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Former Prosecutor Sullivan wants to represent 5th District

Former federal prosecutor David X. Sullivan is the Republican challenger to Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-5) in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District.

Sullivan spent 30 years as a prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, where he specialized in  drug trafficking and white-collar crimes involving asset forfeiture, criminal tax, money laundering, unlicensed money remitters, mail fraud, wire fraud, and structuring of financial transactions.  He teaches at Yale Law School and at the University of New Haven, and formerly taught at the Quinnipiac University law school.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Oct. 6, Sullivan said his top priorities are public health and safety, the economy and accountability in government.

He said he has children in public schools in New Fairfield. “We’ve got to make sure we reopen schools safely.”

He said prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people in Connecticut were not participating in what he called a “robust economy.”

“We’ve got to change the culture in Connecticut. But before we do that we need to focus on safety and health.”

Sullivan said he is highly supportive of law enforcement, and is against removing school resource officers from schools. “It’s the best place possible for children to see law enforcement officers as their friends and protectors.”

He was sharply critical of the press and the Obama administration. “Where are the Woodwards and Bernsteins today?” he asked. He referred to then-breaking stories about President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other administration figures meeting with intelligence officials in the waning days of the Obama presidency about the incoming Trump administration.

Sullivan said that Hayes does not represent the views of people in the 5th District. “She talks like a moderate but votes with [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi.

“She’s aligned with ‘The Squad,’” he continued, referring to a group of progressive Congresswomen of whom the most visible is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Asked how his campaign is proceeding, Sullivan said, “This a grass roots campaign. I’ve got no Washington money or contacts.

“I’m trying to appeal to the values of the voters, and to the roughly 40% who are unaffiliated.”

He said he has been busy campaigning, within the limitations of the pandemic.

“I’ve been to all 41 towns. No team. I’ve been everywhere.”

At the gathering of 30th State Senate District Republicans in Kent on Sept. 10, Sullivan spoke of the threats of Marxism and socialism.

Asked about that on Oct. 6, he drew a distinction between the two terms.

He said there is a big difference between constitutionally protected protests versus riots, and pushed back at the criticism that mentioning Karl Marx is reminiscent of the McCarthy-era Red Scare.

“I didn’t bring it up,” he said, noting that many on the American left openly call themselves Marxists.

He said the Medicare for All bill that Hayes supported would place some 19% of the U.S. economy under federal government control.

“That’s socialism.”

Asked if the constant hubbub surrounding President Donald Trump helps or hurts his chances, Sullivan said he has found that some people support the president (and believe that social media is the only way Trump can get his message past a hostile press); some support Trump but dislike his style; and some dislike Trump, period.

“I want to work with everybody,” he said. He added that in his career as a prosecutor he served under Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Trump.

“I respect our process and the office.”

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