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Ahead of primary, Republican U.S. Senate candidates split on contentious issues

The candidate who wins the primary race will face Democrat incumbent Richard Blumenthal in the November general election.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Tuesday night, Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate battled it out on the debate stage in New Haven.

The candidate who wins the Republican primary race will face Democrat incumbent Richard Blumenthal in the November general election.

That candidate will attempt to unseat over a decade of Democrat control in the Senate. On election day- Tuesday, Aug. 9 -voters will decide whether a staunch conservative or a more moderate candidate is better suited.

RELATED: A look ahead at Connecticut primary races coming this August

A clear divide appeared Tuesday between endorsed party favorite Themis Klarides and the other candidates, Leora Levy and Peter Lumaj. Levy and Lumaj insinuated Klarides’ views are more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

“She’s the center-left candidate and if the voters, the primary voters, want a leftist who claims to be a Republican, that will be Themis,” Lumaj said. “If they want a true conservative, unwavering conservative that from 2010 to present, I never changed my positions. I'm the true conservative in the race.”

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Levy argued she’s the only true conservative, claiming Lumaj and Klarides are working together.

“Frankly, to me, it looks like there really are only two campaigns in this race,” said Levy. “It looks like they're colluding.”

“The notion that there's collusion or there's, you know, two campaigns–I honestly don't know really what she's talking about,” countered Klarides.

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Issues like abortion, gun control and the economy divided this primary race. Both Levy and Lumaj are running pro-life and pro-gun.

Lumaj says the Supreme Court “got it right” overturning Roe v. Wade, but claims opponent Levy flip-flopped her views on abortion.

Levy said “no,” and instead cited a change of heart, adding “life begins at conception.”

On the other side, Klarides on the other side stated multiple times she is pro-choice. 

A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed a 45 to 43% job approval rating for Blumenthal–his lowest since he took office 12 years ago.


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