SEYMOUR, Conn. (WTNH) — Donald Trump may be trailing Hillary Clinton in national opinion polls, but Connecticut Republicans say he is still very popular in certain areas of the state. That is expected to help some Republican candidates for the state legislature.
Just like across the nation, there are places where Donald Trump is expected to do well on November 8th. One of those places is the 105th State House District which includes the Naugatuck Valley towns of Derby, Seymour and Beacon Falls.
Three-term State Representative Theresa Conroy is one of the rare incumbent Democratic elected officials in this Naugatuck Valley district. She spent 29 years as a registered nurse at the VA Hospital in West Haven. Her challenger is Republican Seymour Deputy First Selectwoman Nicole Klarides-Ditria. An athletic trainer by profession, she is also the sister of nearby State Rep. Themis Klarides, the current Minority Leader in the State House of Representatives.
The family name is well known in the Valley from when they owned local supermarkets here. There is another big factor in this district; Donald Trump. A name so big and popular in the valley that Republicans think his popularity will trickle down the ballot and help them win the district.
“Probably 90 percent of the people I talk to are voting for him in this district; in Seymour, Derby and Beacon Falls,” said Klarides-Ditria.
Conroy says she knows Trump is popular here, but feels constituents will support her because of her independent streak.
“I have people telling me; ‘put the law sign, I want your lawn sign, I want a big lawn sign but I hope you don’t mind if it’s right next to a Donald Trump sign,” said Conroy.
Republicans also feel that Gov. Malloy‘s unpopularity here, and the slow growth economy and weak job growth, will also help them put this district back in their column.
“People are so unhappy with Malloy; they’re now taking,..they understand that it’s the Democratic Party, that is, the House and Senate that’s controlled by the Democrats now for thirty of the past forty years. It’s their policies that have caused…that have caused these problems,” Klarides-Ditria added.
But there’s one big recent victory for Malloy and the Democrats that rings quite loudly here. The deal to keep Sikorsky.
“There’s about 700 employees directly working at Sikorsky’s in my district …although some people say that state government shouldn’t be putting out these incentives, people in this district really did appreciate that,” said Conroy.
Conroy also says she showed independence from the Governor when she, and other Democrats, fought him on cuts to state hospitals, especially Griffin Hospital in Derby.
“This past year when he was going after the hospitals, their funding and cutting that; that was a very big issue in my district. That was probably the number one reason that people were contacting me about the budget; was to save our hospital,” Conroy adds.
Klarides-Ditria is hoping to ride a perceived wave of voter discontent against all Democrats because of the constant budget crisis at the State Capitol.
“We need to create jobs. We need to make no…spend no more money than we make and unfortunately that’s what they’re doing in Hartford right now,” said Klarides-Ditria.