Donald Trump endorses Leora Levy for Senate in rally phone call – The Connecticut Mirror

Donald J. Trump surprised Connecticut Republicans Thursday night by endorsing Leora Levy for U.S. Senate in a live phone call to an audience in Montville that included Levy’s two rivals, Themis Klarides and Peter Lumaj.

Levy said the phone call from the former president came without warning during the Republican Town Committee fundraiser. She could be seen pacing the parking lot on her phone, deep in conversation. She said the call amounted to a brief interview with the former president, who quizzed her about issues and her competitors.

“President Trump is full of surprises,” Levy said.

Asked after the event when she knew of the endorsement, she replied, “Just this minute … I almost didn’t answer the call.”

She said the endorsement was a great honor.

“It will help me tremendously,” she said.

The phone call came as the Montville Republican Town Committee was nearing an end to its annual summer barbecue, where the three candidates for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate gave what will be among their final speeches before the primary Tuesday.

The crowd applauded Levy and the master of ceremonies, Wills Pike, as they announced Trump was on the line. They held Levy’s cell phone to a microphone as Trump spoke.

“I’m giving tonight my complete and total endorsement to Leora Levy, and she’s going to go out and win this primary,” Trump said. He said she will defeat Sen. Richard Blumenthal, whom Trump has repeatedly mocked on social media about his claims of service in Vietnam.

“He’s a total liar. He’s a sleazebag. But Leora is a great woman,” he said. “It’s an honor to endorse her.”

Pike downplayed the impact of the endorsement, as did Klarides and Lumaj. The local town committee has endorsed Klarides in the primary.

State Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, Themis Klarides, a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, and Mary Fay, the Republican candidate for state comptroller, look on as Donald Trump endorses Klarides’ rival Leora Levy for the nomination at a GOP event in Montville. Mark Pazniokas / CT Mirror

Klarides, the former House Republican leader, has publicly acknowledged she did not vote for Trump in 2020, while Levy and Lumaj frequently mention their continuing loyalty to the former president.

Trump teased the crowd about his potential further involvement in Connecticut politics.

“I’ll get up there and have a big rally or something,” Trump said.

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