State Rep. Carter ‘seriously considering’ Blumenthal challenge

Rep. Dan Carter. R-Bethel

Rep. Dan Carter. R-Bethel

Washington — State Rep. Dan Carter, a Republican from Bethel, is weighing a run against Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

“I am seriously considering it,” Carter said. “So much so that I withdrew all my filings to run for re-election in the state assembly.”

He also said he will make “a more formal announcement” about his plans in early April.

Carter, and other Republicans in the state were encouraged by state GOP officials to challenge Blumenthal after CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow decided last month against entering the race and August Wolf, the sole declared GOP candidate, experienced upheavals in his campaign.

“When Kudlow withdrew, the Republicans lost their only name candidate,” said University of Connecticut political science professor Ron Schurin.

A former Air Force pilot who flew humanitarian missions in Bosnia and was involved in Desert Storm, Carter also has worked for the pharmaceutical industry. He now trains pilots for an aircraft charter company and is in his third term in the state assembly, representing portions of Danbury, Newtown, Redding and Bethel.

But he may not be the only Republican who is considering entering the race

J.R. Romano, the chair of the Connecticut Republican Party, said there is at least one other Republican mulling a challenge to Blumenthal. Romano declined to say who the candidate is, but said that person is close to a decision.

Joe Visconti, a former West Hartford councilman who ran for governor in 2014 as a Republican and then as an independent, formed an exploratory committee in January to consider the race.

Schurin said anyone facing Blumenthal would be an underdog.

“It would be a very long slog against Blumenthal,” he said. “It’s a situation where someone may be seeking to make a name for himself, or herself, for some future run.

Blumenthal was elected to office in 2010, has high poll approval numbers and about $4 million in cash on hand in his campaign.

Carter said he knows he is “a little bit late for dinner,” in entering the campaign a little more than two months before the state GOP convention, when primary candidates will compete for their party’s support.

But he said it’s an outsider’s year in politics, and voter frustration with “entrenched politicians” and the “old guard” will give him a boost.

“The feeling that people have nationally has been felt in Connecticut for some time,” Carter said. “I offer a contrast. I’m experienced but not well-entrenched.
As far as raising the cash needed to tackle a proven fund raiser like Blumenthal?

“There are a lot of people willing to put resources in my campaign,” Carter said.

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