It’s an uneasy time for Connecticut Democrats. Seats long held by Democrats U.S. Rep Chris Murphy and Sen. Joe Lieberman are up for grabs and the likelihood of their retention has been downgraded by RealClearPolitics to merely “leans Democrat.”
Murphy, in a bid against Republican Linda McMahon, is struggling, weighed down by ethics complaints, allegations of foreclosure proceedings and up against McMahon’s endless cash flow. To close the 5 to 1 spending gap, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is diverting money slated for an ad in New Mexico to the Murphy campaign, according to politico.com.
In the Fifth Congressional District race, where Cheshire Democrat Elizabeth Esty faces Kent Republican Andrew Roraback, there are also doubts. Both candidates continue to rack up endorsements along party lines. Andrew Roraback Tuesday announced that he’d received “Young Gun” status, the top tier in a National Republican Congressional Committee program begun by vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan to identify strong contenders.
To bolster Esty, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported a $134,430.98 media buy Wednesday to attack Roraback.
Partisan polls show each candidate leading by a slight margin — a poll done by a Republican firm showed Roraback ahead by seven points in the first days of September; a DCCC poll a week earlier showed Esty up by nine.
But local Democrats say they are confident in their candidates and are doing everything they can to bolster their chances.
Avon Democratic Town Committee Chairman Daryl Worobow said many committee members are giving contributions and time to the Murphy and Esty campaigns and also supporting the campaigns around town at events like Sam Collins Day and Avon Days.
And he thinks the effort will pay off.
“We do see Chris Murphy and Elizabeth Esty pulling out wins with strong get-out-the-vote efforts in our town and elsewhere!”
Simsbury Democratic Town Committee Chair Jeff Tindall agreed, saying that the last few elections have shown that the Farmington Valley has tremendous input on the outcome of similar races.
Tindall said Democrats in Simsbury are confident that positive messages from both Esty and Murphy will resonate with voters and bring them wins in November and that members of the town committee are also out door-knocking, making phone calls and talking to friends and neighbors about the election.
“The Farmington Valley will see Linda McMahon trying to buy her way into the United States Senate by avoiding the issues confronting the people of Farmington Valley with baseless attacks on Chris Murphy,” Tindall said. “She has not aired one substantive ad amidst the myriad of negative pieces… The Valley will reject these negative Karl Rove - style politics that are the centerpiece of the McMahon campaign. The voters want our representatives to work together and are tired of this Republican playbook of negative campaigning and “Just Say No” governing. It is simply the worst that politics has to offer.”
While Farmington’s Rob Huelin said Democrats in town are unreservedly enthusiastic about Esty and Murphy, he said it’s no surprise that the races are close.
“The notion that the Dems could coast to a victory in the 5th CD is more of a media creation than a real analysis of the district,” Huelin said. Republicans have done well in the 5th in 2006, 2008 and 2010… this is arguably the most conservative district in CT and one of the most conservative in New England.”
In addition, Huelin said that while Roraback is appealing to area Republicans, most voters in the area are not comfortable with the extremely conservative politics of the national Republican party.
“Local Republicans need to convince the voters that they will go to Washington and then refuse to actually support their party — which is, of course, impossible… I think people are going to recognize that Congress is about more than who our local rep is, and they are going to vote against the Paul Ryan/John Boehner budget plan by voting against Andrew Roraback,” Huelin said.