Connecticut lawmakers are trending much more liberal than nearly any other state, according to an analysis by the Center for Legislative Accountability (CLA), a project of the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACU) and the Conservative Political Action Coalition (CPAC).
“In CPAC’s analysis of all 7,400 state lawmakers in America, the Connecticut legislature earned a conservative rating of a mere 30%, far below many other traditionally liberal states such as Washington (39%) and Illinois (37%),” a CLA press release said. “Most notably, the number of lawmakers earning CPAC’s ‘Coalition of Radical Left’ Award more than tripled to 76, compared to the analysis conducted in 2019 where 23 lawmakers earned the award.”
CPAC’s scorecard for Connecticut is based on voting records for state lawmakers in 2021 for a slew of issues ranging from fiscal and tax policy to “cultural and life issues” and voting policy. “Only 13 Connecticut Republicans received awards this year from CPAC for voting with the conservative position at least 80% of the time,” the press release said.
The Connecticut Scorecard issued by CPAC lists Connecticut senators and representatives, assessing how often they voted in line with CPAC’s conservative stances. Connecticut Republicans averaged 67 percent, while Democrats averaged 10 percent.
Among the highest-rated conservative politicians in Connecticut were Sen. Rob Sampson, R-Wolcott, and Representatives Anne Dauphinais, R-Killingly, and Gale Mastrofrancesco, R-Wolcott.
The “Radical Left Coalition,” who earned less than a 10 percent rating from CPAC, were too numerous to name, but included Senate President Pro-Tem Martin Looney, D-New Haven, and Speaker of the House Matthew Ritter, D-Hartford.
CPAC and CLA rated out-going Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, as the lowest rated Senate Republican at 56 percent and Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, as the highest rated Senate Democrat with a 22 percent rating.
In the House, Rep. Kathleen McCarty, R-Waterford, was the lowest rated Republican with a 41 percent rating and Rep. Patrick Boyd, D-Pomfret, was the highest rated Democrat with a 29 percent rating.
In the scorecard, CPAC and CLA list the bills voted on in the House and Senate when evaluating each lawmaker’s position, with some interesting descriptions of the bills and the American Conservative Union’s take on them.
According to Pew Research Center, 33 percent of Connecticut residents described themselves as conservative, while 34 percent said they were moderate and 25 percent liberal. According to an analysis by The Economist that looked at public policy in states going back to 1970, Connecticut policy has grown more “liberal” and more heavily in favor of the Democratic Party, in line with states like Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
Despite having several Republican governors through the nineties and early 2000s, Connecticut’s legislature has been majority Democrat for decades, landing the state of Connecticut in solid blue territory. That was nearly reversed in 2016, when the state Senate was evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, and Democrats held a small majority in the House.
That balance, however, was disrupted in 2018 when Democrats once again secured strong majorities in an election sweep many blamed on the influence of President Donald Trump.
Democrats took 23 of the 36 senate seats in that race, 92 of the 151 House seats and held the governor’s seat when Ned Lamont defeated Bob Stefanowski in the gubernatorial election to replace Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Since then, Democrats have maintained a strong hold over the General Assembly and either pursued or implemented a number of policies at odds with CPAC’s goals, according to their scorecard.
Despite initial predictions earlier this year of a red wave coming this electoral season in light of record high inflation, several factors, including the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, have led to predictions that wave may not materialize.
How that will play out for Connecticut’s legislative and gubernatorial elections is up in the air.