Election forecaster upgrades Democrats’ chances to win 5th District
The trio of Republicans running for Democrat Elizabeth Esty’s seat in the 5th District has caught the attention of a Washington, D.C., political forecaster.
And the forecaster is not impressed.
The Cook Political Report has changed its outlook for the state’s most competitive Congressional District, predicting that Democrats have a better chance to win the Nov. 6 midterm election than originally thought.
The reason: GOP challengers don’t have enough clout to stop “a pro-Democratic tide,” said Cook Report political analyst David Wasserman.
Not only does Wasserman not like the chances of Republican front-runner Manny Santos or challenger Rich Dupont against whomever emerges from the Democratic primary, but Wasserman fails to mention a third GOP candidate, Southbury’s Ruby Corby O’Neill, a retired psychology professor.
It wasn’t clear Wednesday whether the Cook Report was aware of the oversight. Wasserman was not immediately available to comment.
But O’Neill was.
“The Cook Report overlooks key elements in the district, such as voter anger at what the Democrats have done to Connecticut, and that voters want a person in Washington who is going to fight for them,” O’Neill said. “When I win the GOP primary, the Cook Report will change its prediction to ‘leaning Republican.’”
Santos, who won the GOP endorsement at the party convention in May, agreed the Cook Report was out of touch with voter frustration s in the 5th District.
“The dire conditions we find Connecticut in - the budget crisis, poor job growth, economic stagnation and diminished quality of life - is a direct result of Democrat policies being fully implemented,” Santos said. “Voters are realizing this and they will not want those policies exported to Washington, D.C.”
Cook’s upgraded forecast comes one month before Republican and Democratic primaries to replace Esty, who dropped her re-election plans after revealing she covered up an office abuse scandal.
Mary Glassman, a former longtime Simsbury first selectman, won the Democratic endorsement at the party convention in May. She is being challenged by former star teacher Jahana Hayes, who has the support of U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy.
Glassman has impressed Democrats with her organization, raising $380,000 over the last 10 weeks. Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year and now Waterbury school district’s talent and professional development supervisor, has inspired supporters with her story, which includes being a teenage mom.
“It’s a battle of experience versus a powerful personal narrative,” Wasserman said in the Cook Report’s updated forecast.
Hayes’ campaign agreed.
“What you're seeing here is real enthusiasm from Democrats across the district and the importance of voting for someone in the primary that can tap into that energy and deliver a win in November,” said Michael Bland, Hayes’ campaign manager. “It goes without saying that Jahana is that candidate.”
Glassman was campaigning Wednesday and not was immediately available to comment. Her campaign released a 30-second television ad on Wednesday that highlights her working class roots.
The Cook Report is not the only forecaster calling for Democrats to win the 5th in November. Inside Elections already lists the 5th District as “solid Democratic.”
Dupont, a Waterbury businessman, said the predictions don’t reflect the feelings of voters in the 5th District, which covers northwestern and central Connecticut, and includes Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, Newtown, and Sherman.
“I am out meeting people and businesses and families, and I hear a lot of dissatisfaction with the Democrats who want bigger government and more taxes,” Dupont said. “People want less government and less taxes ... and that is why I decided to run.”