OR WILL IT BE THE STATUS QUO?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 20, 2012) — The race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat-turned-Independent Joseph Lieberman has been very close in recent weeks between Republican Linda McMahon and Democrat Chris Murphy, although polls conducted within the last few days appear to favor Murphy.
Connecticut has not elected a Republican to the U.S. Senate for three decades.
In 2010, Scott Brown of Massachusetts won the seat in a special election following the passing of Sen. Ted Kennedy. At present he and Elizabeth Warren reportedly are in a tight race, although some reports say that Warren has a slight edge.
Lieberman announced his retirement early last year. In 2010, McMahon ran for the U.S. Senate unsuccessfully against former Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who won by a reported 12-point lead.
Blumenthal had told this writer in a letter in early 2009 that he did not believe the issue raised about Obama’s or McCain’s constitutional eligibility to serve as president was important.
A University of Connecticut poll shows Murphy six points ahead but with 17% of voters undecided. On August 23, a Rasmussen poll showed McMahon leading Murphy by three percentage points. A Reuters report calls the race a “dead heat” as of this morning.
Murphy has been a U.S. Congressman from Connecticut’s Fifth District since 2007.
Earlier this morning, Reuters reported that Murphy was “struggling to pull ahead” of McMahon. Both have run negative ads against the other and participated in three debates. Murphy has spent approximately $6,200,000 on his campaign, with $3,000,000 raised in the July-September quarter. McMahon has funded nearly all of her expenses herself and declined to accept money from political action committees. Between her two campaigns, McMahon has spent more than $77,000,000 of her own money.
Murphy has tapped former President Bill Clinton and Senator Al Franken to campaign for him on Saturday. McMahon’s campaign has denounced Murphy’s invitation to Franken for a lewd comment Franken made to which we will not link because of its heinousness.
Both Murphy and McMahon have been criticized during the campaign cycle for avoiding the press.
On his campaign website, Murphy indicates that McMahon holds “radical positions on Social Security and Medicare.” McMahon, a former World Wresting Entertainment (WWE) executive, is running on a platform of reviving an ailing economy and has a history of supporting entrepreneurship and the military. Murphy has called McMahon “extreme” in her views.
The AFL-CIO has criticized McMahon for allegedly failing to provide health benefits for her former employees and for advocating “eliminating some government programs.”
Although known as a wealthy state, Connecticut’s unemployment rate is currently reported at 8.9%, down from 9% in August 2012. Connecticut’s unemployment rate is generally below the national average, although for the last three months, it has topped the national average. A report from early 2011 states that wealthy job-creators have been depended upon to shore up the state’s “ailing economy” and to “pay its debts.”
Connecticut’s pension fund is reportedly “sinking,” with the legislature having voted to change the law so that general funds could be used “for a different purpose.” After Gov. Dannel Malloy passed the largest tax increase in the state’s history, Connecticut’s budget deficit was $192,000,000 at the end of the last fiscal year. Taxes taken in during that year fell below expectations, while expenditures were $22,000,000 higher than expected. A $3.2B deficit had originally been projected but was substantially deflated by the substantial tax increase and concessions agreed to by union employees.
The fifth state to enter the Union on January 5, 1788, Connecticut derives its name from the Indian phrase “beside the long tidal river.” During the American Revolution, many Connecticut men chose to serve in local militias when necessary rather than join the Continental Army.
Between 1895 and 1910, Connecticut was controlled by Republicans, but a “new Progressive Party” formed to further the interests of newly-urbanized areas of the state. In 1995, a single parent receiving welfare benefits in Connecticut fared better than an entry-level job would have paid him or her.
Gasoline prices in the state have averaged at over $4.00/gallon since May, partly because of Connecticut’s special tax on the commodity. Violent crime in Hartford, the state capital, is considerably higher than the national average, making Hartford the sixth worst city for crime in the nation. Violent crime has also risen in New Haven, the home of Yale University, over the last several years.