Democratic congressional candidate Elizabeth Esty’s resume is a road map to much of her fundraising, but her rival for the 5th District seat, Andrew Roraback, is taking a different path that includes reaching out to a powerful state organization.
Former colleagues at Harvard and Yale law school have given Esty campaign money. So have fellow lawyers she’s worked with and friends and neighbors in her hometown of Cheshire.
As of July 25, for instance, more than 30 employees of Washington, D.C., law firm Sidley Austin contributed a total of nearly $26,000 to Esty’s campaign, making the law firm one of Esty’s top sources of money.
Esty worked briefly for Sidley Austin in the late 1980s. In the last few years, the firm has become a major consultant for Exxon Mobil Corp. and TransCanada Corp. in their efforts to press forward with Keystone, a $30 billion plan for a natural gas pipeline from Alaska to the continental United States, a project environmentalists are trying to halt.
Esty, who considers herself a strong environmentalist and is married to Dan Esty, the head of Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, has said she opposes the construction of the pipeline.
“I had no idea (Sidley Austin) represents them,” Esty said this week.
Meanwhile, Roraback is looking for some new support in the state to try to counter Esty’s fundraising edge. As of July 25, the most recent Federal Election Commission disclosure deadline, Esty had raised $2.1 million, about $525,000 from her own pocket. Roraback had raised about $573,000.
Roraback visited officers of the Connecticut Road Builders Association this week and promised them he’d try to secure more money to build roads and bridges in the state if they help send him to Congress.
He also said that Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, will come to Connecticut to host a fundraiser for him.
Roraback said Shuster’s panel is his top pick for a committee assignment.
Roraback also said he’d welcome help from other Republican leaders in Washington, including House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority leader Eric Cantor. But Roraback, a moderate who has said he won’t march lockstep with today’s conservative GOP, said he would set the ground rules for any fundraiser that featured a Republican congressional leader.
“I am a Republican and I need to raise money,” Roraback said. “But I need to explain to them if they come here, it has to be on my terms.”