(Updated 5:34 p.m.) Republican Sen. Andrew Roraback says he isn’t going to sit idly by as his Democratic opponent Elizabeth Esty portrays him as someone he isn’t. He urged his opponent to stick to the issues.
“Her campaign ads are dishonest and her public comments about me are dishonest,” Roraback said Tuesday at a Hartford press conference.
Roraback and Esty are vying for the 5th Congressional District seat being vacated by Chris Murphy, who is running for the U.S. Senate.
“What we all deserve is a discussion of the issues facing Connecticut and the nation,” Roraback said.
Esty’s campaign said that’s exactly what they have been doing and denied misrepresented anything Roraback has said, including his position on Social Security, which they cited in the campaign’s first general election ad.
“During the Republican Primary, he called changes to Social Security including raising the retirement age and cutting cost of living adjustments ‘essential.’ Now, Senator Roraback is trying to deny he holds these views, calling Elizabeth names in an attempt to hide the truth,” Jeb Fain, Esty’s spokesman, said.
According to the fact check accompanying Esty’s ad, Roraback stated at a candidate forum in March that “We’re going to have look at adopting some of the recommendations contained in the Simpson-Bowles report. None of them are appealing and none of them are appetizing, but all of them are going to be essential, if we’re going to keep the system from collapsing of its own weight.”
The Esty campaign says some of the recommendations in the Simpson-Bowles report call for increasing the retirement age and reducing cost of living adjustments.
But Roraback said drawing that conclusion is a stretch.
“Elizabeth Esty is deliberately trying to scare seniors to fuel her personal political ambition and that is simply the wrong thing to do,” he said.
He said it seems to him that when there is disagreement on the issues, her solution is to send the people she disagrees without out of town. Roraback is referring to a decade-old video of Esty speaking at a town meeting where she suggested those upset with the results of a property revaluation “are always welcome to move to one of our neighboring towns.”
Roraback said he’s committed to making sure the Social Security system remains in its present form for everyone currently over the age of 50. He said the only change he would recommend to the current system is an increasing in cost-of-living adjustments for low-income seniors.
He said everyone needs to take off their partisan hats and sit down to come up with a solution for making Social Security solvent for everyone under age 50. He said there needs to be a long-term solution because the system goes broke in 2037.
Roraback pointed out that he and Esty actually agree on raising the cap on wages subject to the payroll tax as part of the solution to the Social Security crisis.
Roraback spent 15-minutes outlining the issues and he showed all three of the advertisements, including Esty’s and another by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
A veteran political reporter asked Roraback what he thought he was getting into when he decided to run for an open congressional seat where control of the House of Representatives is at stake.
“What did you think, this was the Boy Scouts?” Mark Davis of WTNH asked.
“No. I didn’t think this was the Boys Scouts, but I thought the debate would be moored in the truth,” Roraback replied. “You know there’s the expression: False in one thing, false in all things.”
Roraback’s campaign has called upon all television stations in the state to stop running the DCCC ad which calls him a Tea Party Republican and implies he would support U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget. He says it’s not true.
Since the DCCC isn’t obligated to have equal time, television stations will have to make a decision about whether the ad should be pulled.
“There is an ongoing dialogue with the television stations,” Roraback said. “They don’t have to run the lies of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.”
The same rules don’t apply to the ad the Esty campaign is running, which Roraback also believes is misleading because the Federal Communications Commission requires equal time to be given to candidates.