When New Haven activist Ibrahim Shareef learned that a Republican candidate for attorney general was a statewide high school hoops star, he asked if she would “lace it up” as part of her campaign in the Elm City.
Shareef suggested organizing a game in town to expose Republicanism to kids who hang around the basketball courts.
The candidate, Sue Hatfield, said she is all in.
Shareef extracted that promise at the most recent meeting of Republican Town Committee (RTC) at the Hall of Records on Orange Street.
The meeting was the latest beauty contest for candidates seeking statewide Republican nominations this year. (Click here to read about a previous one featuring Tim Herbst and Bob Stefanowski. Click here to read a story about two of the Democrats seeking their party’s attorney general nomination.)
“I believe I’m the most qualified” Republican seeking the attorney general nomination, Hatfield told the gathering, which took place Thursday night. (Her only opponent so far is former State Rep. John Shaban.)
Hatfield, a member of Pomfret’s zoning board, is running for a statewide office for the first time. “We need something new. We have not had this seat since 1950. We need a change.”
She has worked as a state prosecutor and as a nurse, serving in mental health units at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
“I know the law. As a nurse, I love and care about people,” she said.
Hatfield said among her priorities would be addressing the opioid crisis: “I plan on holding drug companies—some of them—responsible if they put patient safety below profits.”
Another priority: addressing the crumbling foundations of residences, especially in the eastern part of the state from which she hails.
One RTC questioner asked Hatfield her take of how now U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthall had handled, as the former state attorney general, two specific cases: an anti-trust case regarding Apple and Amazon and tobacco settlement litigation.
Hatfield did not respond with any detail. She said that she distinguishes herself from previous Democratic attorneys general, citing especially Blumenthal: “His era was concerned with what issues get press rather than what’s best for the people.”
She cited her initial political experience as legal policy researcher for then-U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997 and 1998, when he came up with his “Contract for America.”
Hatfield called Gingrich both a mentor and the smartest man she’s ever met, Perhaps it’s time for a “contract for Connecticut,” she said. It would include a commitment to combat the opioid crisis and crumbling foundations, she said. Gingrich has endorsed Hatfield’s campaign.
The most intriguing aspect of Hatfield’s resume, at least for Ibrahim Shareef, was her career as a high school basketball star, or “accomplished athlete.”
That’s how Hatfield described herself, giving that equal billing on her campaign material, along with state prosecutor, wife and mother, and registered nurse.
It reads: “Two-time Connecticut First Team All-State basketball team. Held state records for 3-point basketball field goals. State champion, track and field (discus, shotput, javelin). The list goes on from there. Clearly, Sue knows how to work hard. And she’s a winner.”
Campaign literature was not needed to convince Shareef. “Just feel her grip,” he said to a reporter.
Where might the game unfold? Shareef said he was thinking of “Goffe Street,” the courts at DeGale Park near Hillhouse High School.
He and Hatfield agreed , details to be determined, on organizing a basketball game as part of Hatfield’s campaign in New Haven, a city that may not have very many Republicans but certainly boasts a lot of hoop fans and practitioners.