Could deep blue Connecticut elect a conservative to the United States Congress? Word is Republican Party 5th District nominee Mark Greenberg is giving first-term U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty a run for her money three months out until election day. This is Greenberg’s third attempt at the seat, the first time he has received his party’s nod for the nomination. The developer makes no bones about his conservatism, a risk some pundits suggest, in such a deep blue state. However, others argue more conservatives would get elected in Connecticut, if they did not hide behind a moderate banner.
Two developments in recent weeks speak to Greenberg’s support. The National Republican Congressional Committee has elevated Greenberg’s status to “contender,” meaning in layman’s terms they believe he has a chance to win. That’s one stepped removed from the NRCC’s highest status, which is “young guns.” If Greenberg achieves that goal, it is a given more outside money will flow into his campaign. So far, Greenberg, a multi-millionaire, has loaned his campaign more than a half-million dollars.
Greenberg will need deep pockets, because the Democrats and outside money are fueling Esty’s re-election bid. She already has $1.9 million on hand to save her seat.
The second major development is word Esty supporters are conducting a push poll against Greenberg. Popular columnist, blogger and former Connecticut state lawmaker Kevin Rennie writes on his Daily Ructions blog: “The haughty first term Democratic incumbent is seeing some startling poll number in her race.” Rennie writes that a reader provided him with a summary of questions that came from a telephone push poll targeting Greenberg.
Greenberg could also be helped by the unpopularity of first-term Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The longtime Democrat is running behind in the polls and lost the 5th District in his 2010 election victory.
It would still be quite a story if Greenberg emerges victorious. Not one member from Connecticut’s congressional delegation is a Republican. All of the state’s constitutional offices, led by the governor, are held by Democrats and the Democrats dominate the General Assembly. There is no question Greenberg has an uphill battle, but the initial reaction to his campaign is positive and the Democrats’ nervous response is proving it.