News /

Connecticut state police union endorses Republican Themis Klarides against Sen. Blumenthal

HARTFORD — In a high-profile move, the Connecticut state police union Tuesday endorsed Republican Themis Klarides for U.S. Senate.

The union’s executive committee made the unanimous choice soon after Klarides entered the race against two-term incumbent Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

‘Her concern for public safety has been proven repeatedly over the 22 years she served in Connecticut’s House of Representatives,’ said the union president, John Castiline.

Klarides is seen as having an uphill fight against Blumenthal, who has more than $7 million in campaign cash on hand. In a deep blue state, Republicans have not won a Senate race since Lowell P. Weicker Jr. in 1982 as the seat has been dominated by major Democratic leaders such as Chris Dodd, Joe Lieberman, Chris Murphy and Blumenthal.

But colleagues say Klarides has never been known to back down from a challenge. Her entrance into the race immediately gave Republicans a top-tier candidate against Blumenthal, a Democrat who was facing three lesser-known Republicans who have never held major offices.

Republican supporters are energized by an outspoken, hard-charging woman with more than two decades of experience in the legislature, including six years as House Republican leader. Known as a collaborator who held her caucus together, Klarides also had a no-nonsense style that included blunt criticism of Gov. Ned Lamont at times.

The troopers said Klarides backed them in the long-running battle over staffing that called for a state-mandated minimum of 1,248 troopers on the job. That number was included in state law, but it was taken out in a budget-implementation bill when Democrat Dannel P. Malloy was serving as governor.

Klarides also backed the troopers when Malloy announced in 2011 that 56 troopers would be laid off to cut costs and help balance the state budget.

The decision to lay off the 56 rookie troopers marked the first trooper layoffs since the state’s fiscal crisis in 1991. The state suffered through recessions, budget deficits, Wall Street losses and economic ups and downs during the two decades of 1991 to 2011, but troopers had always been treated as a specialized class in the state workforce and not subject to reductions.

‘We are confident that Representative Klarides will continue her support for our Connecticut state troopers if she is elected to the U.S. Senate,’ the union said.”