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Connecticut's 5th Congressional District: Looking Ahead to 2014

by: RockRibbedR

Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 15:54:30 PM EST

To win CT-05, a Republican needs to find a way to please a few very, very different communities of interest within the seat.

A successful candidate needs to over-perform in the socially moderate-to-liberal, generally affluent, and suburban Farmington Valley to the west of Harford. Canton, Avon, Farmington, and Simsbury all swung fairly hard towards Mitt Romney, but he was an exceptional fit for this region. So was Andrew Roraback. I suppose you could put Newtown, New Milford, Brookfield, Bethel together with the Farmington Valley as one socioeconomic and cultural region of sorts.

At the same time, that successful Republican candidate needs to manage to connect with the rural Litchfield Hills, a region which is generally Republican but contains a few towns in the Northwest Corner that are more like the Berkshires of MA than the rest of NW CT. Andrew Roraback ran way ahead in those towns, but he probably is the only Republican who could.

Even more challenging is finding a way to connect with the Farmington Valley while appealing to conservaDems and culturally conservative, fiscally populist independents in Waterbury-influenced places like Wolcott, Watertown, Middlebury, and neighborhoods of Waterbury that still have ethnic conservaDems living in them. A town like Wolcott, for example, is Republican leaning on a federal level but has far fewer registered Republicans than a fairly less Republican town (on a federal level) like Goshen. It is still far more Republican than the state as a whole but a socially moderate, "country club" type Republican like Andrew Roraback will underperform to a moderate local Democrat like Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire.

Finally, that successful Republican needs to hope that Meriden, New Britain, and most of Waterbury stays home (read: any midterm election).

So, who could bridge the gap between these three distinct regions and perform strongly in all three?

With Roraback out of the picture, I think I've found a suitable replacement. I propose State Senator Kevin Witkos (SD-08) runs for Congress.

Witkos, of Canton, represents Avon, Barkhamsted, Canton, Colebrook, Granby, Hartland, Harwinton, New Hartford, Norfolk, Simsbury, and Torrington. His district is split between the Farmington Valley and the Litchfield Hills. While much of his Litchfield Hills territory is (ridiculously) in CT-01, he represents the Litchfield Hills towns of Norfolk, Harwinton, and Torrington, all of which are in CT-05 (Torrington being split between CT-01 and CT-05). Even though much of the Litchfield Hills portion of his State Senate district is in the wrong seat, he would probably be better at gaining local endorsements than any Waterbury area Republican would be. Andrew Roraback performed strongly in Norfolk and Harwinton and hopefully Witkos could perform relatively strongly in Roraback's old seat.

Witkos' being from the Farmington Valley and performing strongly in it during his State Senate elections is obviously a plus.

But wait, what about the Waterbury area? Why would Witkos be a good candidate for those fickle voters who voted for Mitt Romney but not Andrew Roraback? Well, Witkos spent 28 years in law enforcement as a police officer. If there's any background an ideal candidate should have when running for office in the Waterbury area, it's a history in law enforcement. Having a "tough on crime" persona and attitude is a huge plus in those towns and Witkos' background and personality would surely fit the Waterbury area better than Roraback's Ivy League background and his genteel (although friendly) personality did.

I think Witkos has what it takes to do well in the Hills, the Valley, and the Waterbury area. What do you guys think?

Here's Witkos' biography from his official website:

RockRibbedR :: Connecticut's 5th Congressional District: Looking Ahead to 2014
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He seems like an ideal candidate to win CT-05, especially in a midterm, with an unpopular Malloy up for re-election. Perhaps the only question I have is this: does he have the socially moderate profile to do well in the Farmington Valley?

Lifelong Republican, TX-17

Not sure
Even if he doesn't have a Roraback like social issue profile, the fact that he represents a good portion of the Farmington Valley in the State Senate (and won his seat in 2008) means that he's obviously struck the right tone thus far.

From IL-09, familial roots in MI-14, college in PA-02/07, and working for the summer in DC-AL.

Andy Hill for WA-Governor!

[ Parent ]
Alternatives clearly have a challenge
The other candidates bandied about by the GOP state chairmen(State sens Chapin, Kane, & McLachlan and the 2012 primary losers) all pretty much have personas as more hard line partisans than Roraback was. Mark Greenberg in particular is a full throat Tea Partier and would be a tough sell in moderate towns  

[ Parent ]
we don't know if he even has any interest in becomes a Congressman
He owns a bar and has a nice job and family, he may be happy with his life.

[ Parent ]
That may well be true
...but Witkos also has an ideal profile for the district. If he wants to run, great. If not, totally ok, but may as well make some noise about getting him into the race.

The purpose of this diary was to get a discussion going about who we could nominate in 2014 to take down Elizabeth Esty. I'm not saying Witkos is our only strong potential candidate, I'm simply suggesting he'd be a strong one if he has interest in running.

From IL-09, familial roots in MI-14, college in PA-02/07, and working for the summer in DC-AL.

Andy Hill for WA-Governor!

[ Parent ]
What do you think of Lisa Wilson-Foley?
She came in 4th in the 2012 primary but it seemed like that was at least partially due to the fact that she was a similar candidate to the better-known Roraback. She's a self-funder, which is always a plus in an uphill race like this, and it may be helpful to run a pro-choice woman against another pro-choice woman.

I just did a little more reading on her and she said she has no interest in running for office again.

[ Parent ]
John Rowland
That and, even if she did want to run again, her Rowland shenanigans really hurt her in 2012.

From IL-09, familial roots in MI-14, college in PA-02/07, and working for the summer in DC-AL.

Andy Hill for WA-Governor!

[ Parent ]

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