Update: CT U.S. Senate Primary Peter Lumaj is the Best Candidate

Written by Juliana Simone

August 9, 2022

{The featured image here shows Peter Lumaj as the 2014 State Party Secretary of the State Nominee receiving almost 500, 000 votes statewide, including inner city and cross over votes.}

In late 2021, Peter Lumaj cleared the field of all potential candidates speaking with any fellow Republicans he thought might also be considering a run against Senator Richard Blumenthal in 2022. Two of the people he asked were Themis Klarides, the former State House Minority Leader for two terms of her eleven terms, and CT Republican National Committee member Leora Levy, who replaced long-serving and well-respected Pat Longo. Both women declined, telling Lumaj that Blumenthal could not be beaten and wishing him luck.

Klarides had an exploratory campaign to run for Governor, and said that was the office she was seeking. The other said she was thinking of running against Connecticut’s second Senator Chris Murphy in two years. Veteran and small business owner, Matthew Corey, an exceptional candidate who took on both Congressman John Larson and Senator Murphy in previous years, said he tried very hard for some time and was not interested in a run in 2022. Others also passed, happy to hear Lumaj was going to run against Blumenthal. He filed his papers with the FEC in late November of 2021.

Waiting two months to publicly announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate to challenge Richard Blumenthal, Peter Lumaj appeared on the Capitol steps in mid-January to hold his press conference.

Lumaj brought attention to state and national news by pointing out that Blumenthal had just attended the CT Communist Party Awards Dinner in New Haven and gave the group high praise. Not a view popular with voters, this gave a new vulnerability to Blumenthal. He had not had a chip in his thin veneer since press exposed in his first run for the U.S. Senate against retired Colonel and U.S. Congressman Rob Simmons that Blumenthal had lied about serving overseas in Vietnam.

Klarides hearing from Republican Town Committees and their state convention delegates that they were sticking with Bob Stefanowski to challenge democrat Governor Ned Lamont a second time, saw her hopes to be Governor dashed. She had to close her exploratory committee and call it a day.

Former State Senate Minority Leader, John McKinney, saved Klarides’ political career and the jobs of her expensive campaign staffers, by giving her a dog whistle on a local Sunday morning political news show suggesting she switch from the Governors’ race to the U.S. Senate race. McKinney said Lumaj was a nice guy, and a fellow Fairfield RTC member like himself, but Themis had the moderate values Connecticut residents’ shared unlike the announced conservative Lumaj. Klarides jumped the sinking ship for Head of State and announced days before the end of January she was switching to the U.S. Senate race.

Leora Levy, sniffing opportunity with the incoming red wave, threw her hat into the ring days later.  Her opening argument to CT Republicans as the last entry in the race was that she was the only one of the three candidates who knew anyone in Washington.

Repackaging herself weeks later she then claimed and continues to claim to be the outsider in this race. She loses this statement right out of the box for three reasons:

One, she is a member of the Republican National Committee. Right there, this makes Levy an insider. Outsiders are not RNC members, or on a smaller level, not State Central Committee members for the state party. (Two people elected to represent each senate district within their state.) She has been a RNC member since 2017, so is not someone new who thinks she might have made a mistake joining this organization. Additionally, she sat on the RNC finance committee which brought her further into the circle, and more connected to D.C. insiders.

Two, Levy was a Jeb Bush supporter in 2016 and throughout his career. Supporting Jeb Bush for President 2016 out of that long bench of candidates that year, she, like any of his supporters, didn’t like the way Trump spoke to Bush on stage and disliked the “low energy” moniker Trump attached to Jeb. The Bush family as a whole including the two former Presidents, (41 and 43) and their wives, were very public with their negative comments about Trump, and were firmly implanted in the “Never Trumper” clan. Their bitterness and scorn was so deep, even before Election Day they all vowed to vote for Democrat challenger but fellow swamper, Hillary Clinton.

Three, Levy has served as a rainmaker for national GOP candidates through her RNC post, giving her insider status and VIP access in D.C. Looking up her political contributions, Levy’s thousand dollar donation to former liberal Democrat Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, public records show, she wrote the personal check alone.

It was interesting to see many of her donations were to real insiders in the Republican party such as Senate Majority or Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former House Minority Leader Paul Ryan.

Levy and her advisors continue to parallel her campaign with U.S. Senate candidate and refugee Peter Lumaj. Borrowing his whole story, she was advertised as being from a communist country, and her public narrative was that her parents had to ‘escape’, too. She became ProLife, a firm supporter of the Second Amendment, was the biggest advocate for President Trump, touted as the only true conservative, and without any factual basis, was said to be the only one who could beat Blumenthal.

In the only debate between the three candidates, Levy’s chryon generated screen description had a bullet point that highlighted she had escaped Communist Cuba.

At three years old, she was taken into her parents arms and landed in America with a granted visa.

Different from actually climbing mountains, crawling under barbwire and evading search lights hoping not to be shot like Lumaj, who truly escaped a brutal Communist country.

Klarides got into the mix excelling her own family background story during various public appearances, beginning with the story that her grandparents left Greece for opportunity in America, but then changed the story that her grandparents had escaped communist Greece and then finally stating that they fled the Greek genocide. This Connecticut U.S. Senate race became a war of the refugees.

The winner in this contest (though he’d much rather not be) is Peter Lumaj. His father was tortured to death in a concentration camp in Albania for allowing his sons to escape to freedom.

And for Levy? She said in her first address to town committees and many speeches to follow, that at the age of 3, she had to leave a shiny red new tricycle behind when her parents left Cuba. This is when Levy learned communism was bad.

Themis, also chiming in with her own version of a miserable childhood story, said she wanted to work as a lifeguard in the summer but had to scoop ice cream in her family grocery store instead. Her current TV ads show a black and white photo of a store front that were the family’s beginnings. They went on to own the whole shopping plaza which allowed them to move into the real estate business. Both Klarides and Levy grew up in privileged homes. Levy went to Ivy League college to become a highly paid broker, and Klarides went to Law School before seeking out the bonus of being an elected official.

This is back story information but it’s relevant for people outside of CT just learning of our U.S. Senate race in CT due to the Trump endorsement for Levy last Friday. This information is also relevant to our own voters who don’t know these details.  

Levy has shown herself on the campaign trail as unprofessional innumerable times.

Having direct interaction with her for the first time after she failed to show up on time for the Danbury RTC monthly meeting, she blamed her staff when speaking to the Chair, and said she would find out who made this mistake. Disinterested, when she asked him if she could speak to anyone still here, he said sure, whoever’s left. This was me, my partner and the Mayor of Danbury. Wearing my Lumaj jacket she waved me off and said oh, you’re with Peter, can I talk to both of you? So self involved, she failed to notice the huge insignia on the Mayors windbreaker, that said “Mayor of Danbury.” She rattled on for ten minutes about her amazing achievements, finishing saying “and this is why I am the only candidate that can beat Blumenthal.”

Despite the fact I have a long resume in terms of titles, as staff, I politely said at this point, we feel the same way about Peter. At this, she quickly stepped closer to me, and pointed her finger in my face, and yelled at me. “Yah? Well, He’s going to Lose. HE’S Going to Lose.” She then asked for all of our names, as if she was writing them down to report us to someone. Hearing Dean Esposito say he was the Mayor, her cross nature changed, and she offered him her business card so that they could speak privately.

As a Chairman of an RTC since 2010, public access cable show host for fourteen years that has interviewed Former U.S Congressmen Chris Shays and Rob Simmons, as well as Peter Schiff, sitting state legislators, federal and local candidates, I have never seen such an unprofessional response.

Another Chairman who wrestled with voting for her or Lumaj, that chose Peter pr-convention and still supports his candidacy, described her as “easily triggered.”

Perfect analysis after his own moment in July when he asked a simple question to her at a public event of a group he was a member of and officer at the time.

Levy’s only prior run for office she lost, when in 2021 she hoped to be the Republican State Senate nominee in a special election which included her own hometown of Greenwich. Her Senate District delegation voted twenty to nine for her opponent, Ryan Fazio. Fazio went on to beat the democrat challenger and holds the seat in the Connecticut State Senate today for the Republican Party. Good choice. Likability is a key factor in electability.

Read here an opinion recently published from Hearst Media journalist on Leora Levy:

https://www.ctinsider.com/columnist/article/Dan-Haar-Leora-Levy-a-political-insider-in-17315734.php

The local media writes so many negative portraits of Lumaj. Surfing the web, it is astounding how they describe this hard working, self made, and deeply admired man. If he was not a Republican, worse, a conservative, they would laud his candidacy and promote him twenty four seven. One newspaper article said he lost as a “candidate” for the Secretary of the State office in twenty fourteen, leaving out he was the State Party endorsed candidate. Winning much of the election night until the big cities came in, Lumaj outperformed the top of the ticket in Waterbury, proving his inner city voter appeal, and receiving almost a half million votes in this statewide race.

But, some people either fear or envy great people like Lumaj, so they do their best to keep them down. Even today, updating this post, a local radio host blocked Lumaj from his agreed upon call in time for a Levy supporter instead, who used the time the program knew Lumaj voters were tuning in to make derogatory comments about Levy’s opponents.

Levy, got a much needed boost by former President Trump’s phone-in endorsement at a RTC a few days ago. This brought some much needed new life to a withering campaign. Trump must not have been aware of the searing Letter to the Editor Levy wrote in the Greenwich Times in 2016 which described him as vulgar among other negative notations. Or he forgot. Or no longer cared listening to the people who advised him to endorse her. Fellow Chairmen and Republicans wonder how much that helps a candidate here in Connecticut, however. Especially one that was shouting at fellow candidate Lumaj during the last two minutes of his speech at an event demanding he drop out of the race a week earlier.

Regardless of all that is mentioned here, Peter Lumaj has a true grassroots campaign and the love of his supporters is something his opponents or detractors cannot take away. August 9th will be an interesting day. Does Connecticut stay the same and vote, as Lumaj has said in numerous speeches, for the party favorite and let Hartford or Washington decide who our state’s candidate should be? Or is the ground swell growing enough here in what was the Constitution State to vote in the man who is, and has always been, the true Constitutionalist? They broke the mold when Peter Lumaj was created. Americans who love liberty and freedom should wish him the best today. Connecticut Primary Voters – be honored to have a candidate like this on your ballot. Cast your vote for Peter Lumaj.

Peter Lumaj, U.S. Senate Candidate R-CT

For more about U.S. Senate Candidate Peter Lumaj:

Editor’s Note: The writer of this article is an advisor on the Lumaj for U.S. Senate campaign and the Chairman of the Barkhamsted Republican Town Committee.

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