Barack Obama carried Connecticut by an overwhelming majority two years ago when he ran for president. But President Obama's campaign appearances in Connecticut Thursday night holds both risks and rewards for Democrat Richard Blumenthal, who seeks to help Democrats keep retiring Sen. Chris Dodd's Senate seat.
The risks? Obama's popularity has fallen in this reliably Democratic state. It could be a risk for the four-year veteran of Connecticut politics and the state's attorney general to appear side-by-side with the president. Thursday night Obama will hold a fundraising event with Blumenthal in Stamford, and then has a DNC event at a private home in Greenwich.
"President Barack Obama appears to be a drag on Blumenthal, even in Connecticut, where the president's job approval rating is a negative 45 - 52 percent, " said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, PhD. "For attorney General Blumenthal, an elected official with a 70 percent rating, this race is surprisingly close. "
The Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday shows Blumenthal with a 51 percent to 45 percent lead against Republican former pro-wrestling executive Linda McMahon. Blumenthal is holding on to a lead but the new number is a significant slide for the Democrat, who enjoyed a 17-point lead in July's poll.
The Rewards? One word --- cash. McMahon is pouring millions of dollars from her personal wealth into this tight Senate race.
The McMahon family has built a furtune as owners of World Wrestling Entertainment. With seven weeks to go, the Blumenthal campaign needs to raise and spend as much as possible to counter McMahon's fortune and her pricey and aggressive media campaign. President Obama can help him with that. The president remains a reliable fundraiser for Democrats, even in an election season that seems to favor the anti-Washington establishment message.
The Blumenthal campaign had $2.1 million in cash on hand at the end of the second fundraising quarter.
Campaign manager Mindy Myers said that Blumenthal welcomes the president's trip to Connecticut, as well as the cash he can help raise. "It's an honor to have the president's support, and his visit will help make a difference for our campaign by energizing our supporters and helping raise the resources we will need against our opponent, who is spending an unprecedented $50 million on her campaign," Myers told Fox. But McMahon counters that it's her message and not the money that matters most.
"Clearly there is an Obama factor here in our state, this is a Blue State," McMahon told Fox.
"But what I think we continue to see... is that there is a mood in our state, it matches our country, that we want change."