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Elizabeth Esty to Seek Fifth District Democratic Nomination.

Former Democratic state legislator Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire will announce her candidacy for the Democratic nomination in Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District next week. Esty, who served one term in the House of Representatives, was defeated for re-election last fall.  It was an embarrassing loss for the ambitious, confident Democrat.

She’s likely to face, among others, Democratic Speaker of the House Christopher Donovan of Meriden in the race for the seat being given up by incumbent Christopher Murphy.  The Esty candidacy could complicate life for her husband, Daniel Esty, Governor Don’t Call Me Dan Malloy’s nominee to head his new environment and energy agency.  Professor Esty’s agenda will need Donovan’s support if it’s to have any life. He’s yet to appear before the legislature to commence the confirmation process.

Elizabeth Esty has been making calls to Fifth District notables for several weeks.  She’s hired a Washington, D.C. firm to help her navigate federal election law, Daily Ructions understands.


1 Tim White { 02.23.11 at 5:42 pm }

The Esty / Donovan relationship continues getting more and more interesting.

In January, Donovan tried to play kingmaker by appointing a Meriden Teachers’ Union President to the Dem slot for Gaffey’s seat. Esty went public, effectively calling out Donovan for his attempt at autocratic rule (though she was, of course, diplomatic). Donovan assumed that his choice would win the 13th. Donovan was wrong. If Esty had a chance to run for the 13th, she may have won and taken her eye off the 5th. Instead, Donovan now lost the 13th… and could lose to Esty in the 5th’s Dem primary.

I’m an R who sat next Elizabeth for three years on the Cheshire Council. We disagree on stuff. But she works hard, digs into policy proposals and is a straight shooter. I’d love to see her run against Chris “No, I didn’t give Crusher a $120,000 / yr no-show job as payback to become Speaker two years early. I did it because he was perfectly qualified for his $120,000 / yr no-show job” Donovan.

She can absolutely beat him.

2 Cheshire Kat { 02.23.11 at 9:28 pm }

The CT Dems were lucky that the specials were almost all in heavy labor districts. (Besides the Peckinpaugh show) In the 13rd, even Meriden was unmoved by the Democrats arguments.

Can Donovan win a 5th CD primary when he is likely to have little yuppie support? Can he expect more votes in a primary out of Meriden than the entire party could gin up for a state senate candidate?

3 Tim White { 02.23.11 at 10:28 pm }

The race could also be interesting in another, less personal, way.

In last year’s Washington DC Mayoral primary there was a rift between the teachers’ union dems and the education reform-minded dems. The incumbent Dem Mayor — who was trying to reform education via his Sptd Michelle Rhee — lost the primary. And I understand that the candidate who was strongly supported by the DC teachers’ union won.

With even people such as President Obama weighing in and suggesting that the teachers’ union can be an impediment to student progress, there is a very public, ongoing internal dem battle for the direction of the party.

I don’t know how the CT-5 Dem primary will shape up, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see it take shape similar to the much larger Democratic Party debate going on across the country.

By the time the first significant financial reports are released (I’m thinking June 30, but maybe Sept 30 if Donovan can’t fundraise during session??), we may get a taste of whether the national fight is playing out in the CT-5.

4 grackle { 02.23.11 at 11:04 pm }

Tim, why not draft Esty for the GOP ticket? She’s going nowhere fast in a Democratic primary. And if there was any chance at all, I think you’d find Cheshire redistricted into the 3rd CD.

5 joe sixpack { 02.24.11 at 10:07 am }

Good call Grackle – Don’t forget – Donovan will be drawing those Congressional district lines this summer, and will not have intereference from an incumbent.

6 Tim White { 02.24.11 at 4:56 pm }

EE is very liberal on social policy… a reason — along with her fundraising network — why I think she’s viable in a Dem primary.

With regard to redistricting… if you ignore population shifts among the five CDs, he could shift south Cheshire to the 3rd in exchange for shifting Prospect to the 5th. I imagine Rosa wouldn’t mind that at all. But I don’t see the Dem party caring much for making an open seat more R-leaning. So he’d likely get some serious pushback on that.

7 Mr. Cheshire { 02.24.11 at 5:14 pm }

Without Cheshire Meriden is separated from the rest of the 5th CD.

8 grackle { 02.24.11 at 6:36 pm }

“Without Cheshire Meriden is separated from the rest of the 5th CD.”

Oh my, you’re right! This will obviously be a significant obstacle to the sitting Speaker and his full-time staff of redistricting personnel.

Redistricting Greenwich out of the 4th or Stonington out of the 2nd — those would be challenging. I don’t think you’d need to shift more than a single precinct to stick Esty in the 1st or 3rd.

9 James Bailey Brislin { 02.24.11 at 7:56 pm }

You’d simply need to shift the Cheshire precincts in 13th Senatorial District into the 3rd to shut-out Esty. The precincts remaining in 16th Senatorial would be sufficient to link Meriden to the rest of the 5th.

10 Cheshire Kat { 02.24.11 at 7:59 pm }

CT has always had bipartisan redistricting agreements. If Mr. “I lost the Super Majority” wants to try and ram a go it alone plan through with some ugly gerrymander, well, let’s see whether it is better received than his state senate candidate

11 grackle { 02.24.11 at 10:19 pm }

“Kat,” what makes you think that a legislator who was bounced out of office would have been restored by those same constituents just three months later — and to a higher office, at that? It’s absurd.

More absurd than that same legislator (and her virtual army of like-minded online supporters) envisioning a Democratic primary victory built on a platform of dumping on labor? Hard to say. I bet that you’d be better off trying to resurrect the DLC or being the Democratic beard for some big money conservative outfit than waging that fight.

12 Cheshire Kat { 02.24.11 at 10:35 pm }

1)13th Senate far more Democratic than 103rd House seat
2) The 5th is a pretty yuppie district where Chris Murphy kept pretending to be a fiscal moderate. Will someone responsible for getting the “non-adult” 20o9 state budget and the tax laden 2011 state budget passed sell in Litchfield County and the Farmington Valley?. Oh, the 300 screamers at the Capitol yesterday will persuade those private sector Saab drivers. That’s the ticket.

13 Tim White { 02.24.11 at 11:15 pm }

“More absurd than that same legislator (and her virtual army of like-minded online supporters) envisioning a Democratic primary victory built on a platform of dumping on labor?”

If you mean me… I was merely speculating. I know she’s liberal on social policy (Roe, DP, etc.), but I have no idea about her relationship with labor.

And Kat is right. I think the 103rd is probably a district that has marginally more Ds than Rs, but the 13th is closer to 2:1, D to R.

14 grackle { 02.25.11 at 11:01 am }

“If you mean me… ”

I didn’t mean you.

15 jschmidt { 02.25.11 at 12:55 pm }

Have the Democrats in Congress done anything for CT? We get back less than 70% of every dollar we send to DC. We couldn’t even get an earmark for a hospital that Dodd specifically put in to the Healthcare bill. It went to Ohio which is a toss up state for electors. The Democrats take CT for granted so don’t try hard for it. Obama knows it is already in his pocket so why do anything for CT. We are controlled too much by the whims of the Democrat majority in the legislature which has made CT just 3rd from the bottom of business friendly states. Only NY and NJ are worse. So why elect any more Democrats?

16 SmartChoiceforDems { 02.25.11 at 4:37 pm }

Great ;ick for the Democrats. She is a thoughtful, capable rising star. The district would be well served by her. She is a practical Democrat, not an idealogue. Good Luck Elizabeth may your star continue to rise!

17 kim { 02.27.11 at 9:30 am }

Ummm… She couldn’t even win her own district a few months ago.