HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — All of Connecticut’s five U.S. Representatives are up for re-election on November 8th.
All of the Republican candidates for Congress this year have had a hard time raising money, especially in heavily Democratic districts. The 1st Congressional District is considered one of those reliably Democratic districts. It’s the one that’s shaped like a claw includes most of Greater Hartford and comes as far south as Southington, Berlin, Cromwell and Portland.
For the past 18 years, Democrat John Larson has represented the 1st Congressional District. He has never faced competitive challengers in this heavily Democratic area since his first run in 1998.
He is being challenged by Matt Corey, who owns McKinnon’s Irish Pub, a popular watering hole in downtown Hartford. A lifelong Republican, he also owns a city window washing business.
His pitch to voters is simple;
“Are you any better off? Here’s a guy that’s been down there 18 years. Just like Donald Trump said about Hillary Clinton; ‘All of a sudden you’re the jobs guy’ after 18 years? You have a program for the North End of Hartford? Where have you been?,” says Corey.
Larson responds by noting that work is up at the region’s largest employer; Pratt & Whitney, because of defense department jet engine contracts he helped secure. And the submarine contract in southeastern Connecticut that also provides thousands of ripple down jobs.
“Even though the sub is built in Groton, we have more suppliers, we have 182 suppliers, up in the 1st Congressional District,” said Larson.
Corey, a Navy veteran, also faults Larson for a vote last year.
“He voted against the ‘Veterans Accountability Act.’ You hear he’s always a staunch supporter of the veterans; you can’t be when you vote against the ‘Veterans Accountability Act,” said Corey.
Larson calls that an ‘incomplete, GOP talking point’ because the original version of the bill did not include protections for ‘whistle blowers’ at the VA.
“Back in September we again voted on the ‘Veterans Accountability Act’ and everybody in the delegation, where they previously had voted against it, voted for it because it made its improvements,” said Larson.
Corey, who is also a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, says Larson and the Democrats have been ‘pandering to illegals.’
“I agree with Donald Trump; ‘America First.’ We have kids and we have suffering right here in this country that needs to be addressed and has been forgotten for a long time,” Corey added.
Larson says deporting millions of people is not realistic and that he supports comprehensive immigration reform.
“People that are here illegally go to the back of the line, they’re fined, they pay their taxes, they learn the language, stay in line and then ‘Welcome to America,” said Larson.
The Green Party also has a candidate on the ballot in the 1st Congressional District; He is Michael DeRosa of Wethersfield.