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On Friday, with less than two weeks until Election Day, Connecticut voters received another push to the polls at a Hartford rally which featured former Vice President Joe Biden.

Thousands of people attended the rally at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, supporting a trio of Democratic hopefuls on Connecticut’s ballot next month — gubernatorial nominee Ned Lamont SOM ’80, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. and Jahana Hayes, the Democratic candidate in the 5th Congressional District. At the rally, Biden touted his support for Connecticut Democrats while simultaneously denouncing political hatred, division and fear just two days after pipe bombs were sent to his and other prominent liberal figures’ homes.

“Send Jahana to Congress,” Biden told the crowd. “Support Senator Blumenthal and Senator Murphy to stop this madness. We’re everything the Republican Party is not, and let me add, this is not your father’s Republican Party.”

Biden has been traveling the country advocating for Democratic candidates as midterm elections approach. In addition to the former vice president, the rally’s speakers included Lamont, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73, D-Conn. and Hayes, a former teacher of the year who inspired attendees with her own story. All candidates stressed the significance of getting out the vote for this year’s elections. Although Connecticut is currently under Democratic control, Lamont faces a tough fight to fill the seat vacated by widely unpopular Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Though she will not be on every Connecticut voter’s ballot come Nov. 6, Hayes has emerged as a revitalizing force for the Democratic Party. She is not running to represent Hartford, which is in the state’s 1st Congressional District, but her inspiring backstory has rallied energy for Democrats up and down the ballot.

Hayes, a teenage mother who defied the odds, earned both undergraduate and master’s degrees after initially advancing through community college. If elected, she will become New England’s first black woman elected to Congress.

Andrew Sorota ’22, a volunteer with the Lamont campaign who attended Friday’s rally, said Hayes is likely one of the reasons for Biden’s stop in Connecticut, as she is, “running a historic campaign that is exciting to get behind.” If she is elected to Congress in November, her unorthodox route to politics and success will, “prove that average Americans can significantly contribute to our political process.”

Other Yalies in attendance agreed with Sorota. Honor McCarthy ’22, another Lamont volunteer, summarized that the rally focused on protecting healthcare and emphasizing the importance of bringing “voters’ raw anger toward the Trump administration” to the polls.

Biden’s speech, and the remarks of all the other speakers, underscored the importance of this election, noting the ballot’s power in delivering a refusal of the Trump administration. He explained that he initially hoped to give the administration a chance, but that its response to the violence of white supremacist protestors in Charlottesville compelled him to speak out and fight.

“This is the most significant, consequential election,” Biden said Saturday. “This election is more important. It is not about politics, it’s about the character of our country.”

Blumenthal echoed the sentiment, calling on attendees to channel their anger into driving up participation at the polls. Ballots, the candidates collectively espoused, are more powerful than bombs.

Biden is still one of the nation’s most popular Democrats. An August Politico poll that pitted him against Trump saw the Delaware politician lead by seven points, demonstrating his wide appeal.

After his appearance in Hartford, Biden will attend rallies in Madison and Milwaukee on Tuesday. On Monday, he will appear in Youngstown, Ohio, in support of Democrat Rich Corday for Ohio governor.

Biden was the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017.

Angela Xiao | angela.xiao@yale.edu