Roberti urges Donovan to quit race, saying he cannot win in November

Dan Roberti, a rival for the Democratic congressional nomination, urged House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan to end his congressional campaign today, saying Donovan is too wounded to be successful in November should he still win the primary in August.

“It is time for Chris Donovan to withdraw from the primary race for the good of the Connecticut Democratic Party and to protect the seat. He has hidden behind lawyers and never stepped up to explain how members of his campaign staff could have arranged conduit contributions without his knowledge,” Roberti said.

Tom Swan, Donovan’s campaign manager, said his candidate remains the strongest Democrat in the race.

“We have a clear path to victory in August and November,” he said.

Roberti’s call comes a day after the indictment of Donovan’s former campaign fundraiser, Robert Braddock Jr. The indictment released Wednesday gave new details of efforts by Donovan’s former campaign team to raise money from smoke shop owners interested in killing tobacco legislation.

“New revelations in the indictment show Chris Donovan just a breath away from the questionable activities of his campaign staff,” Roberti said. “We will lose the seat if Chris Donovan is the nominee, so he must remove himself from the primary race.”

The other Democrat in the race, former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty, has not made a similar demand, which would antagonize Donovan’s considerable labor support.