Na­tion’s pol­i­tics mir­ror state’s

Ma­jor­ity at stake in House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, while Se­nate hopes for Trump ef­fect

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Ken Dixon

Con­necti­cut’s elec­tion for gover­nor, General As­sem­bly and top- of- the- ticket races is re­fracted through a prism of aggressive na­tional pol­i­tics in which a United States pres­i­dent stokes his base into a frenzy, in many cases by ap­peal­ing to its fears.

Mean­while, a chal­lenge has risen, par­tic­u­larly from mi­nori­ties and women among Democrats who sense this year they can re­gain at least one cham­ber of Congress.

While Con­necti­cut’s rep­u­ta­tion as a blue state may be at stake Tues­day, the state had 16 years of Repub­li­can gover­nors prior to Gov. Dan­nel P. Mal­loy’s elec­tion in 2010, in the depths of the in­ter­na­tional Great Re­ces­sion.

With the Con­necti­cut Se­nate now tied at 18 Repub­li­cans and 18 Democrats, both par­ties hope Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s na­tional mo­men­tum, or op­po­si­tion, will trans­late Tues­day among the state’s 857,056 un­af­fil­i­ated vot­ers, as well as the 451,869

reg­is­tered Repub­li­cans and 769,414 Democrats.

The state House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ nar­row Demo­cratic ma­jor­ity is also at stake, at a time when Repub­li­cans have been mak­ing steady gains ev­ery two years. In 2012, Democrats held a 98- 53 ma­jor­ity, which has now dwin­dled to 79- 72.

While na­tional po­lit­i­cal ob­servers pre­dict re- elec­tion vic­to­ries for U. S. Sen. Chris Mur­phy, the four in­cum­bent Demo­cratic con­gress­men, as well as 5th District Demo­cratic can­di­date Ja­hana Hayes over Repub­li­can Manny San­tos, con­trol of the House, Se­nate and gover­nor’s of­fice are highly com­pet­i­tive.

In the gover­nor’s race, the cam­paign be­tween Repub­li­can Bob Ste­fanowski and Demo­crat Ned La­mont can be seen as a proxy fight in the na­tional po­lit­i­cal up­roar. Ste­fanowski has praised Trump, who has en­dorsed the for­mer cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tive’s first run for elec­tive of­fice, pro­vid­ing cam­paign talk­ing points for La­mont and state Democrats bank­ing on the pres­i­dent’s un­pop­u­lar­ity.

Ste­fanowski, in turn, has tried to tie La­mont to Mal­loy, de­spite the lit­tle con­tact they have had since the 2010 Demo­cratic pri­mary for gover­nor that Mal­loy won. In­deed, Ste­fanowski’s fa­vorite la­bel for La­mont is “Ned Mal­loy,” who if elected would keep rais­ing taxes.

La­mont calls his Repub­li­can op­po­nent “Trumpanowski.” La­mont charges that Ste­fanowski’s cen­ter­piece — a tax- cut­ting plan — would fail to gen­er­ate eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity and lead to huge lo­cal prop­erty tax in­creases, while giv­ing mas­sive tax breaks to Con­necti­cut’s wealth­i­est.

Na­tion­ally, Trump is spend­ing this week­end fin­ish­ing up a 44city midterm blitz, but The Associated Press re­ported Satur­day the Amer­ica he has seen at air­port ar­rivals and from his ar­mored limou­sine is not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the na­tion.

The AP re­ported that Trump mostly trav­eled to coun­ties that have lower in­comes, less ed­u­ca­tion and are whiter that the rest of the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to Cen­sus Bureau data that in­di­cates he is try­ing to gal­va­nize the base he rode to vic­tory in 2016.

The U. S. pop­u­la­tion is 73.3 per­cent white, but al­most three­fourths of the places where the pres­i­dent has stumped for midterms are above that av­er­age.

In the county sur­round­ing Coun­cil Bluffs, Iowa, 88.7 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion is non- His­panic whites. Trump told the crowd at his rally that Democrats would al­low Cen­tral Amer­i­can gangs such as MS- 13 to im­mi­grate freely into the United States, a claim dis­puted by Demo­cratic law­mak­ers.

“They want to turn Amer­ica, these Democrats — and that’s what they want — into a gi­ant sanc­tu­ary for crim­i­nal aliens and the MS- 13 killers,” Trump said.

Nearly three- quar­ters of Trump’s ral­lies are in coun­ties with me­dian in­comes below the na­tional av­er­age.

While avoid­ing the big cities, the pres­i­dent has vis­ited Tampa, Nashville, Cleve­land and Hous­ton, but also smaller spots like Elko, Nev. ( pop­u­la­tion 20,078), in a county where just 18.1 per­cent of the adults hold a col­lege de­gree, com­pared to 30.3 per­cent na­tion­wide. Of the 43 places Trump is vis­it­ing, 28 have a below- av­er­age share of col­lege grad­u­ates.

He has also stopped in Mosi­nee, Wis. ( pop­u­la­tion 4,023), and Bel- grade, Mont. ( pop­u­la­tion 7,874), where in 2009, Barack Obama held a town hall event to pro­mote the Af­ford­able Care Act, which has been in jeop­ardy since Trump took of­fice in Jan­uary 2017.

While Ste­fanowski has de­clined to say whether he would dis­rupt Con­necti­cut’s ver­sion of the ACA, Con­necti­cut Democrats have warned a Repub­li­can takeover of the gover­nor and General As­sem­bly could likely re­sult in the dis­man­tling of Ac­cess Health CT, which has 114,000 ben­e­fi­cia­ries.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Demo­cratic sup­port­ers work at a phone- bank event Satur­day in Los An­ge­les. Democrats are tar­get­ing at least six con­gres­sional seats in Cal­i­for­nia, cur­rently held by Repub­li­cans, where Hil­lary Clin­ton won in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

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