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Esty, Roraback, Donovan and the Correlation of Forces

The question before the house now that Speaker of the state House Chris Donovan has been bested in a Democratic primary by former state Representative Elizabeth Esty is: Will Mr. Donovan join a majority of Democrats in Connecticut and support the people’s choice for the U.S. Congress in the 5th District? Mr. Donovan was defeated in the recently concluded Democratic primary by a large margin: Esty's final vote total was 12,678 to Donovan's 9,212 and Roberti's 6,583.

In the general election now upon us, Republicans have chosen state Senator Andrew Roraback to lead a Republican Party effort to reclaim the 5th District; Nancy Johnson, considered a moderate Republican,held the seat for nearly a quarter of a century before she was ousted by current U.S. Representative Chris Murphy. Within the Republican Party, moderate politicians have all but disappeared everywhere within New England. Former U.S. Rep Chris Shays, defeated in his primary contest for the U.S. Senate by Linda McMahon, was, upon his congressional loss to present U.S. Representative Jim Himes, the last moderate New England Republican in the U.S. House.

Carrying the escutcheon for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party in Connecticut, Mr. Donovan fell into a rather deep FBI well when most of the leading members of his campaign staff were arrested for violating campaign finance regulations and is not expected to see the light of day for some time. Following his primary, during which time Mr. Donovan dodged the media, the Democratic Party nominee for congress pointedly DID NOT heartily congratulate Mrs. Esty on her win and pledge to support her effort to retain for the Democratic Party a seat soon to be abandoned by present U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, also viewed as much too moderate by progressives who have taken over large chunks of the Democratic Party. President Barack Obama, for instance, is a progressive in the manner of prairie populists of William Jennings Bryan’s and the progressives that ranged within the Republican Party during the election of 1912.
On the left, Democratic progressives are unsurprisingly disappointed that Mr. Donovan was unable to prevail over Mrs. Esty in their primary. On the right, the conservative-libertarian- tea party contingent is disappointed that Mr. Roraback prevailed over one of two, perhaps three, more right of center candidates.

Both Mr. Roraback and Mrs. Esty are viewed by “old hands”within both parties, national and local, as party moderates. Of the two, Mr. Roraback’s political experience is deeper. Having previously served in the House, Mr. Roraback was elected state Senator in the 30th Senate District and since June 2007 has served as Deputy Minority Leader Pro Tempore and Minority Caucus Chairman of the State Senate.Mrs. Esty served only one term in the House, but her political connections among Malloyalist within the administration of Governor Dannel Malloy run deep; her husband Daniel is Mr. Malloy’s Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Some conspiratorialists within the party’s left wing may wonder whether agents within the Malloy administration had played a role behind the curtain in Mr. Donovan’s undoing. The relationship between some Malloyalists and Mr. Donovan has in the past been somewhat abrasive.
Following the primary and after the shadow of the prison door had fallen upon him, Mr. Dovovan took a well-earned vacation and presently is even more inaccessible to media interrogators than was the case during the tail end of his primary campaign. When Mr. Donovan returns from vacation, he will be expected to choose one of two courses: either throw in the white towel and support the candidacy Esty the Moderate, or run as an independent-progressive candidate on the Working Party ticket. Grey heads in the Democratic Party, some of whom are union supporters, expect Mr. Donovan will hold his nose and enthusiastically support the Esty candidac.

In the meantime, one hears playing in the background the strains of the old Louis Prima song Just a Gigolo & I Ain't Got Nobody.

There will come a day
youth will pass away
then what will they say about me?
When the end comes I know
they'll say just a gigolo
as life goes on without me.


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