Editorial: McMahon-Murphy debate at UConn a necessary step
Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Updated: Sunday, September 23, 2012 21:09
A United States Senate seat opened in Connecticut for only the second time in the last 30 years. Last week UConn announced it will soon host on campus a debate between the two major-party candidates, which students can attend for free. All students are encouraged to attend.
The party that holds majority control over the Senate is always critical, but 2013 will prove to be a particularly important time. Currently the body contains 51 Democrats (plus two Independents who align, essentially totaling 53 Democrats) and 47 Republicans. Unlike in 2008, where the political pendulum was clearly swinging towards Barack Obama and the Democrats, in 2012 the winning political party is still anybody’s guess. Some pollsters and analysts are even predicting the possibility of a 50-50 Democrat-Republican tie or a bare 51-49 majority for either party after this November’s elections.
The odds are slim, but Connecticut could be the deciding factor. This is especially true given Republican nominee Linda McMahon’s sharply accelerating rise in the polls and her vast campaign money, which contains mostly millions from her own personal fortune earned as the former head of WWE. Only a few months ago, people predicted that the Democratic challenger Chris Murphy, currently the 5th District Congressman in the House of Representatives, first elected in 2006, would cruise to an easy victory. Now they are not so sure.
All these factors make voting by college students all the more important in this race. For example, U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney, who represents Connecticut’s 2nd District that includes UConn, credits votes from UConn students for his initial 2006 victory by a mere 83-vote margin, one of the closest in Connecticut history. It is not unreasonable to think that something similar could happen with this election.
Sponsored by Fox CT and the Hartford Courant, the debate starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. Written questions for the candidates can be submitted to email@example.com. UConn students, faculty, and staff can pick up to four free tickets per person at Jorgensen or the Co-Op. If anyone is unable to attend the debate, it can be watched live on Fox CT (channel 9 on HuskyVision televisions) or streamed live through www.courant.com.