Who Will Take The Fifth? Connecticut Party Leaders Search For Worthy Candidates

Apr 9, 2018

Now that the seat in Connecticut's 5th Congressional District is in play, both parties are scrambling to field the right candidate.

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty announced last week that she wouldn’t run again after admitting she’d mishandled abuse allegations in her office.

J.R. Romano, the chairman of Connecticut’s Republican Party, said the party no longer has to worry about going at it against an incumbent, which means the GOP may be able to get some money infused into this race.

“So now that it’s an open seat, I certainly believe that donors will believe in the viability of a potential pickup,” Romano said.

On the other side, Democrats are left having to find a credible candidate after they thought they’d have a strong incumbent.

It’s late in the game so that causes some problems for those who’ll run. The biggest is that there’s less time to raise money.

“Ideally, I think anybody would have loved more time to raise the money,” said Nick Balletto, chairman of the state Democratic party. “It just means that we’re going to have to work twice as hard, that’s all.”

There’s a crowded group of potential Democratic candidates expressing interest. Balletto is hoping to shorten that list soon.

“I think you’ll know in the next week or so who’s really interested,” Balletto said. “Those that are interested will certainly set up committees to step forward and start raising money as we go to the convention in May. It creates a lot of excitement in the district, where we necessarily would not have had any.”

The GOP may nominate a final candidate on May 10 at their convention, while the Democrats will hold a 5th District convention four days later.