Channel 3 hosts only Senate Debate for Blumenthal, Levy
ROCKY HILL, CT (WFSB) - Channel 3 and CT Insider hosted the only live Senate debate between U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and challenger Leora Levy at the WFSB studios in Rocky Hill.
Both candidates accepted invitations and debated several issues Wednesday night.
It’s an important race in the midterm election because Republicans hope to break the current split in the Senate.
This was the first time Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, and Leora Levy, a Republican, were in the same place together to discuss the issues on people’s minds.
There was a stark contrast between them.
In six days, Connecticut voters will pick one of them. They will decide whether to return Blumenthal back to Washington or elect Levy.
Blumenthal is a longtime incumbent seeking his third term.
Levy is a businesswoman who has never held an elected office.
“I want to make life more affordable and safer for the people of Connecticut,” Blumenthal said.
It was clear the economy and inflation were the number one issue for voters.
“People tell me I can’t pay my bills. It doesn’t have to be this way they want to provide a good life and provide for their families,” Levy said. “First thing I would do is stop the spending. A Republican majority will not fund the 87,000 IRS agents that my opponent voted for in the ‘Biden-Blumenthal build inflation back better act.’ By the way, it will not reduce inflation, and it will not affect climate change.”
“Cut the federal gas tax on energy products on gasoline. In addition, provide more of the kind of strategic petroleum reserve that is necessary. Those tax cuts. The child tax credit would be in effect today if republicans had agreed to renew them,” Blumenthal said.
Levy said she graded the economy an F. Blumenthal felt hopeful the country can reach an “A“ under his tenure.
Levy called Blumenthal a rubber stamp for what she called Biden’s failed policies and that too much spending led to inflation.
Blumenthal supported the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act, which he said will help millions of Americans get back on their feet from the crippling pandemic.
The candidates also discussed crime.
“I supported a bipartisan measure to penalize any city or town that defunded the police, I think we simply provided more funding,” Blumenthal said. “We have to hold police accountable but we also must give them the support.”
“I was endorsed by the State Fraternal Order of Police because they know that I will always have their back,” Levy said.
Candidates were also asked whether they would support a federal law protecting same-sex marriage rights and the use of contraceptives.
“I know that Justice Thomas referred to it but that’s not where I stand, I don’t see that those two issues have anything to do with the Roe V Wade decision, the reversing Roe V Wade, I’d send it back to the state where it belongs,” Levy said.
“Forgive me, but I’m not buying it,” Blumenthal said. “The fact is my opponent celebrated the end of Roe V Wade. To say unconnected to possible ban on contraception or any other violation of rights to privacy is simply disingenuous. That’s why Clerance Thomas raised them.”
One of the panelist was Channel 3′s Chief Political Reporter Susan Raff. One point she noticed was what role former President Donald Trump played Wednesday night.
Blumenthal is pro-choice, supports background checks and laws banning ghost guns. Levy is anti-abortion, pro-second amendment and objects to laws like the one in Connecticut that allows temporary seizure of firearms from owners considered unfit.
“Believe it or not she did not mention once throughout the entire one hour debate. Senator Blumenthal mentioned it several times and he wants voters to know that she said she has Trump’s back,” Raff said.
Recent polls, including one commissioned by WFSB, showed Blumenthal with a 13-point lead over Levy.
Ron Schurin, a political science professor at the University of Connecticut, said voters should have expected some jabs from Levy during the debate.
“Sure, what else can a candidate from a bad end of a poll do except go hard?” Schurin said.
After the debate, both candidates were given the chance to clarify or talk to the media.
Blumenthal stayed and answered reporter questions.
Levy, however, quickly left and sent her campaign consultant to tell us why.
“She won the debate.”
Susan: “But she was asked to stay here.”
“I don’t have anything for you on that. She won the debate,” the consultant said.
Eyewitness News anchor Mark Zinni served as moderator.
Panelists for the debate were WFSB Chief Political Reporter Susan Raff, CT Insider state politics reporter Julia Bergman, WSHU Radio senior political reporter Ebong Udoma, and Associated Press political writer Susan Haigh.
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