Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty and her Republican challenger Mark Greenberg will both receive double-billing on this year’s ballot in the 5th Congressional District race.
Both candidates were cross-endorsed this week by a third party, meaning their names will appear twice on the ballot. Esty, a first-term Democratic congresswoman, received the nomination of the liberal Working Families Party on Thursday.
“The party focuses on economic justice issues like raising the minimum wage, creating good jobs with fair pay and quality benefits, finding solutions to the student debt crisis, and ensuring that all workers can retire with financial security and dignity. Elizabeth Esty is committed to standing up for these principles, and that is why they earned the support of the Working Families Party,” a WFP press release read.
The Working Families statement criticized Greenberg, saying he favored a tax structure that benefits corporation and supports privatizing Social Security.
Greenberg, a conservative property developer, also received a third-party endorsement this week when won the nod of the Independent Party during a caucus meeting.
In a statement, Greenberg’s campaign manager, Bill Evans, said the endorsement “demonstrates that Mark Greenberg’s message of being an independent-minded candidate who will vote his conscience is resonating with voters. Mark’s approach stands in sharp contrast with the standard partisan positions of Congresswoman Esty who continues to toe the Obama line on every issue, no matter how much her votes hurt working families.”
Two Independent Party caucus members suggested Esty’s name during the Tuesday meeting. Unlike Greenberg, Esty did not attend the meeting or address the group. Greenberg stressed that point when he spoke to the group
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am here,” he said and paused “to talk to you about why I’m running for Congress.”
It is common for both third parties to cross endorse candidates of one of the major parties. In this year’s gubernatorial contest, the Working Families Party has cross endorsed Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Independent Party has cross endorsed his Republican challenger, Tom Foley.
Despite similar nominating practices, the Working Families Party emailed a fundraising letter Thursday criticizing the Independent Party and its endorsement of Foley.
“The ‘Independent Party’ isn’t so much a party as a trick on the ballot. It doesn’t have a platform or a set of values. This move is little more than a cynical attempt to trick voters who aren’t paying much attention into thinking that independent-minded voters are backing Foley,” Working Families Party Communications Director Taylor Leake wrote.
The Independent Party is the third largest party in Connecticut and its candidates received more votes in 2012 than the Working Families Party.