U.S. Representative Joe Courtney talks with candidates and voters outside the District 1 polling station at East Lyme High School on Election Day Tuesday, November 8, 2022. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
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    Democratic incumbent Joe Courtney held a commanding lead late Tuesday night and claimed victory early Wednesday morning in his bid for his ninth term as the congressman for Connecticut’s 2nd District.

    The Associated Press called the race in Courtney’s favor after midnight on Wednesday. As of 11 a.m., with more than 95% of the vote in, Courtney led France 163,359 (58%) to 113,435 (40%). Blacker stood at 2,382 votes (0.8%). As of 2 a.m., Wednesday with more than 80% of the unofficial vote totals in, Courtney led France 151,862 (58%) to 105,130 (40%), with Blacker at 2,283 votes (0.9%) and Libertarian William Hall at 1,959 (0.7%). Courtney held a double digit lead since the first batch of results came in. At 10:45 p.m., he was up by about 40,000 votes on France with more than 220,000 votes counted: he had roughly 130,000 votes to France’s 89,000-plus.

    After midnight, when it became clear France could not bridge the widening gap, Courtney and his campaign claimed victory.

    “It is very encouraging,” Courtney had said of the incomplete results at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday evening. “With the relatively larger number of absentees and same-day registration votes, we’re still holding our fire in terms of jumping to a conclusion.”

    “I’ve been through a few rodeos already. I’ve lost, I had almost a dead-even tie, and we’ve had some good, solid wins,” Courtney continued. “I would just say that the midterm election is a different kind of election. Obviously there’s a newly elected Democrat in the White House; we all knew based on history that this was going to be a race that we had to be on our toes. It looks like our team performed well and hopefully it’ll continue into the evening.”

    France did not respond to a request for comment.

    “I brought to the table a common sense, honest, practical, no-bullshit mentality. In politics, there are all these characters, these personas. They’re not real people,” Blacker said Tuesday night after results began coming in. “You saw at the debate the contrast. I think it’s important to have that contrast up there.”

    Blacker said he hoped his campaign inspired other third-party thinkers to run, and added that his efforts “did get more attention on State Pier.” Still, if he doesn’t get the 1% of the vote needed to maintain the Green Party line in the next race for Congress, Blacker would “not consider himself a success.”

    Between the end of June and the end of September, Courtney’s campaign more than doubled fundraising totals compared to France. Courtney had tripled France’s fundraising in the previous two quarters. Blacker did not accept donations.

    The chairman of the House Armed Services’ Seapower subcommittee, Courtney has established his reputation as “Two Sub Joe” for securing two submarine contracts per year for Electric Boat in Groton. But France questioned Courtney’s sub procurement record during the campaign.

    Blacker, a farmer and landscaper from Noank with a degree in soil science, has used the race for Congress to advance his fight against what he sees as corruption and wasteful spending for the wind project at State Pier.

    France campaigned on the issues of inflation and public safety, as the Republican Party looked to do statewide.

    France was one of seven legislators in the region who voted against a 2022 state law that protects out-of-state women from prosecution for getting an abortion in Connecticut and protects state medical providers from legal actions taken against by other states.

    In one of Courtney’s more animated moments of the campaign, he attacked France on abortion during a debate at the Garde Arts Center, telling his challenger to, "Spare me your crocodile tears for states’ rights. The position that you have taken will capsize Connecticut’s law.”

    s.spinella@theday.com

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