FARMINGTON—Two days before the Republican convention, the former FBI agent and Farmington Town Council President Mike Clark officially ended his campaign for Congress and endorsed his Republican opponent Sen. Andrew Roraback of Goshen.
Before giving a brief speech he told to the handful of reporters waiting for the announcement that his supporters would be lining up behind him as he made his remarks. A TV cameraman asked if he would be using a podium, and Clark half-joked that “if I could afford a podium I’d still be in the race.”
Clark conceded that the delegate support and the fundraising, which go hand-in-hand, just wasn’t there.
“I have reached the conclusion that my campaign has not gained the traction necessary to defeat the Democratic nominee in the general election,” Clark said in his formal remarks.
He encouraged the 12 delegates, some of whom were in attendance, and two super delegates from Farmington to instead give their support to Roraback.
Roraback possesses the key attributes to return the seat to the Republican party, Clark said.
“He embodies the spirit and independence of the New England Republican,“ Clark said of Roraback. “He has a record of victory in elections and has a substantive record of governance, which proves not only his Republican principles but his ability to build consensus and lead effectively.”
Roraback called Clark’s endorsement a “boost” to his campaign. He said it shows that his campaign is peaking at just the right time. Republicans will nominate their candidates Friday afternoon at the Convention Center in Hartford.
Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr., who also attended Clark’s announcement, said his concern is that the party find the “strongest possible candidate to defeat Chris Donovan this November.”
The 5th Congressional District seat is currently held by U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, a Democrat who is running for the U.S. Senate. Earlier this week the three Democratic candidates, Donovan, Elizabeth Esty, and Dan Roberti received enough delegate support to primary. The district is considered a swing district because about 44 to 45 percent of the voters don’t belong to either of the two major parties.
“Ultimately that candidate is one that will be acceptable to the Republican base and can attract enough unaffiliated voters to win,” Labriola said. “We are very fortunate to have four terrific candidates.”
The four candidates include Mark Greenberg of Litchfield, Justin Bernier of Plainville, Lisa Wilson-Foley of Simsbury, and Roraback.
Roraback said the fact that the Democratic State Central Committee’s video tracker was there taping everything he said was proof that he’s the candidate to beat.
“Jeff Chase has been following me every where I go,” Roraback said. “Don’t necessarily take Mike’s word for it that I’m the candidate who represents our party’s best hope. Take the word of the Democratic State Central Committee who has made it their business to commit a lot of resources to try and catch me saying something untoward. “
Clark said it’s his goal to get Chase to register with the Republicans before the end of the election cycle.