Washington – Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, and her Republican challenger, Mark Greenberg, avoided bashing each other in new TV campaign ads Friday, but Esty used a press conference to startanother round in a heated exchange over a campaign e-mail dealing with ISIS and the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff by Islamic militants.

A week ago Greenberg’s campaign issued an email release urging tougher action against the Islamic militants known as ISIS and saying that Esty “remained quiet on this critical issue of national security until after the bombs started dropping.”The e-mail included a button common on most campaign e-mails that allows people to click to contribute to a candidate.

The Esty campaign then issued a press release demanding that Greenberg immediately apologize for the email, saying it used the beheading of Sotloff not only to attack Esty but to solicit campaign funds.

The Esty campaign release quoted Lt. Colonel Mike Zacchea, a Brookfield resident and retired Marine who served in Iraq and who said he’s seen a number of videos of terrorists beheading fellow soldiers.

“The fact that Mark Greenberg would use the beheading of Steven Sotloff as a fundraising opportunity very clearly shows he has no sense of decency and no sense of right and wrong. Apparently, there is no depth of depravity to which Mr. Greenberg will (not) sink in order to gain political power and raise money,” Zacchea said.

Mark Greenberg, (file photo)
Mark Greenberg, (file photo)

Greenberg’s campaign responded to Esty’s attacks with another release that said it had not received any money from the email about Sotloff – who has a link to Connecticut because he graduated from Rumsey Hall, a private school in Washington, Conn.

The Greenberg campaign also said, “Esty has yet to post a single release condemning the beheading of two Americans on her website,” and the Esty campaign “actually has TWO, yes TWO ‘contribute’ buttons on her own website page… right above her complaints about our button. Bizarre? Yes. But Elizabeth Esty\’s hypocrisy knows no bounds and she will stop at nothing to pursue partisan, political advantage.”

Rep. Elizabeth Esty (file photo)
Rep. Elizabeth Esty (file photo) CTMirror File Photo

At herpress conference call Friday, Esty condemned the terrorist acts and joined Zacchea in repeating a demand that Greenberg apologize. Zacchea said he was “scandalized that Mr. Greenberg would use the murder of Mr. Sotloff for political purposes.”

After the conference call, Greenberg\’s campaign manager, Bill Evans, said that, “Perhaps Ms. Esty can now focus on writing a press release or having a conference call that expresses the same level of outrage over two murdered Americans as she does about a green button.”

Esty’s new TV ad also features Zacchea, a recipient of the Purple Heart who said he was injured by a grenade in Iraq.

The ad features combat scenes and scenes of Esty and Zacchea walking and having coffee together.The Brookfield Democratic Town Committee posted Esty\’s new ad on its website Friday afternoon and identified Zacchea as a member of the town committee.

“The transition coming home is terribly difficult,” he says in the ad. “Elizabeth Esty has been a real advocate and friend of veterans, helping them come home, helping them through the bureaucracy and the red tape at the VA.”

“She’s also helping veterans access the disability benefits and health care that they’ve earned. Elizabeth Esty cares about veterans,” Zacchea says.

Greenberg\’s new ad, called “Barking Dogs,” features stray pups at the Simon Foundation, an animal shelter founded by the candidate.

In the ad, which does not mention Esty, Greenberg says he can handle the barking in his kennel but, “it’s the barking in Washington that needs to stop.”

“Republicans and Democrats bark at each other while nothing gets done,” Greenberg says.He also says he’s a businessman and “outsider” who can end the partisan squabbling.

“I rescue dogs in Connecticut, and I’ll rescue us from Washington because politicians don’t just bark, they bite,” Greenberg said.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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