A Republican and a Democrat have formed congressional campaign committees in the race for an open seat in the 5th Congressional District.

Former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Cheshire, and Justin Bernier, who sought the GOP nomination last year, have filed their campaign papers, allowing them to begin raising money in an effort to succeed U.S Rep. Chris Murphy, a Democrat running for Senate in 2012.

Esty is married to Daniel C. Esty, the new commissioner of environmental protection in the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Last fall, she lost her bid for re-election to Al Adinolfi, the Republican she had unseated two years earlier.

Both Esty and Bernier will have competition for their respective nominations. House Speaker Chris Donovan, D-Meriden, is among those weighing a run for the Democratic nomination.

Bernier announced his candidacy in January, but he only recently formed a campaign committee, as did Esty. Bernier already has a campaign web site.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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