Mashantucket — Republican delegates voted Friday to endorse Matthew Corey, a U.S. Navy veteran and three-time congressional candidate who says he welcomes the opportunity to make his race a referendum on President Donald Trump, as their choice to oppose U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat seeking a second term.
“I have a message, President Trump,” Corey said. “Help me help you move this country forward.”
Corey, 54, won 53 percent of the vote at the Republican convention in a three-way race with Dominic Rapini, a national Apple retail sales executive, and Joe Visconti, a former West Hartford council member who briefly bolted the GOP to run as an independent for governor in 2014. Rapini had 35 percent of the vote; Visconti, 3 percent. Eight percent of the delegates cast no votes.
Rapini, who outspent Corey $104,000 to $4,892 through April 21, was unsure if he would compete in a primary.
“We’ll see what we can do with putting the money together. We know the donors are there for me. I have to just make sure it is the right thing for the party and the right thing for my family,” Rapini said.
Murphy, a former state legislator who was elected to the U.S. House in 2006 and U.S. Senate in 2012, has $7.7 million in available campaign cash.
“This election is bigger than we are,” Corey said. “Sen. Murphy doesn’t represent the constituents of the state of Connecticut. Sen. Murphy is only out for himself.”
Corey is running for Senate after failing three times to unseat U.S. Rep. John B. Larson in the 1st District, the safest Democratic seat in Connecticut.
He criticized Murphy for opposing Trump’s nomination of Mike Pompeo as secretary of state, “weakening his position while he’s overseas negotiating with the North Koreans.” Pompeo negotiated a deal for the release of three U.S. citizens imprisoned in North Korea.
“Anybody in this state, in Connecticut that votes for Democrats, are voting for a tax increase, are voting for less jobs, are voting for the moving vans that are leaving and are letting down the working men and women of this country.”
The two-day GOP convention opened Friday at the Foxwoods Resort Casino with the endorsements of candidates in the five U.S. House Districts. The only contested race was in the 5th District, the only open seat in 2018.
Manny Santos, the former mayor of Meriden, won on a second ballot, but he faces a primary from at least one challenger, Ruby O’Neill, a founder of the National Latino Republican Coalition.
Endorsed without opposition in the other districts were: Jennifer Nye of Manchester in the 1st District, who volunteered when she realized the GOP was without a candidate; Danny Postemski Jr. of Hampton in the 2nd; Angel Luis Cadena Jr. in the 3rd; and Harry Arora of Greenwich in the 4th.