Donovan Fading as Roberti Breaks Out in 5th CD Polls.
Finding an accurate polling sample of likely voters is a challenge in primary elections. Nevertheless, at least two campaigns in the Democratic contest for the 5th Congressional District show one-time frontrunner Speaker of the House Christopher Donovan falling back in the three-candidate contest, Daily Ructions has learned. Donovan, mired in a federal criminal investigation of alleged illegal campaign fundraising practices, may be moving out of contention as he ducks questions about his knowledge of the scandal. The surprise is wealthy young Dan Roberti, recently of Kent, Connecticut. The beneficiary of a Washington lobbying fortune, Roberti has been bombarding prime Democratic voters with effective mail pieces. He’s also maintaining a heavy presence on television.
The Roberti burst of support caused Elizabeth Esty, thought to be the benefactor of Donovan’s collapsing campaign, to begin an advertising fusillade on Roberti for his ownership interest in his father’s Washington, D.C. lobbying firm. Roberti has returned fire, denying he is a lobbyist. Expect the attacks to escalate as Donovan fades out of contention and the race narrows to a contest between Esty and Roberti, both of whom were little known in the district until each began using chunks of their fortunes to bolster their campaigns. Rough ads attacking Esty, run by both Roberti campaign and a super PAC supporting him, will begin Thursday.
Donovan’s only advantage in the final week is his superior organization. Despite his front page troubles with the law, the Meriden Democrat ought to be able to deploy more experienced volunteers to press union and other supporters to show up at the polls next Tuesday. The problem for Donovan is that those voters pay attention to news and will cast a secret ballot.