Written by Juliana Simone
The bad news keeps coming for Congressional Fifth District Democrat candidate state House Speaker Christopher Donovan. With more federal arrests yesterday taking in six other people for illegal campaign fundraising, after the initial arrest of Donovan’s former campaign finance director, Robert Braddock, Jr. in May, now charged a second time, the FBI is still continuing its investigation. Though some political pundits and rival candidates made statements after Braddock’s arrest that Donovan should drop out of the race, Donovan held fast and said he would be continuing his bid for Congress. He even hired someone to investigate Braddock’s activities to show he knew nothing about them.
Thursday afternoon after the news broke, Donovan briefly appeared before press at the Capitol reading a statement that proclaimed his innocence but he refused to take questions when finished. With Thursday’s arrests, the party endorsed candidate becomes even less likely to be the right choice on August 14th’s primary day for voters and Democrat leaders.
This is both good news and bad news for the four Republican candidates competing for the spot on the November ballot. It’s good news if the perceived front runner has to drop out due to scandal, but its bad news because there go all those easy talking points in debates and television ads. Files with anti-Donovan material in them have been sitting in rival campaign computers for months, and with the possibility of his departure, all of that good stuff will have to be tossed. Pre-printed campaign literature will have to head for dumpsters.
Donovan, known for his union ties, was an easy target for more fiscal and business oriented Republicans. Connecticut’s stagnant economy has made more and more voters take notice of the effect the untouchable unions have in our state and how it affects them as taxpayers. Add corruption to Donovan, and he is a very flawed candidate in November if he remains on the ballot, which is clearly beneficial for whichever Republican becomes his challenger.
What’s bad for Republicans, is if Elizabeth Esty wins the nomination on Primary Day. Her being the congressional candidate in November would make this a very different race. She will be much harder to beat for many reasons. She is a moderate Democrat, something more difficult to find these days in Washington and more so in Connecticut, as the states’ democrat majority continues to push them out. If Connecticut does have to remain “blue” she would be a refreshing addition to the five democrat held congressional seats in Washington, as a second female who couldn’t be more in contrast with the only woman serving Connecticut in congress right now, Rosa DeLauro, who is extremely left wing.
Elizabeth Esty served in the state legislature as a state representative and therefore is familiar with the legislative process and has been elected by voters before. She earned a reputation in the Connecticut General Assembly as a deficit hawk, voting against the budget and holding her party leaders accountable for over spending. She even took a 10% pay cut to help save taxpayers money. She also fought hard on education bills.
An attorney, she is well educated and holds two degrees – one from Harvard and a law degree from Yale. As a mother of three, the Cheshire resident has always been active in her church, schools and many other community organizations. She has likeability and political connections that help get legislation passed.
If I were a democrat voting on August 14th, I would vote for Elizabeth Esty. I’m saying this before the Donovan campaign arrests. Donovan is someone I could never even fathom voting for nor could ever envision serving in Washington. A third democrat candidate, Dan Roberti, is new to voters but has connections through his father, a lobbyist in Washington who has helped him raise special interest money. He needs to do more before seeking high office.
Esty’s main goals as a congressional candidate are to help small business, bring back manufacturing and to create jobs. This is a democrat? These goals sound like the objectives listed on all the Republican mailers and promised during their campaign commercials. That’s what a moderate or blue dog democrat is – and why they are badly missed in both our state and in Washington. They are needed legislators who don’t vote 97% of the time with their caucus but vote across the aisle when it is the best plan proposed and will serve their constituents for the better good.
Not a social conservative, she is pro-choice and does support gay marriage. But the last female Republican and fifth district congresswoman Nancy Johnson and Governor Rell supported these personal choices, as well, as do many other Republicans and unaffiliated. It’s tough to say the majority of Connecticut voters feel differently. Even the women who agree abortion is bad, still believe there need to be pro-choice laws in place for a variety of reasons.
Many candidates and elected officials who support these views legislatively, often live very conservative lives themselves – going to church every Sunday, remaining married to their original spouse for decades, raising children, going to their kids school games, PTO meetings and town budget hearings. As Ameriborn News covers candidates and campaigns over the years, we find it interesting that those who oppose these things and are running as conservatives, or profess to be conservative, do not themselves engage in these traditional conservative actions or haven’t always.
Lastly, another big factor in political campaigns today, Esty’s campaign has money.
A million and a half dollars – and most importantly, almost all of it is from individual donations at 96.09%. Just under $25, 000. is from PAC money compared to Donovan who has around $260, 000. in PAC money according to filings shown www.fec.gov . His campaign filing shows just over a million dollars raised, with 76.07% from individuals, but his donations are part of the FBI investigation under way.
Republican fifth congressional candidate Justin Bernier, with around $700,000. is comparable to Esty with about $27,000. in PAC money. State Senator Andrew Roraback (R-30), the party endorsed candidate, has raised over a half million dollars almost solely from individual contributions at the highest percentage of all fifth congressional candidates at 99.52%. He has received only $2,600. in PAC money. The republican candidate with the most campaign money that is equal to Esty’s, Mark Greenberg, is mostly self-funded with 84.04% in personal income invested. Roberti and Republican Lisa Wilson-Foley each have just over a million like Donovan, with Roberti showing 96.89% and Wilson Foley, another self-funded candidate, at 47.07% in individual donations.
For political insiders, reporters and enthusiasts who regularly read the FEC. GOV quarterly filings, one of the most impressive things about Esty’s contributions is she has 111 pages of them. Donovan has 79 shown. Roberti 44. Republican’s list between a dozen and just over three dozen (Bernier).
With state legislative experience, a remarkable education and career, conservative home life, and the ability to raise an impressive amount of money from individual contributions, Esty will be a much more formidable candidate for whomever Republican’s choose to be their candidate on August 14th come Election Day. Donovan’s on-going campaign finance dilemma leaves him open for constant criticism by the press and the Republican Party, making a loss in November more likely and a win a possible embarrassment down the line for Connecticut Democrats and constituents. Esty’s win on Primary Day gives Republicans a real challenge and a win on Election Day the best it can be if it is to be a democrat held seat once again.