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Could Connecticut Be Key to Clinton Sweep?

Murphy highlights importance of Nutmeg State

Clinton is campaigning this weekend in Connecticut. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Clinton is campaigning this weekend in Connecticut. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One of Hillary Clinton’s most prominent supporters in Connecticut says his state could be the key to taking all of Tuesday’s contests, effectively ending the Democratic primary race.  

“I’ve always thought Connecticut wasn’t going to be a runaway, but I feel more confident now than I have in the past about her chances,” Sen. Christopher S. Murphy said in an interview. “And look, you know, Connecticut looked to be the closest of the five states on Tuesday so you know, a win in Connecticut might be a sweep.”  

There are four other primary contests Tuesday — Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are also choosing presidential candidates — and some have larger delegate prizes.  

But that’s not stopping the former secretary of State from campaigning this weekend in Southern New England. Polls show Clinton leading Sanders in Connecticut, but the margin is closer than in other states. Sanders is expected to hold rallies in Connecticut on Sunday and Monday, according to the Hartford Courant.

At an event Saturday in New Haven with longtime Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro, Clinton focused on bread-and-butter economic issues like equal pay for women in the workforce and the push for a higher minimum wage.

“I fear that we are losing that dream and there are many reasons for that. There’s a lot of cross-currents at work. But we have to figure out what to do about it,” Clinton said. “We can’t just watch it and complain about it and pray about and worry about it, we’ve got to figure out what to do about it and we need more good jobs with rising incomes.”

In Hartford on Thursday, Clinton held an event with family members of victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She contrasted her position on Second Amendment issues with that of her rival Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.  

“Nobody is more powerful than the gun lobby because they have figured out how to intimidate elected officials at all levels, who basically just stop thinking about this problem because they’re too scared to stand up to the NRA,” Clinton said Thursday. “That’s what we have to do in Washington and nationally. We have to turn this into a voting issue.”  

Erica Smegielski, the daughter of the principal killed during the Sandy Hook shooting, has cut an ad for the campaign.  

The Democratic front-runner’s campaign announced Friday she will be back in Connecticut Saturday and Sunday with campaign events in New Haven and Bridgeport, and stops at Central Falls High School in neighboring Rhode Island, which also has a Tuesday primary.  

“The momentum in Connecticut certainly was heading in Hillary’s direction before Tuesday. I think the New York results just will push us in that direction,” Murphy said.  

Murphy also said he will join Clinton on Sunday in Stamford, which is where Rep. Jim Himes told the Connecticut Mirror that Clinton and other Democrats will hold a large-scale fundraiser.  

“It’s going to be a huge event,” Himes said.  

Surrogates are out in full force for Clinton as well. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra is participating in canvasses with Clinton supporters on Friday in Connecticut.  

“We stopped at at least 12 shops and establishments and spoke with folks in English and Spanish,” Becerra said after visiting retail stops in Norwalk. “At each stop, we asked merchants if they would post Hillary’s signs in front of their establishments — restaurants, business service centers, bakeries and barbershops.  

“Everyone we met gave us an enthusiastic ‘yes’ and they were very supportive of Secretary Clinton. There was one owner of a barbershop who was emphatic: ‘So long as it’s not a Trump sign!'”  

Meanwhile, Murphy anticipates campaigning for Clinton by himself on Monday, he said, the day before the April 26 primary.  

The most recent poll by Quinnipac University shows Clinton leading Sanders 51 to 42 percent in Connecticut. The survey, conducted from April 12-18, involved 1,037 likely Democratic primary voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. The 9-point lead is smaller than a 13-point margin  in Pennsylvania and 25-point gap in Maryland found in the most recent polls.  

Contact Lesniewski at nielslesniewski@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter at @nielslesniewski.

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