Elizabeth Esty declares for Congress

It’s not a surprise. She already formed a candidate committee to begin raising money, but former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Cheshire, declared her candidacy for Congress today in the 5th District, becoming the first declared Democrat.

“I have decided to officially jump into the race,” Esty said by email. “It’s important that Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District send someone to Washington who will fight tirelessly and effectively to bring good-paying jobs back to our state. I commit to work with members of both parties to lay the foundation for a strong economy, ensure that we have jobs for our children, and restore prosperity to the middle class.”

U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy’s decision to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012 leaves open the 5th District seat he won in 2006. Esty was at Murphy’s announcement for the Senate seat now held by the retiring Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman.

Esty was a one-term state representative who unseated Republican Al Adinolfi in 2008, then lost a rematch in the GOP-leaning district in 2010. Her support for repealing the death penalty was a prominent issue.

She is married to Dan Esty, the commissioner of environmental protection. Like her husband, she has an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a law degree from Yale.

House Speaker Christopher Donovan, D-Meriden, is among those also considering a run for the Democratic nomination in the district. Dan Roberti of Kent also has formed a candidate committee.

The Republican field already is crowded. Mike Clark, a Farmington town council chairman and retired FBI agent, declared his candidacy last week, joining Mark Greenberg and Justin Bernier, who each ran last year. Sam Caligiuri, the GOP nominee in 2010, is not running.