Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-New Haven, will face a primary challenge in her 2018 congressional run from former Alder Bryan Anderson
Anderson announced his candidacy for Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District seat — a seat currently held by DeLauro — in front of the Milford City Hall on Sept. 26. DeLauro has held the seat since 1991. Anderson, who identifies as further to the left than DeLauro, has earned praise from state Democrats for his time as a Connecticut public servant. Many local officials, however, have publicly voiced support for DeLauro in the primary, which will be held on Aug. 14, 2018.
“When the incumbent has been in power for 27 years, running for another term and possibly having 30, I think alliances were established years ago,” Anderson told the News.
He emphasized his desire to provide a fresh pair of eyes for the state, which he believes is in need of change.
In the speech announcing his candidacy, Anderson repeated his slogan — “New Way for a Better Day” — several times as he outlined his position on a variety of issues, including his desire to increase funding for schools and infrastructure, expand Medicare for all and end the war in Afghanistan.
Anderson, who was born in New Haven, has been elected to local public office in Hamden, New Haven and Milford. He is currently serving his third term as a Milford alderman. He worked as a teacher in the Bronx for more than 15 years and was a union leader with the United Federation of Teachers, NYSUT and the American Federation of Teachers, according to a biography he emailed to the News.
In response to the announcement, DeLauro’s campaign manager, Jimmy Tickey, confirmed in a statement to the News that DeLauro would be running for re-election.
“Rosa is totally focused on defeating the dangerous agenda being pursued in Congress,” he wrote.
DeLauro currently serves as the co-chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and is the ranking member on the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. Before being elected to Congress, she served as the first executive director for EMILY’s List, an organization that helps pro-choice Democratic women run for public office, according to her website.
Following Anderson’s announcement, many leading Democrats in the state praised his work in local office but nevertheless threw their support behind DeLauro. Those Democrats included the mayors of Milford and New Haven and state Democratic Party Chairman Nick Balletto. On Oct. 1, the Yale College Democrats hosted their annual fundraiser, at which DeLauro was present.
Incumbents generally enjoy a substantial advantage in congressional elections. In 2016, only 8 of 387 incumbents failed to win their seats back, resulting in a 98 percent success rate, according to FairVote, a nonpartisan organization that supports electoral reform. Factors contributing to this phenomenon may include greater name recognition, more press coverage and the ability to campaign on previous successes delivering constituent services to the district.
New Haven residents praised DeLauro’s experience but were generally unfamiliar with Anderson’s campaign.
“I would vote for her again,” said Anthony Sims, a New Haven resident who has voted for DeLauro in the past and emphasized job creation as a key issue in the election.
Connecticut has historically been a deep blue state, with Hillary Clinton winning the state by a 7.3 percent margin in 2016. The 3rd Congressional District is no exception: Democrats have held the seat for all but six terms since 1933.
Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District covers much of south-central Connecticut, including the cities of Middletown, New Haven and Stratford.
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