NORWICH, Conn. (AP) — Superstorm Sandy has blown Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy and Republican Linda McMahon off the campaign trail, shifting their focus from the contentious U.S. Senate race to helping Connecticut residents affected by the massive storm that flooded homes and cut power to thousands.
Each was assessing whether to restart their campaigns Wednesday or possibly later in the week.
Both candidates have put their campaigns on hold, canceling events planned for Monday — when the storm struck — and Tuesday, the first day of recovery. While door-to-door canvassing has been put on hold, their political ads are continuing to run on TV and both candidates have been making the rounds, broadcasting their visits to emergency operations centers or emergency shelters via social media.
McMahon’s campaign had to cancel a planned tour of women’s businesses in recognition of National Women in Small Business Month. Instead, on Tuesday, it tweeted a list of seven campaign offices that have electricity where residents could recharge their cellphones and other electronic equipment and pick up some bottled water. The candidate, meanwhile, visited a number of emergency shelters, handing out coloring books to children and offering her assistance, said campaign spokesman Todd Abrajano.
Murphy, who visited emergency operations centers in his 5th Congressional District on Monday, said he was busy Tuesday meeting with municipal leaders to determine their needs and how the recovery is going.
‘‘Almost everywhere we've been, we've run into local issues that could use a helping hand,’’ Murphy said, offering as an example how he called AT&T to help get phone service restored more quickly to a fire station in New Milford.
Ultimately, Murphy said, he and the rest of the state’s congressional delegation are responsible for making sure the state receives fair federal reimbursement for its recovery costs.
‘‘My focus right now is purely on making sure that the people I represent are safe and then making sure that Connecticut gets paid the reimbursement that it deserves from the federal government,’’ he said. ‘‘The campaign will start again and that timing will be dictated by the storm and the recovery.’’
Abrajano said he doesn’t anticipate that McMahon’s time away from the campaign trail will have much of an effect on the tight race, especially given the small number of undecided voters.
‘‘We spent the last year getting ready for Election Day,’’ he said. ‘‘We've got a very significant get-out-the-vote operation that’s going to be back in place over the last 72 hours of this campaign, and I don’t think any of that is going to be affected.’’