If Margaret Streicker has her way, U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro’s nearly 30-year tenure in the House will soon come to an end.
Streicker, the Republican and Independent parties’ nominee for Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District, first announced her intent to challenge 15-term incumbent DeLauro in March. The real estate developer, former Democrat and single mother of four has said that if elected she will focus on reducing tax rates, increasing access to affordable health care and halting what she described as an exodus of businesses from Connecticut. In an interview with the News, the first-time candidate said she will prioritize bipartisan work in the House.
“I think we are living in a very hyper-partisan moment in American history,” Streicker said, “I think it’s necessary that we have people who are unifiers who are bringing people together, who are willing to reach across the aisle and … get things done and move our country past what I think is a very divisive and problematic time.”
During the pandemic, Streicker has campaigned through socially distanced door-knocking, phone calls, mailers and even a few virtual town halls. She told the News that as a first-time campaigner, she has little precedent of pre-pandemic campaigning to compare her effort this year, which she has seen as a plus.
Throughout the campaign she has touted her position as an outsider, drawing contrast to DeLauro, whom she has often described as a career politician. Streicker has pushed back on the idea that her lack of experience in public office is a detriment.
“I will work my tail off to deliver for the people of Connecticut,” Streicker said. “I have the skillset and I have the track record and I have the desire to work. I believe I have some of the right ideas about working for jobs, our economy, safety and security and accessibility of health care for all.”
Her relentless campaigning, coupled with more funding than any previous Republican challenger of DeLauro, allowed Streicker to stand out as a unique Republican candidate for southern Connecticut.
She has invested $1.6 million dollars of her own money into the race, including $1.15 million since mid-October, according to the CT Mirror. She has also received over $300,000 in individual contributions, according to the most recent FEC records.
Michael Downes, adjunct professor of political science at Southern Connecticut State University and Stratford Republican political operative, said he believes that Streicker is one of the strongest Republican candidates to challenge DeLauro since DeLauro’s first election in 1990.
“I think for those voters who feel like they’re not being heard, for those voters who think that they haven’t had a seat at the table … Margaret Streicker’s candidacy probably speaks to them,” Downes said.
Streicker told the News that she believes she will appeal to voters frustrated with what she characterized as DeLauro’s preference for “DC politicking” over representing them. These voters, she said, will have a clear choice to make come Nov. 3.
Throughout the campaign, Streicker has promised that she will focus on bringing jobs back to Connecticut. She told the News that she believes that the state is currently suffering from jobs leaving the country as well as the state. Streicker pointed to jet engine manufacturer Raytheon’s recent decision to cut most of its East Hartford’s operations and move them to North Carolina as evidence of what she described as a non-inviting business climate in Connecticut.
According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, Connecticut lost 2,100 jobs in 2019, marking the first year of aggregate job loss since the Great Recession. The state had seen eight years of consecutive job growth until 2019.
Streicker told the News that the Constitution State needs more leaders like herself that recognize this issue and are willing to work to make Connecticut a more inviting destination for businesses.
Health care is another major part of Streicker’s platform. The Republican candidate has said she wants health care to be “accessible and affordable for all.” She told the News she wants a health care system that is transparent, competitive and accountable. She has yet to release a platform with any proposals on the issue.
Streicker — who is endorsed by local police unions — said that while officers involved in matters of police violence must be held accountable, not all instances of officers using force is an issue of police brutality. The Republican nominee has called for increased training of officers and for the preservation of current department budgets.
“I think most — a vast, vast, vast majority [of police officers] wake up every day trying to do their jobs to the best of their capabilities,” said Streicker.
Ken Long, professor of history and political science at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, noted how this is a difficult year for first-time Republican candidates to challenge Democrat incumbents.
Long has suggested that an anti-Trump wave will have a direct effect down the ballot.
“Connecticut is filled with a preponderance of angry Democratic voters enthusiastic to vote against Trump” said Long.
Downes said he agrees that the anti-Trump “headwind” is disadvantageous for Republicans, Downes credits Connecticut voters as being sophisticated enough to see the “crosswinds” and take statewide economic factors into account to potentially split their ballot.
To have a fighting chance to unseat DeLauro, Streicker will need some Biden voters in the 3rd District to split their ballots on Election Day. She told the News she is confident she has shown voters that she is the best candidate to help the state “start a new chapter.”
“I am the right candidate for this job,” Streicker said. “Everyone in the district understands we need change, we’re craving change and we need someone who has the tenacity to go out and do it.”
Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District includes New Haven and the surrounding suburbs, covering an area of 485 square miles.
James Richardson | email@example.com