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Original reporting by Mark Pazniokas. Compiled by Gabby DeBenedictis.
Republican Peter Lumaj is running to represent Connecticut in the U.S. Senate and has unsuccessfully run for statewide office three times.
What is Peter Lumaj’s background?
Lumaj, 55, of Fairfield, is running for statewide office for the fourth time in 10 years. He dropped out of a Senate race before the primary in 2012, launched a campaign as the GOP nominee for secretary of state in 2014 and failed to qualify for a gubernatorial primary in 2018.
With a master’s degree in law, Lumaj provides immigration services in New York, where he says he also invests in real estate with family.
During the 2018 race for governor, Lumaj told a Republican town committee he rejected an offer by the Trump administration to return to Albania as the U.S. ambassador, a claim the administration declined to confirm or deny.
Where does he stand on major issues?
Lumaj is an opponent of abortion and said he would not vote to codify reproductive rights in federal law.
He refused to say whether he would have voted for a gun safety bill Congress passed in response to the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting that requires enhanced background checks for gun buyers under age 21, among other things.
Pressed for an answer about how he would have voted, he repeatedly riffed on myriad aspects of gun control and crime, never quite landing on an answer.
“We need to go after illegal guns in this country,” he said. “And if there are mental illnesses and problems of people out there, we should absolutely go after these things. On the other hand, the Second Amendment is the Second Amendment. I believe in the Second Amendment. And the reason why I believe in that, my family was persecuted severely in the country that we didn’t have a Second Amendment.”
Lumaj opposed giving permanent legal status to the 800,000 young adults living in a legal limbo for a decade under DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Lumaj said he would support arming teachers, if they were trained.
What is his pitch to voters?
Lumaj is a fan of Trump and free enterprise who views opponent Leora Levy as a conservative poseur, opponent Themis Klarides as an establishment Republican, and Blumenthal and Democrats as threats to capitalism.
“I’m a true conservative. I believe in God, family and country. I believe in the Constitution. I believe in the founding documents of this country,” Lumaj said. “I’m pro life, I’m pro Second Amendment. And these are things that I bring to the table that no one else does.”
What is his campaign style?
Lumaj has zinged fellow senate GOP candidates Themis Klarides and Leora Levy, as well as Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
During the senate GOP primary debate on July 26, Lumaj claimed to be the only true conservative. “I’m not afraid to be a Republican,” he said.
When Klarides suspended active campaigning to mourn the death of her 89-year-old mother, Lumaj urged an end to attacks on her — at least until after the funeral.
What have his GOP opponents said about him?
Klarides and Levy have largely ignored Lumaj, though Levy has suggested that, of herself and Lumaj, there’s only room for one in the primary.
At the debate, Klarides’ central argument was that Lumaj (and Levy) may be more conservative, but are not electable in a state that last elected a Republican senator in 1982.