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The GOP seems to have lost its Joe Courtney challenger

October 2, 2018

Quick, name the Republican who is challenging Democrat Chris Murphy for his U.S. Senate seat.

I’ll bet quite a few readers came up short on that one.

Actually, it looks like Matthew Corey of Manchester, who owns an Irish pub in Hartford and a high-rise window washing company, has spent quite a bit of time on the campaign trail, according to his campaign Facebook page, even if he hasn’t built a lot of statewide name recognition with his Murphy challenge.

The Republican challenger for U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney’s seat in the 2nd congressional District, Dan Postemski, however, seems to have completely disappeared from the campaign trail.

Indeed, when you click on Postemski for U.S. Congress, his campaign Facebook page, it takes you to a message that the link has expired. A Google search turns up no other campaign websites for Postemski.

The last email to The Day’s news desk from the Postemski campaign was in April. That news release did not have a phone number in it, and when I sent an inquiry to the sender Tuesday, saying I was looking for the candidate, I did not hear back from anyone.

I couldn’t find a listing for a land line for Postemski or a Twitter account. Since he was listed as the head of the Hampton Republican Town Committee at the time he was nominated by the party, I called Hampton Town Hall on Tuesday to see if anyone could help me track him down. I left my name and number and didn’t hear back.

The 32-year-old former Marine was called a diesel mechanic in news reports at the time he was endorsed by Republicans as their candidate in the 2nd District, but none of the stories named his place of employment.

I couldn’t find any record that he has filed federal campaign finance reports.

My best shot, I thought, was to call Connecticut Republican Chairman J.R. Romano. Surely, he would know what’s going on with the party’s candidate in the 2nd District, just one of the state’s five congressional districts.

But Romano seemed surprised when I told him Postemski’s campaign Facebook page is down. He said that’s how he usually reaches him.

“We are dealing with 300 candidates across multiple offices,” Romano told me, as if to say that losing track of one is no big deal. I thought he might at least offer to track down Postemski for me, or even suggest he would do a wellness check. He didn’t.

“I am much more worried about Ned Lamont becoming governor and raising our taxes,” he said.

OK, Mr. Chairman.

I also checked with Courtney’s campaign chairman, Brian Coughlin, who said he hasn’t had any direct interaction with Postemski or seen him at any candidate forums.

Of course, when you are an incumbent with name recognition and a campaign war chest, you are probably not going to seek out your opponent and engage in a way that would raise his profile. I sort of pictured Coughlin flipping through glossy magazines as we spoke.

For the record, Michelle Louise Bicking with the Green Party and Daniel Reale of the Libertarian Party are both on the ballot in the 2nd District, and both seem to be actively campaigning, against long odds.

It is certainly strange for a major party candidate to drop out of sight in the middle of a campaign for federal office. It seems even stranger that party leaders don’t seem to care.

I hope he’s OK.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

d.collins@theday.com

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