State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, under fire for misspeaking about his military record during Vietnam, was seeking the endorsement Friday night of Connecticut Democrats to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Chris Dodd.
At a convention center two miles away, Republicans were to hold their own convention to choose a nominee. Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon and Fairfield County money manager Peter Schiff were among those vying for the GOP's endorsement.
Delegates were meeting under a spotlight they've rarely seen.
Blumenthal became embroiled in a political crisis when The New York Times reported Monday that he had repeatedly distorted his military service. The story included quotations and a video of Blumenthal saying at a 2008 event that he had served in Vietnam.
Blumenthal, who was in the Marine Reserve, said Tuesday at a news conference that he meant to say he served "during" Vietnam instead of "in" Vietnam. He said the statements were "totally unintentional" errors that occurred a few times out of hundreds of public appearances and that he regretted the misstatements.
A longer version of the video posted by McMahon, who said her campaign provided some research information to the newspaper, shows Blumenthal at the beginning of his speech correctly characterizing his service by saying that he "served in the military, during the Vietnam era."
There have since been reports of other instances where Blumenthal was quoted as saying he served "in" Vietnam.
Democrats planned to show a 4.5-minute video that features interviews with citizens Blumenthal has helped over the years since he was first elected the state's attorney general in 1990.
Despite the controversy over his military service, he was still expected to win the endorsement.
Simmons, a Vietnam veteran, was expected to win the GOP nomination, but Republicans were not ruling that McMahon could make it a close fight.
Candidates who don't win can force a primary election in August if they gather at least 15 percent of the vote.
McMahon has pledged to spend up to $50 million of her own money on the race.
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