Matt DeRienzo photo
Republican Mark Greenberg, the Litchfield real estate developer challenging U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty’s bid for a second term representing Connecticut’s 5th District, has spent nearly $4 million so far in three attempts at the seat.

Greenberg, who made his money in residential and commercial real estate in Connecticut and New York, spent about $3 million of his own money in unsuccessful Republican primary bids in 2010 and 2012.

This year, unopposed for the Republican nomination, he has loaned his campaign more than $1.1 million, but repaid himself approximately $280,000 after receiving donations of $300,000 from individuals and political action committees. He has donated $70,000 to the campaign outright.

Esty has raised more than $2.5 million for her re-election bid. She loaned her own campaign more than $500,000 in her first bid for Congress two years ago, but hasn’t made any loans to her campaign this year.

IOWA GETS ESTY CASH: Politico reports that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will spend $600,000 to help an incumbent Iowa congressmen whose seat it once thought was safe, shifting the funds from helping an incumbent — Connecticut’s Elizabeth Esty — it once thought was vulnerable but increasingly believes will be re-elected comfortably.

DEMS ATTACK WRONG MARK GREENBERG: Saying that Mark Greenberg “identifies as Jewish” in an “opposition research book” about him wasn’t the only embarrassing part of the DCCC’s effort to help Esty defeat the Republican challenger. The Hartford Courant’s Jon Lender, who originally obtained a copy of the document, has exposed that many areas of “attack research” listed are based on the wrong person. There’s apparently more than one Mark Greenberg who has been involved in real estate development and management in New York.

“It’s a complicated story that demonstrates the pitfalls of doing research on the Internet without following up by speaking directly with people named in property documents, corporate records, and court actions,” Lender wrote. “The Courant did speak directly with the people named in those documents.”

Esty said she has not personally read the opposition research book prepared by the DCCC, but that “both sides” do this kind of thing. And although the potential negative items about Greenberg were compiled in a document, the Esty campaign has not publicly used the items Lender debunks to attack Greenberg.

Greenberg’s campaign alleges that someone has been using the bogus research on Esty’s behalf. It has complained about “push polls” being undertaken in the 5th District that mention material from the research book. Esty has denied knowledge or involvement in the use of push polls.

EBOLA: Mark Greenberg showed prescience in making Ebola a campaign issue in the 5th District race. A day after Greenberg called for a travel ban from affected countries in West Africa and criticized Esty and President Obama for not taking more drastic measures, a second health care worker in Texas was diagnosed with the disease. Revelations that the woman took an airline flight to Cleveland, potentially exposing more people, caused some panic. Republican leaders in Connecticut called for a hearing on the state’s readiness to fight the disease. And Obama canceled an appearance in Bridgeport on behalf of Gov. Dan Malloy to stay in Washington and meet with his cabinet about the Ebola outbreak.

EARLY VOTING: Unlike other states that have increasingly experimented with “early voting,” you can’t cast a ballot in Connecticut’s 5th District Congressional race before Tuesday, Nov. 4, unless you swear the reason is that you will be “out-of-state, are disabled, or are unable to go to the polls on Election Day because of . . . religious beliefs.”

Laura Maloney, spokeswoman for the Esty campaign, said that Esty supports a referendum on the ballot this year that would change the Connecticut state constitution to open the door to early voting.

DEBATE WILL COST $40: The second (and possibly final) debate between Elizabeth Esty and Mark Greenberg could draw a significantly smaller crowd than the hundreds who showed up for their first meeting in Danbury last week. There will be an admission charge — $40 — for the noon to 2 p.m. debate that will be hosted by the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury.

GREENBERG WON’T TALK GUNS?: The Republican-American newspaper of Waterbury published a brief news article Tuesday claiming that Mark Greenberg is refusing to be interviewed about his stance on gun control. Under the heading, “Greenberg rejects interview on guns,” the newspaper wrote that “Greenberg’s campaign refused repeated requests for an interview” about comments he made during a debate in Danbury the night before. Those comments — agreeing with Elizabeth Esty that the country should adopt universal background checks for gun purchases — led the National Rifle Association to drop its rating of Greenberg’s candidacy from “A” to “F.” As noted in the Republican-American article, though, Greenberg did speak freely with CTNewsJunkie.com about the issue at a fundraiser in Cheshire Friday night. He also spoke to a reporter with the News-Times of Danbury about the issue.