Esty Finds Support in Wolcott; Greenberg Wins Town but Loses District

by Christopher O'Brien

Wolcott residents voted in a crucial primary Tuesday that offered vastly different visions for US Congress. The conservative Republican town favored onservative Mark Greenberg on the Republican side and while newcomer Dan Roberti did well in the 2nd district at Wolcott High School, most Democratic voters favored Elizabeth Esty in the battle for the open 5th District. Wolcott was just one of 41 towns in the vast district that stretches from Meriden and Simsbury to Danbury and Salisbury.

In the US Senate race, Republican McMahon demolished Chris Shays with 91%. Shays only ran a few commercials in the closing days of the campaign on the Fox News Network while most people were busy watching the Olympics on NBC for much of the week.

Chris Murphy won two out of Wolcott’s three voting districts over Susan Bysiewicz 294-225.  That’s good for 57% of the vote for town Democrats. He lost Wolcott High School by two votes and was Wolcott’s state senator for six years.

In the Congressional race, tarnished House Speaker Chris Donovan was only able to muster 23% of the town’s vote. Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire won the town handily over her nearest rival, Dan Roberti despite being vastly outspent and robocalls into town by former President Bill Clinton on Roberti’s behalf. Donovan’s campaign has been plagued by the arrest of 8 people involving a roll- your – own cigarette tax and donation scheme at the state capitol. Two of the people arrested included his campaign manager and finance director.

Esty received 42% of the vote and Roberti 35%. Roberti was off the campaign trail for the final weekend of campaigning when his mother passed away Saturday evening.

Esty is a single term state legislator and Town Councilwoman from Cheshire. Her husband currently serves director for the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection under Gov. Malloy.

Republicans hoped to nominate a conservative in the race for US Congress to face Esty on Tuesday. Businessman Mark Greenberg calls himself a conservative, and Justin Bernier “the true” conservative both touting their pro-life and family values stances. Both attacked Andrew Roraback for his tax increases as a State Senator and Simsbury businesswoman Lisa Wilson- Foley for her perceived support of Obamacare. The result was a split in the conservative group of the party throughout the district that drew distinctions along geographic lines.

Rorback won the smallest towns in the district, but enough of them to eek out a 33% victory in the four way race. Those towns were predominately in Litchfield County only winning the larger town of New Milford and half of Torrington which is in the 5th District.  Wilson Foley found support in the northern Farmington Valley and New Britain. With the support of former rival, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, she won two of the five major cities in the district.

Mark Greenberg set up a home base in Southbury and with support from the Tea Party and Meriden State Senator Len Suzio captured several larger suburbs in the Greater Waterbury area from Meriden to Newtown. Internal polling by that campaign leaked out promising a close election that would be determinant on turnout and hoping that former Naval officer Justin Bernier of Plainville wouldn’t split the conservative vote. Bernier was hampered by funding and was also only able to run ads on Fox News Channel, yet garnered 19% of the vote.

In Wolcott, the conservatives were favored, with Roraback only receiving 19% of the vote. Greenberg won with 33% followed by Bernier’s 27%. Wilson Foley got 21% of the 745 Republicans who cast ballots in the election.


Turnout overall was low in town, with 21% of the town’s 2,550 registered Democrats coming to the polls on a warm summer day.  28% of Wolcott’s 2,719 registered Republicans turned out for the more hotly contested race.


Detailed results by district coming soon…

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