Bernier announces support of 60 Republican leaders

Republican candidate Justin Bernier announced the support of 60 Republican leaders for his campaign in the 5th Congressional District Tuesday afternoon, one year ahead of the 2012 Connecticut Republican Convention.

Justin Bernier

Justin Bernier

The list of supporters includes Republican activists, officeholders, and town committee members from 27 municipalities across western Connecticut. Thirty-eight of the 60 supporters served as delegates during the 2010 Connecticut Republican Convention.

“These respected leaders know their communities as well as anyone, and I’m honored to have their support,” Bernier said in an e-mailed statement.

Bernier, a former intelligence officer in the Naval Reserve and member of former Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s administration, announced his candidacy in late January. Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy plans to run for U.S. Senate, making the 5th District a rare and competitive open seat with a slew of interested candidates.

Bernier ran for the seat in 2010, but lost the Republican endorsement to Waterbury lawyer Sam Caligiuri. Bernier said the support feels much stronger the second time around.

“The donor support and the political support we had in 2010 is still there and we picked up a lot of people along the way,” he said. “We’re bringing a bigger game to the stadium this time.”

Bernier will compete with Farmington Town Council Chairman Mike Clark, real estate developer Mark Greenberg and businesswoman Lisa Wilson-Foley for the Republican nomination. His Democratic opponents include former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty, House Speaker Chris Donovan, Dan Roberti of Kent and newcomer Mike Williams.