Based on poll results from both before and after the arrest of Chris Donovan’s campaign finance director, the national progressive group MoveOn.org on Wednesday endorsed the embattled House Speaker’s candidacy in the 5th Congressional District.
MoveOn.org surveyed its members on May 31, the same day news broke of the campaign finance director’s arrest, and then again last week. In the May 31 poll, Donovan received 59 percent of the support in the 24-hour survey, putting him 20 points ahead of his nearest competitor.
With no new information from the federal government available since the arrest, MoveOn decided to re-poll its members, asking Donovan supporters if the allegations against the former staffer caused them to change their mind.
According to Daniel Mintz, the group’s national director of coordinated campaigns, the overwhelming majority reaffirmed their support for Donovan.
“Three people responded that they wanted to change their vote,” Mintz said. He was hesitant, however, to say exactly how many participated in the surveys. It was in the hundreds, he said.
Those who did give MoveOn feedback said they appreciated how Donovan has handled himself during the ordeal. Many of those who participated in the survey felt Donovan did the right thing by firing the staff involved and by hiring former U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy to conduct an independent investigation.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Twardy said the investigation would be completed by the end of this week, or early next week. He declined to describe exactly what his investigation has entailed.
The Donovan campaign has said it will hand the results of Twardy’s investigation over to the U.S. Attorney’s office and leave it up to them to decide whether to share it with news media.
Donovan is being challenged by former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire and Dan Roberti of Kent.
The MoveOn endorsement will be added to a long list of endorsements that includes the AFL-CIO, a statewide labor organization which boasts 200,000 members from more than 500 unions.
What does a MoveOn endorsement mean? It means there are more than 15,000 members in the 5th Congressional District willing to volunteer for Donovan’s campaign, Mintz said.
It also means Donovan could receive money from MoveOn’s SuperPAC, which reports more than 7 million members from every state and every congressional district. Since its founding in 1998, it has raised more than $29 million in small-donor contributions and MoveOn members have volunteered tens of millions of hours for progressive candidates.
“In a year when voters are searching for candidates who will stand up for the 99 percent, there are few leaders with a more impressive record than Chris Donovan,” Mintz said. “Chris’ work bringing good-paying jobs to Connecticut, his efforts to reduce the influence of money in politics, and his commitment to providing quality health care for all make him the only choice for working families.”