Today’s congressional midterm elections have focused national attention on the balance of power in Washington, DC. But, with a tight race for governor and a state Senate that is evenly split along major party lines, Connecticut’s statewide races have the potential to shift the balance of power in what has often been seen as a reliably blue state.
Here’s what you need to know.
Governor. Connecticut has a money problem. Current Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy chose not to run again, and is leaving behind a $2 billion budget deficit for his successor, the result of decades when the state has failed to pay its pension obligations. The choice between the two leading candidates is a choice between philosophies on how to address the state budget crisis.
Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski, a former business executive, has emphasized cutting taxes to increase economic growth. Democrat Ned Lamont is also a businessman and has proposed tax breaks of his own, but he also proposed highway tolls on trucks, taxes on sports betting, and the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Also in the mix is Oz Griebel, a former Republican running with no political affiliation, who petitioned his way onto the ballot, and who has at times polled at more than 10 percent. Two other candidates -- AMiGo Constitution Party’s Mark Stewart and Libertarian Rod Hanscomb -- are also on the ballot.
Want to know where the candidates fall on issues beyond the budget? Here’s a cheat sheet from Jake Kara at the Connecticut Mirror.
State Legislature. Tuesday’s election could also mean a shift in the balance of power within Connecticut’s state legislature. The sitting state Senate is evenly split along major party lines; today’s vote could change that. And while Democrats hold the state House, their margin is only seven seats, and there are many competitive races to watch, as CTNewsJunkie reports.
5th Congressional District. Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty decided not to run again this year, after she mishandled a sexual harassment case in her congressional office. The race to fill her seat pits Republican Manny Santos, a former Marine and one-time mayor of Meriden, against Democrat Jahana Hayes, a former national Teacher of the Year who has a compelling backstory. The funding advantage is on the Democrat’s side. Should she win, she’ll be the state’s first black Democrat elected to Congress.
Ballot Questions. Connecticut voters have two questions on the ballot. First, there’s a referendum on whether to put transportation funding into what is colloquially known as a lockbox. Advocates for the change want to make sure the legislature can’t raid transportation funding for other uses; some opponents have said the measure doesn’t go far enough.
A second question deals with transparency when it comes to disposing of state land. In short, the question is whether the legislature should be compelled to have a public hearing before selling, swapping, or giving away state land.
U.S. Senate. Freshman Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy is running for reelection against Republican Matthew Corey. The race hasn’t gotten much attention, and the most recent Quinnipiac University Poll has the incumbent with a 15-point lead.
Underticket. And, finally, Connecticut will also have a chance to vote for a state treasurer, comptroller, secretary of the state, and attorney general. Traditionally Democratic strongholds, this year, the underticket races feature at least a couple of competitive Republican challengers. Current Treasurer Denise Nappier and Attorney General George Jepsen are not running for reelection.
Want to see your town's ballot? Check it out here.