Senate race

US Senate GOP Candidates Face Off During Debate

Voters got a chance to hear from three Republican candidates hoping to represent Connecticut in the U.S. Senate. Whoever wins in the primary next month will face off against U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Of the three Republicans on stage Tuesday night, Themis Klarides is seen by many as the one to beat. Connecticut Republicans endorsed the former state House Minority Leader as their choice for U.S. Senate, and she framed herself as a proven elected official.

“I have won 11 elections. I’m a proven winner. I’m a proven fighter for lower taxes, for real spending cuts, and the rule of law,” Klarides said.

Leora Levy is the state’s Republican National Committeewoman and described herself as a commonsense conservative and an outsider. She said that’s what voters need.

“It’s the career politicians who have gotten us into this mess. I'm an outsider, not a career politician,” Levy said.

Peter Lumaj is an attorney from Fairfield who has previously run for governor. He labeled himself a true, consistent conservative.

“Everything America stands for is under attack. We need right now to defeat Blumenthal. We need someone who has the character, backbone and fortitude to be a true Republican, to be a conservative,” Lumaj said.

All three said they would not forgive student loan debt, but it was a rare occasion where they all agreed. At times, the debate became contentious with Levy being called inconsistent for her change in stance on abortion and former President Donald Trump.

“I would call it learning from life. My heart changed, and isn’t that what we want for all Americans?” Levy said.

Both Lumaj and Levy are against abortion rights, while Klarides is for abortion rights. The candidates were also asked if they support the gun control bill recently passed by Congress.

“I would have voted for that bill, and the best part of that bill was the money that was going to mental health and school security,” Klarides said.

“No, I would not in this form because it did not provide due process for removing a law-abiding citizen’s gun based on rumor and innuendo,” Levy said.

“Not the entire bill because it’s a bill that has over 2,000 pages. I don’t think any of the senators read the bill,” Lumaj said.

All three candidates said they supported armed school resource officers in schools.

The state’s primary election is set for Aug. 9.

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