Daniel C. Esty, the Yale professor nominated by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to head the new Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, is scheduled to start his new job March 8, but his nomination hearing scheduled for Thursday will be postponed.
Rumors of the delay immediately raised concerns that House Speaker Chris Donovan, who controls the House, would try to derail Esty’s nomination because Esty’s wife, Elizabeth, announced Wednesday in the Meriden Record Journal that she was interested in running for U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy’s seat in the Fifth Congressional District.
Donovan has also expressed interest in Murphy’s Congressional seat, which means the two Democrats may be running against each other in a primary.
Elizabeth Esty is the former one-term state representative from the 103rd House District.
Mrs. Esty did not return calls seeking comments regarding her interest in the seat, but Donovan’s office and the governor’s office quickly put to rest rumors that there was any concern about Mr. Esty’s nomination.
Colleen Flanagan, spokeswoman for Malloy, said Esty’s nomination hearing had to be changed because of a “scheduling conflict,” and they are working with the Executive and Legislative Nominations Committee to reschedule.
Mr. Esty’s nomination expires March 9, so if he is not confirmed by the committee before then his name will need to be resubmitted for consideration.
News of the rumors that he would try and thwart his potential political opponents spouse took Donovan’s office by surprise. In order to quiet any fears, Donovan’s office called the governor’s office to reassure them Mr. Esty’s nomination should be resubmitted as a House resolution if it comes to that. One source said it’s not in Donovan’s DNA to even think of doing something like that.
Flanagan said there’s no intention to resubmit the nomination as a Senate resolution. She said it will remain a House resolution, which means it will need to be approved by the House, which Donovan oversees.
Neither Donovan or Mrs. Esty, both Democrats, have officially announced their intentions to run for Murphy’s seat. Murphy announced in January that he will run for U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s vacated seat leaving the Fifth District race wide open.
Two Republicans: Mark Greenberg of Litchfield and Justin Bernier of Plainville have announced their intention to run for Murphy’s seat.
And while the process has yet to get underway, the results of the 2010 Census will be used this year to redraw the lines of local, state and federal political districts. Donovan will chair the bipartisan Reapportionment Committee, along with Rep. Sandy Nafis, Sen. President Donald Williams, and Sen. Majority Leader Martin Looney.
The bipartisan legislative committee will begin looking at how to reapportion the state’s political lines sometime after it receives the information from the U.S. Census Bureau in April. The redrawing of the lines won’t be as dramatic as they were after the 2000 Census when Connecticut lost an entire Congressional District, however, even the slightest change could impact the 2012 election or the makeup of the Fifth Congressional District.
Click here for more information on how redistricting could impact the Fifth Congressional District.