Republican State Rep. Mike France has emerged as an early challenger to eight-year-old Democratic Congressman Joe Courtney in the 2022 midterm elections.
France, 58, from Gales Ferry archived a statement of candidacy to the Federal Election Commission on Feb. 6 to become a Republican in the sprawling 2nd Congressional District, which covers the eastern half of Connecticut.
France did not respond to multiple messages asking for comment on Tuesday. As a Navy veteran, he is currently serving his fourth term as a representative of the 42nd House District, which includes most of Ledyard, all of Preston, and some of Montville's Uncasville and Oakdale sections.
Rob Simmons, the Republican who held the seat from 2001 to 2007, and eventually lost re-election to Courtney by a small margin, said France's decision to get into the race early, as Simmons did when he ran for the first time. suggested to Congress, demonstrating the seriousness of his candidacy. .
“Running for Congress isn't easy, especially against an incumbent,” said Simmons. "I give credit to him and his family for taking this matter seriously and for doing the work that needs to be done to have a competitive race."
Simmons said he raised $ 750,000 when he first ran for Congress and used much of that money for TV ads in the three weeks leading up to the 2000 election. He said France will have to raise a lot of money. to defeat Courtney, and if he announces his candidacy early, he'll have plenty of time to do so.
“What I've seen over the years is not a serious commitment to the race,” said Simmons, adding that Courtney's previous challengers have not raised the money, nor put in the time or energy it takes to beat him. "None of them had the patience, discipline, and focus of someone like Mike France."
"I am so excited to have a candidate that I am happy to support," said Simmons.
Courtney, 67, of Vernon, easily secured re-election to Congress for an eighth term in the November 2020 election, defeating Republican Justin Anderson, a lieutenant colonel in the Connecticut National Guard and a retired correctional officer .
Anderson, a political newcomer, emerged as the Republican challenger after Tom Gilmer, the GOP-backed candidate, was arrested on the eve of the primaries on charges of domestic violence. Anderson indicated in an interview after his defeat that he intended to flee again in two years.
France is a well-known legislator who was previously a member of the Ledyard Town Council and chaired the Finance Committee. He is currently the rank member of the General Assembly Credit Committee and is also a member of the General Administration and Election Committee. He chairs the General Assembly Conservative Caucus, a group of 15 members who describe themselves as “committed to the principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual freedom”.
France belonged to a group of people who sued Gov. Ned Lamont fell last fall over his emergency powers to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the pandemic did not meet the threshold to declare the emergency in March or last September when Lamont expanded his powers.
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