HARTFORD - The Connecticut Senate on Tuesday rejected Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloyâ€™s State Supreme Court chief justice nominee mostly along partisan lines, setting off political reverberations in a state where an open governorâ€™s seat and control of the General Assembly are at stake in November.
The Senate voted 19-16 to oppose confirming Associate Justice Andrew McDonald.
Some who supported elevating McDonald to the high courtâ€™s top job took to Twitter, accusing Republican lawmakers of opposing the former Democratic state senator because he is gay. One Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives said the lack of Republican support for McDonald in the Senate â€śshould motivate progressives across the entire stateâ€ť to support Democratic candidates.
â€śWe canâ€™t let homophobia take control of the legislature in the fall,â€ť tweeted Joseph Young of Manchester during Tuesdayâ€™s debate. He included the hashtag â€śbluewave2018.â€ť If confirmed, McDonald would be the first openly gay state supreme court chief justice.
Various Democratic statewide candidates also made a point of pledging support for McDonald during the debate or expressing their dismay with the final vote. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, who is considering a run for governor, said the next governor should re-nominate McDonald for chief justice, calling him â€śthe right person for the job.â€ť He urged other Democratic candidates to take the same stand.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, said he expects the stunning defeat of McDonald will be a hot topic in this yearâ€™s election, noting how various groups have been paying close attention.
â€śThe bridge is finally connected between Washington Republicans and Connecticut Republicans based on all 18 state Senate Republicans all voting no on a qualified candidate. Itâ€™s totally unprecedented,â€ť Duff said. â€śThis shows that they are basically bear-hugging the tactics of the Trump administration and (U.S. Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell down in Washington. Thereâ€™s a lot of constituencies out here who will not forget.â€ť