Mayor Stewart’s former campaign headquarters is one of 20 “RNC Community Centers” in the nation where “Stop The Steal” workshops are occurring
By John McNamara
Ronna McDaniel, the national Republican Party’s Chairperson and Donald Trump sycophant, made her way to New Britain this week to blast not one Democrat but all Democrats as favoring “greed, communism, and crazy. And that’s what they are for.” New Britain may be an unlikely town for the Republican Party to base its operations in blue Connecticut, but early this year Mayor Erin Stewart handed the keys to her West Main Street headquarters over to the Republican National Committee (RNC).
An RNC Center in New Britain is purportedly part of an urban strategy to help George Logan, a former state senator newly relocated to the 5th Congressional District (CD), defeat U.S. Rep Jahana Hayes (D-5) on November 8th. Large winning margins for the Democratic nominee in New Britain have kept the state’s most competitive CD blue ever since Chris Murphy toppled Nancy Johnson (R-6) in 2006. The RNC gambit here is to cut into that Democratic base with outreach to Hispanic and Black precincts in the cities. Like Hayes, Logan is an African American.
On Wednesday (September 14) McDaniel was touting Logan and U.S. Senate Nominee and Trump endorsed Leora Levy of Greenwich at the store front gathering of Republican officials that drew plenty of Connecticut media.
“The Democrats do not care about our families, they do not care about our kids, they do not care because their priorities in Washington have done anything but help the American people and they do not care, but you know what? We do,” said McDaniel in shrill talking points on behalf of Republican candidates as reported by CT News Junkie.
Not to be seen at the rally, however, were Republican Gubernatorial Nominee Bob Stefanowski and Mayor Stewart, who obligingly cut the ribbon on the RNC Community Center in March but was no where near the place this week.
Stewart would have had a hard time standing next to McDaniel as McDaniel accused Democrats of not caring about our “families” and “kids”. Her administration is using the Biden Administration’s $56 million in local COVID funding as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a law that was enacted without a single Republican vote in the U.S. House. Stewart is announcing initiatives and projects with barely a mention that the money comes from the Democrats’ “Washington priorities” trashed by McDaniel, Logan and Levy on the campaign trail. Now the Inflation Reduction Act is on the way, also without a single Republican vote in Congress, with provisions on energy, climate and local aid that mayors are lining up for in a pandemic recovery.
In state politics, Stewart doesn’t really owe Republicans anything for this election cycle. They have not been kind to the multi-term mayor in a Democratic city who pundits say would have cross-over appeal in a general election. Her cancelled gubernatorial run and primary loss for Lt Governor in 2018 showed the GOP base would never support her socially moderate views and weren’t interested in her “fiscally responsible” budgets that, Democratic critics say, rely heavily on borrowing to kick current obligations down the road.
It’s also possible that Stefanowski, who purchased the Republican nomination for a second time, snubbed Stewart even to be on a short list in picking a Lt. Governor candidate this year. With the Trump effect still in play, the party has moved further to the fringe on a woman’s right to choose, guns and the right to vote. Though Stewart is as partisan a Republican as there is in governing, it is not in her interest inside New Britain to be associated with the Republican Party at least for now. Her plentiful “Democrats for Stewart” lawn signs in municipal years confirm the unwritten rule that the label Republican shall never be used.
New Britain’s RNC Center, one of 20 around the country targeting Black and Hispanic voters, does not appear to be an operations center yet for turning blue to red in New Britain aside from some anecdotal reports of door-to-door activity in the city. The office has been largely shuttered save for a grand opening in March and this week’s rally. Ominously, it has been the site for the GOP’s “election security” training held out of the public eye. A “Learn how to become a poll watcher” workshop drew the ire of Democratic Party Chair Nancy Dinardo and Common Cause CT in July, a sure sign that even in Connecticut the “Stop the Steal” movement and false claims of 2020 vote fraud are being embraced by the CT GOP to the detriment of voter access and participation in 2022.
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