Richard Blumenthal won a third term as U.S. Senator, beating Republican challenger Leora Levy, who won her party primary in an upset following the endorsement of former President Donald J. Trump.
The Associated Press called the race for Blumenthal shortly after polls closed Tuesday.
“I am excited and energized for another term,” Blumenthal said. The senator was sitting in his car outside the Connecticut Democrats’ Election Night party at Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford. A staffer delivered the news before Blumenthal had exited the car.
“Our country needs to be brought back together again, and I am going to focus on healing the divisions,” Blumenthal said. “It won’t be healed overnight, but I think my colleagues want to see more cooperation and less combativeness.”
At 10:45 p.m., a subdued Levy took the stage at the GOP’s election night watch party in Trumbull to concede the election. When she told the audience she’d called Sen. Blumenthal a few minutes earlier, some in attendance expressed frustration. “While we have very different visions for America, as well as different opinions on policy, I wish him well in the next six years,” Levy said.
With her husband and sons standing on stage behind her, Levy thanked her supporters, her family, her staff and the volunteers and donors who contributed to the campaign. “It has been one of the greatest honors of my life, to meet so many of you, to hear your stories, to share in your struggles,” Levy said. “I will not stop fighting for you.”
Both candidates had pledged, prior to casting their votes, that they would accept the outcome of the election without question.
Throughout the campaign Blumenthal, who served in both chambers of the Connecticut General Assembly and as state attorney general for 20 years before heading to Washington, leaned into his nearly four decades of experience.
He frequently pointed to his record of protecting consumers. As attorney general, he was part of multi-state settlement with tobacco companies, and pursued online safety and antitrust issues. During the current congressional session, Blumenthal successfully pushed for a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that will allow Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs, a longtime goal of the senator’s.
In a speech at his party’s election night gathering Tuesday, Blumenthal said, “Let me just say to all the people who voted for me and all the people who didn’t vote for me, I am going to continue fighting tirelessly relentlessly against special interests.”
Levy’s campaign frequently criticized the senator’s record, calling him a “career politician” who was a “rubber stamp” for the policies of President Joe Biden. Blumenthal repeatedly referenced Levy’s support for and from Trump — an endorsement she took care to downplay.
Levy focused her campaign on what she argued were damaging policies coming from a federal government fully controlled by Democrats in the White House and in Congress. She called out affordability and public safety as top priorities, tying border security to fentanyl overdoses in her campaign ads and blaming her opponent for lax oversight. During a debate with Sen. Blumenthal, Levy accused Democrats of “deliberately” causing inflation by passing costly legislation.
The candidates also clashed over abortion. Levy, who has changed her position over the years, said she currently opposes abortion with exceptions for rape, incest or if the life of a pregnant person is endangered. She said she supports the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and send the issue of abortion access back to the states.
Blumenthal said he has worked to protect the choice for women, as a part of Connecticut’s effort to codify the right through state law. He said he believes the decision to terminate a pregnancy should be between a patient and a doctor and that he would support codifying abortion protections at the federal level, a bill that has stalled in the divided Senate.
Connecticut has gone deep blue at the national level for years. The state’s congressional delegation is made up of all Democrats, and Republicans have not won a Senate seat since 1982, when Lowell Weicker won reelection.
While Blumenthal won his two previous races handily, he said last week that he wasn’t taking anything for granted, adding he always works “like I’m 10 points behind.” He packed his schedule with multiple events a day and led by double digits in the polls for much of the campaign.
Levy struggled to fundraise for her campaign. Last month, Trump held a fundraiser for Levy at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to help her compete with Blumenthal, who stockpiled millions of dollars and has been heavily spending it over the past few months.
CT Mirror staff reporter Dave Altimari contributed to this article.