As a hotly contested senate election in Connecticut continues to capture media attention, the race to represent Connecticut’s third Congressional District has — in the eyes of many observes — become a mere formality.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat who has held the seat since 1990, will face radio broadcaster Wayne Winsley this November in a race to retain her seat. In every election since her initial 1990 victory, DeLauro has won with at least 60 percent of the vote — including during the 2010 midterm elections when Democrats nationwide experienced crushing defeats.
“Congresswoman DeLauro’s attention to issues such as equal pay, job creation, nutrition and food safety is why the people of New Haven will re-elect her with a great margin again,” said DeLauro’s campaign manager, Jimmy Tickey.
Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said DeLauro is popular among Elm City residents, citing her advocacy for safe food and support for victims of Hurricane Irene in East Haven as instances of her positive impact on New Haven.
Ranked the most liberal of Connecticut’s five members of the House of Representatives by the National Journal, DeLauro is one of the Congressional Democrats who has not shrunk away from her support of the unpopular Affordable Care Act, which was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this year. DeLauro has instead been vocal about her support, telling the New Haven Independent in September that “it is one of the proudest votes I’ve cast [and] a transformative piece of legislation.”
According to Tickey, DeLauro’s role as the ranking Democrat on the Labor, Health, Human Services and Education subcommittee has allowed her to address issues such as food safety and nutrition. Both are “specific staples of her re-election agenda along with the mainstream focuses on job creation and equal pay,” he added. DeLauro spoke at the Democratic National Convention to celebrate the passing of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and to exhort the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Because the seat is considered so safe, Tickey said he does not know of any polling that has been done on the district yet.
“It’s certainly too Democratic [a district] for us to get our hopes up,” said Elizabeth Henry ’14, the president of the Yale College Republicans.
Though Henry predicts that the group will be more active in politics this year, she said it does not make sense to “expend both time and money” on a campaign for a candidate who is behind by so much “in terms of both money and infrastructure.” Instead, Henry said she thinks the Yale College Republicans will be involved in the campaigns for Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon and Mass. Sen. Scott Brown, as well as the presidential campaign, where “we can best make a difference.”
In an email to the News, Nicole Hobbs ’14, elections coordinator for the Yale College Democrats, said that “as of now, the DeLauro, Murphy and Obama campaigns are fully coordinated, so any work the Dems do for Murphy in [the third congressional district] will also be for DeLauro.” Zak Newman ’13, president of the Dems, said the club would be supporting DeLauro if there were not more prominent races taking place at the same time. The Dems will be canvassing weekly for DeLauro and Murphy in New Haven, Newman added.
“We’ve done a lot of work with the Yale Democrats,” said Tickey, adding that the campaign really appreciates “their energy and vigor.”
Winsley, known as “The Conservative Capitalist” in his broadcast work, said DeLauro has raised 30 times as much money as him but added that he still believes he has a shot at the seat.
“Everyone but the voters thinks this race is decided, but I believe I have a very good chance of winning,” he said.
Winsley added that voters he meets are impressed by his policies and “disgusted by the direction in which this country is going.” He said his biggest opponents are “those in the Republican establishment who have already conceded this race.”
WInsley also said he wants the Yale College Republicans and Democrats to host a debate between DeLauro and himself so that the voters can closely compare the two candidates.
According to the Cook Partisan Voter Index, the 3rd Congressional District swings 9 percentage points in favor of the Democrats.