Leora Levy, a Republican National Committee member from Greenwich, made a quiet entrance into the race for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, filing campaign papers with no broad public announcement.
Her candidacy was first reported by Hearst Connecticut.
In an interview Wednesday, Leora told the CT Mirror her campaign and beliefs are informed by her experience as a Cuban whose family fled the Castro regime in April 1960.
“It was two weeks after my third birthday. I just got my first tricycle. I remember vividly being told I could not bring my tricycle, nor my dog, to America,” she said. “That was my first lesson in Communism.”
Levy is running as a conservative on social and foreign-policy issues, a believer that China is responsible for 900,000 COVID deaths in America and should pay reparations.
“I have had a passion to serve and to make sure the United States of America never becomes a Communist country,” she said. “And I am very concerned with what I am seeing now, a lot of these progressive policies, the cancel culture, the critical race theory that is being incorporated in laws in our state and other places.”
Levy, 65, became a candidate 10 days after a campaign announcement by former House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, who is trying to create a sense of momentum with endorsements Tuesday by the Connecticut State Police Union and Wednesday by two dozen municipal officials.
Levy, a Trump supporter, was nominated as the U.S. ambassador to Chile in October 2019. Her nomination never came to a vote in the Senate.
She voted for a package of RNC resolutions Friday that included a censure of Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger and characterized the Jan. 6 riot as “legitimate political discourse.”
Cheney and Kinzinger are the only Republicans on the congressional committee investigating the violent effort to halt the certification of Joe Biden as president.
Levy said the package included a China reparations demand that she co-sponsored.
Connecticut’s other two RNC members, John Frey and Ben Proto, told the CT Mirror they voted against the Jan. 6 resolution and censure, which was denounced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans.
“I would have preferred to have seen at some point a resolution condemning those who participated in the Jan. 6 riot,” said Frey, a former state representative.
Levy said she does not share Trump’s view that the election of President Joe Biden was illegitimate, but she viewed the congressional investigation of Jan. 6 as unconstitutional.
The rioters should be tried in the courts, she said.
Cheney and Kinzinger, she said, are accomplices to a Democratic vendetta. She objected to Congress issuing subpoenas to individuals who did not actively participate in the assault.
“They are working actively with the Democrats on a wide-ranging political vendetta against law-abiding American citizens who were not there [and] only because of their political views and political affiliations,” she said.
The subpoenas have gone to individuals who may have knowledge of Trump’s actions or inactions on Jan. 6, as well as those who planned the assault.
Levy brings national fundraising contacts to the race but little experience as a candidate. She failed last summer to win the GOP nomination for state Senate in a special election won by Republican Ryan Fazio.
The Republican nominee will face Democrat Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat seeking his third term in the Senate.
Levy’s filing to the Federal Election Commission states she will be expending personal funds in her campaign, but her campaign statement indicated those funds were only a start.
Klarides announced her candidacy Jan. 30 on WTNH without a campaign organization in place. She created a campaign committee on Feb. 6.
Peter Lumaj, the Republican nominee for secretary of the state in 2014 and a gubernatorial candidate who failed to qualify for the primary in 2018, also is running with a claim as being the most conservative.
Two other Republicans, John Flynn and Robert Hyde, also have campaign committees.