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Democrats Have Opportunity to Raise Diversity Bar in Senate Race

The race for the 2012 Democratic Senate nomination in Connecticut could be historic in terms of racial diversity.   Right now there are only two announced candidates, former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Congressman Chris Murphy, but two other Democrats are strongly considering running, and each would make state history. 

Former State Treasurer Frank Borges  has been exploring a possible run, and State Representative William Tong, the first Asian-American elected to the state legislature,  is also considering launching a campaign.      More on Borges here:       http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/borges-being-urged-to-jump-in-senate-race/       and Tong here:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/state-representative-tong-interested-in-lieberman-seat/

Both would start behind Bysiewicz and Murphy in the endorsement game, but both are good campaigners who could easily raise funds, and they feel, bring new people to the process.     Both have told me they have been encouraged to run by supporters and there are still plenty of endorsements that might not be doled out until next year.    

The Republican race is still wide open, without a single candidate declared.  Their potential pool of candidates isn’t as diverse as the Democrats, but historically, Republicans have an edge in diversity over Democrats in their nominations for the U.S. Senate.   37 years ago, Republicans nominated James “Buddy” Brannen to take on Senator Abe Ribicoff.   Brannen, from Colchester, was the first black Republican elected to the state legislature.     In 1998, former Congressman Gary Franks took on Chris Dodd.

Democrats broke the glass ceiling in 1976,  when Gloria Schaffer became the first woman nominated.  She went on to lose to Lowell Weicker.   Last year Republicans nominated their first woman, Linda McMahon.   

              State Representatives Ernest Hewett (D) New London and Prasad Srinivasan (R) Glastonbury

A Republican who made history in November is one of our guests this weekend on Face the State with Dennis House.  Freshman State Representative Prasad Srinivasan of Glastonbury is the first Indian American ever elected to the General Assembly.  He was joined on Face by Democrat Ernest Hewett of New London.  Representative Hewett beams when he says the Black and Latino caucus has more members than ever, and he is excited about the prospect of such a diverse race for the U.S. Senate.   “I think it is beautiful, awesome that those people are able to do that.  This is America, if these people want to run, they can run.”   

The potential senate slate and the makeup of the General Assembly reflect the changing population of our state.  The new 2010 census shows the Asian segment of the population soared by nearly 65% in the first decade of this century, the fastest growing segment in the Connecticut population.  The Latino and Black segments also grew. 

Tune in this Sunday at 11 AM for Face the State.

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