A Democratic candidate in the 5th Congressional District said his support of one of his opponents, if they win the nomination on Aug. 14, is conditional.
Dan Roberti of Kent told WFSB’s Dennis House on Sunday that he’s not able to support House Speaker Chris Donovan should he be become the party’s nominee in the three-way contest, if he learns Donovan knew what his former campaign staffers were doing.
“I need to know a lot more about what’s going on with the investigation,” Roberti told House during a taping of Face the State. “I certainly wouldn’t be able to support someone if it comes between now and that point that he indeed had knowledge of this issue.”
Roberti is referring to the federal investigation in which eight people have been charged, including two of Donovan’s former campaign staffers, with hiding the source of nearly $30,000 in campaign donations. The federal indictment alleges that roll-your-own tobacco shop owners used straw donors to make campaign donations in order to defeat legislation detrimental to their business interests. Donovan, who declined to appear on the program with his opponents, has repeatedly said he had no knowledge of the scheme.
Former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty, the other Democrat vying for the nomination, said she would “support the nominee of the party.”
Esty said her main concern is voter apathy.
“I’m mostly concerned people will get frustrated and not vote,” Esty said. “I do think it’s extremely important people vote and that they not take what’s happened here as a reason not to vote.”
Esty and Roberti said nothing like what happened in Donovan’s campaign could have happened in their campaigns.
Esty said she knows who all her donors are and if she doesn’t recognize a name she asks. Roberti, who has been through at least four campaign managers and a handful of finance directors, said Donovan’s lack of knowledge about what was happening in the campaign points to poor management skills.
There are no public polls of the contest in the 5th District, but Donovan seems to continue to lead his opponents in labor support and support from progressive groups such as Moveon.org. None of his support has faded even in light of the superseding indictment, which detailed the involvement of his former campaign manager, Josh Nassi.
“It’s not surprising Dennis House would feel need to question their commitment to the Democratic nominee, given their questionable commitment to the values of the Democratic party,” Gabe Rosenberg, Donovan’s campaign spokesman, said.