Wikimedia Commons

The congressional race for Connecticut’s 3rd district is heating up as the incumbent,  15-term House representative Rosa DeLauro, faces opposition from Republican opponent Margaret Streicker.

New Haven Congresswoman and Democrat Rosa DeLauro is running for her 16th term in Congress. DeLauro, who has been in Congress for nearly 30 years, is a familiar face in the district and has faced little opposition in past elections. Political analyses such as the Cook Political Report have stated that DeLauro is favored to win this election as well. However, Streicker, her GOP challenger and a wealthy real estate developer, is putting up a solid opposition.

“Unlike the incumbent, I have spent my entire career in the real world,” Streicker said. “I have not been in a place in government where money somehow magically appears. Like most of this district, I go out and I earn money.”

Streicker, a new face to the political scene with no prior experience in office, told the News that she sees the opportunity as a service to the country. She called DeLauro’s record “30 years of failed policy,” claiming that DeLauro’s time in office had led to lost jobs and a struggling economy. Streicker’s agenda is focused on creating jobs, improving the economy, supporting local law enforcement — she earned the endorsement of the Connecticut Fraternal Order of Police — and providing accessible and affordable health care for all. Streicker said that her background in business has given her the experience needed to tackle these problems.

DeLauro, for her part, has criticized the business background of her opponent.

“Her knowledge and her business is about being a slumlord in New York and being fined by the Attorney General of New York of over a million dollars for harassing and abusing tenants,” DeLauro said.

According to the New York Times, in 2015, Streicker’s former real estate firm, Newcastle Realty Services, was ordered to pay $1.5 million in fines and legal fees for inducing tenants to vacate a building through illegal buyout agreements. The firm did not admit any wrongdoing.

Despite her many terms in Congress, DeLauro told the News there is still much she is excited to do if she were to win reelection, including passing legislation on equal wages for women, national paid sick days and paid family and medical leave. She also said she plans to focus on the child care industry — which she said has become particularly important during the pandemic.

As chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee in Congress, DeLauro also said she is planning for more control over testing, tracing and treatment of the virus — responsibilities that she said she believes the current White House administration has not fulfilled.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to move forward on all of these issues that I have been working on for years,” DeLauro said.

According to Kenneth Long, a professor of history and political science at the University of Saint Joseph, it would not be surprising if DeLauro won another term. He said this election year is one that is likely to be favorable to Democrats after Donald Trump’s presidency. Long said that Trump’s response to the pandemic and Biden’s high likelihood of winning the presidency have energized the Democratic base and churned out votes against Trump.

DeLauro, as an incumbent, is also well-known to voters, as opposed to Streicker. According to Long, while previous Congressional races have seen a previously unknown candidate win a seat in the House, it usually happens when going against incumbents who have associated with an unpopular party and happens more so in the Senate.

“In the House, people settle into safe seats and they get elected and re-elected for as long as they can continue to walk and talk and then even sometimes after they can’t do that,” Long said.

However, Long stated that Streicker is the strongest challenger DeLauro has faced in a long time. He said that Streicker has been able to spend large sums of money on the race, which DeLauro’s past opponents have not done.

According to the CT Mirror, Streicker had raised nearly $300,000 in donations and loaned her campaign $350,000 with $456,443 of cash on-hand, while DeLauro had less than $288,000 in campaign cash by the end of the second quarter.

Some of Streicker’s money has gone towards a series of political advertisements, many of which have targeted DeLauro. Her most recent ad highlights the fact that DeLauro allowed former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to live in the basement of her D.C. home when he was a member of Congress. The ad claims that by giving Emanuel a free place to stay, DeLauro was able to use her influence to award government contracts to her husband’s polling company.

In response, DeLauro told the News that the ads were filled with false accusations without any kind of documentation to back up the claims. A press release sent out by DeLauro’s campaign team stated that her husband’s company has never had any government contracts and that Emanuel stopped staying there when he became chief of staff.

Long said that negative ads such as these tend to work well for undecided voters, who tend to be the least informed.

“Ads, to be effective, have to aim at the votes that they can win from an undecided pool,” Long said. “In order to do that effectively, you generally need attack ads.”

As part of her campaign, Streicker has also been going door-to-door and meeting with possible voters — which Long said could work in her favor.

“There will be some people who will vote for her because they met her, and she seems young and personable and it’s probably been a while since they met someone running against Rosa DeLauro,” Long said.

Streicker and DeLauro will face one another in a debate on Oct. 22 along with the Green Party’s candidate, Justin Paglino. The debate will be broadcast live on News 8.


Sai Rayala | sai.rayala@yale.edu