Connecticut Democrats are turning to Barack Obama and Bill Clinton to excite voters this weekend, while the biggest crowd around a Republican candidate is likely to be found at a World Wrestling Entertainment show in Hartford.
Connecticut’s status as a potential bulwark against a GOP wave on Tuesday is reflected two presidential visits: Obama’s rally Saturday in Bridgeport and Clinton’s stops Sunday in Hartford and Norwalk.
“I do think we are going to surprise some folks Tuesday night,” said Tim Kaine, the Democratic national chairman. “I think we’ve got a very good chance of winning some key races in New England.”
Obama included Connecticut on a non-stop day of campaigning Saturday because of the chance to reach voters who could turn races for governor, U.S. Senate and the U.S. House, Kaine said.
“The nice thing about Bridgeport is you get to come to a state where you’ve got an important Senate race, an important governor’s race and an important congressional race,” Kaine said.
Bridgeport is the largest city in the 4th Congressional District, which is represented by U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, a vulnerable Democrat who unseated the state’s longest-serving Republican in 2008. Norwalk is the district’s third largest city.
Republicans have no similar events this weekend.
Republican State Chairman Chris Healy said the top of the GOP ticket, Senate candidate Linda McMahon and gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley, each are criss-crossing the state for smaller get-out-the-vote events. McMahon also intends to campaign at a WWE event Saturday.
Tom Foley, the gubernatorial nominee, is starting his day Saturday with a rally in his hometown of Greenwich, then making stops in Waterbury, Norwich, Madison, Mystic and East Lyme.
McMahon will speak at an NAACP convention in Stamford at midday Saturday, then drive to World Wrestling Entertainment’s first fan appreciation show at the XL Center in Hartford.
It was unclear Friday if McMahon, a former WWE chief executive and occasional performer, was going to work the crowd – or speak from the ring. Her son-in-law, Triple H, is on the bill.
Her husband, Vince McMahon, invited nearly two dozen candidates and officials to the show, including Dan Malloy and Richard Blumenthal, the Democratic nominees for governor and Senate, said Rob Zimmerman, the company’s spokesman.
Malloy and Blumenthal have a previous engagement: They are expected appear with the president at the Arena at Harbor Yard, a 10,000-seat venue in Bridgeport. The doors open at 1 p.m. and the program starts at 2 p.m.
“The president has got a might full dance card here at the end,” Kaine said. “I think the three races in Connecticut that we’re talking about now, I think we’ve got strong opportunities in all of them, despite Linda McMahon’s massive dollars, despite Foley’s massive dollars.”
On Sunday evening, Clinton will lead a rally at the University of Hartford with Malloy and other Democrats, then campaign in Norwalk with Himes.