Andrew W. Roraback, a former Republican state senator who used Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as a foil in his losing race for an open congressional seat last year, is in the mix of potential judicial nominees as Malloy prepares to fill vacancies today on the Superior Court.
Sources say that Roraback, who narrowly lost to U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, has been approved as qualified by the Judicial Selection Commission, the non-partisan screening panel for would-be judges.
Malloy, a Democrat who is scheduled to announce judicial nominations this afternoon, recently sought recommendations from the Republican minority leaders, Sen. John P. McKinney of Fairfield and Rep. Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. of Norwalk.
The governor is expected to select one nominee from the names suggested by the GOP leaders. His office declined to confirm or deny that Roraback was under consideration.
Roraback declined to comment.
A nomination of Roraback would shrink the potential GOP field of candidates in 2014, when Esty will face re-election in a competitive district without the boost of a presidential election, which helps Democratic turnout in Connecticut.
She beat Roraback by fewer than 7,500 votes.
It also would put Malloy in the position of offering an appointment to someone who was a critic of the administration’s fiscal policies and made Malloy an issue during the congressional race.
“If you don’t like what Dan Malloy has done for Connecticut, you are not going to like what Elizabeth Esty will do in Washington,” Roraback said during the campaign.
Roraback and Malloy also engaged in several sharp exchanges over finances during meetings of the Bond Commission, a 10-member panel composed of constitutional officers and legislators.
Roraback, who was one of two GOP members, objected to the state’s $291 million subsidy of the Jackson Laboratory’s genetic research facility at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington.
“We’re going to be investing $3 million per scientist,” Roraback told Malloy. “I think it is fair to ask how many other states made investments on this level?”
“You can slice and dice with respect to what each job costs,” Malloy told Roraback. “You can do basic math as well as anyone does basic math, but it misses the point.”
Malloy said the investment had the potential to attract and create bio-science jobs beyond those at Jackson Laboratory.
Roraback, 52, of Goshen served 18 years in the General Assembly, leaving in January. He was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1994, serving three two-year terms before his election to the state Senate in 2000.
In the legislature, he had a reputation as a fiscal conservative, with a moderate to liberal record on social issues. He supported gay marriage and abortion rights.
He says he never missed a floor vote in his 18 years.
He is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia Law School.
Follow Mark Pazniokas on Twitter @CTMirrorPaz