“This is our victory; a joint victory!” — Len Suzio to FIC Action Committee, Election Night, 2011
“This is the big one,” was how we described Len Suzio’s race to you on Election Eve. While our other two endorsed candidates lost their special elections, last night we won the big one! Len Suzio is the first Republican to win Connecticut’s 13th Senatorial District in a generation—and he won by about 1,500 votes!
Len’s victory was, first and foremost, his own. A brilliant and tireless candidate, Len won the heart of a district that has known him for decades. He assembled the most impressive campaign staff we have ever seen, led by legendary Connecticut conservative activist Tom Scott and assisted by some very competent young people from the Senate Republicans.
But it was also—as Len told Peter Wolfgang election night—FIC Action Committee’s victory. In fact, it was our biggest victory ever. We expended more time and resources on Len Suzio’s 2011 special election than on any other race in over four years—and this time, with far better results.
FIC Action Committee volunteers, old and new, went door to door in freezing cold temperatures for Len. We made phone calls for Len. On Election Day alone, we logged about 700 phone calls. We also phone-banked and/or mailed all 1,800 of our own members in the district, asking them to vote for Len. We handed out campaign literature at key locations in Meriden.
We were not alone. Connecticut Right to Life, the Tea Party, Second Amendment activists, homeschoolers and others all stood shoulder-to-shoulder with FIC Action Committee in helping to elect Len. And therein lies a lesson for Connecticut’s Republican Party.
In the eight contested special elections yesterday, only two Republicans won–and each offers a path to an alternate future for the state’s GOP.
NARAL endorsee Noreen Kokoruda (R-Madison) beat Joan Lewis (D-Madison) largely because of the natural demographics of the district. Madison was traditionally a Republican stronghold and last night’s results followed traditional voting patterns.
But the number of state House and Senate districts that lean Republican are a minority. Thus the strategy of nominating socially liberal Republicans like Kokoruda and Janet Peckinpaugh (R-Essex) is a path to permanent minority status for the Connecticut Republican Party.
In contrast, Len Suzio was victorious in a heavily Democratic district by about 1,500 votes. Why was Suzio so successful? He targeted voters in the district with a message that was both fiscally and socially conservative. His campaign had the support of volunteers from FIC Action Committee and the Tea Party.
Republican leaders in Connecticut should take his campaign as a model for future efforts— when the GOP establishment, the Tea Party and FIC Action Committee work together, victory is achieved. We saw this last year with the State Senate victories of Joe Markley and Jason Welch; the victory of Suzio further validates the point.
Paid for by FIC Action Committee, Lawrence Taffner, Treasurer
(A version of this message originally appeared as an email blast earlier today)