Although Connecticut Republicans nominated Linda McMahon for U.S. senator over the moderate-liberal former Rep. Chris Shays, the left wing of the party still demonstrated it was alive and well in the Nutmeg State.
In the open 5th District, five Republican candidates sought nomination to succeed Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy, who will be the Democratic nominee for the seat of retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-D). Conservatives had high hopes for Justin Bernier, a U.S. Navy lieutenant and former executive director of the state Department of Military Affairs and a self-styled conservative on abortion, guns, and taxes. But the primary was won by State Sen. Andrew Roraback, whom Bernier called “one of the most liberal Republicans running for office anywhere.” The great-grandson of 1920’s and ’30’s Connecticut GOP boss J. Henry Roraback, Andrew scored 100 percent with the National Abortion Rights Acton League and was graded ???D??? by the National Rifle Association. But Roraback has the blessings of party leaders and that was enough to overcome Bernier and three others.
The 5th District has switched parties in terms of its congressman seven times since 1958 and is considered the likeliest of any of Connecticut’s five districts to go from Democrat to Republican. Roraback will face former state legislator Elizabeth Esty, who won an upset over state House Speaker Chris Donovan, who was the subject of corruption charges in the close of the campaign.