Tags: Mark Greenberg | Elizabeth Esty | GOP House race | Connecticut

Term Limits, Rowland Scandal Boost GOP Hopeful in Conn. House Race

Monday, 15 September 2014 06:28 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The once-potent and now rarely used issue of congressional term limits has given a major booster shot to Republican chances of taking Connecticut’s 5th U.S. House District, where re-election was once considered a certainty for freshman Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty.

In addition — and somewhat incredibly — Republican candidate and businessman Mark Greenberg has been given some fresh attention and momentum from his small role in the sensational corruption trial of former Republican Gov. John Rowland that much of Connecticut is riveted to these days.

Rowland, who was convicted of bribery while governor (1994-2003) and served 10 months in prison, is now being charged with conspiring with Lisa Wilson-Foley, a Republican congressional hopeful in the 5th District in 2012, and her husband Brian Foley, to violate federal campaign finance reporting laws. The Foleys have pleaded guilty, and claim that Brian paid Rowland $35,000 through his company to conceal that the former governor was working for Lisa’s campaign. Rowland has denied this.

Greenberg, who was a candidate for the same Republican House nomination in ’10, has testified that Rowland made a similar offer to work for him with a price tag of more than $700,000 and that he flatly rejected it

“Whatever publicity from this trial that has focused on Mark Greenberg has been positive,” Greenberg consultant and former State GOP Chairman Dick Foley (no relation to Brian or Lisa) told Newsmax. “In an age when voters increasingly think of politicians of both parties as dishonest, here was an honest man who said no to a corrupt bargain.”

Foley likened Greenberg’s testimony about refusing to make the deal to the filmed refusal of then-Sen. Larry Pressler (R.-South Dakota) to take money from FBI agents posing as Arab sheiks in the celebrated ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s and early '80s, which brought down one U.S. senator and six U.S. representatives who did take the money.

Just as fascinating as the “Rowland refusal” is the pledge of Greenberg, 60, that “I will serve no more than four terms” if elected.

Although the term limit pledge was quite popular among Republican House hopefuls in the 1990s and, especially, in 1994 (when the GOP captured the House for the first time in four decades), candidates have gradually abjured from taking it in more recent campaigns — in large part because Republicans have controlled the House for all but four of the last 20 years.

Even the U.S. Term Limits group has backed away from the pledge. Last year, USTL President Phil Blumel told Newsmax that his organization no longer asks candidates to limit their own tenure in Congress, but to sign a pledge vowing to support legislation that would limit the terms of House members to three, two-year terms and U.S. senators to two, six-year terms.

“But I believe strongly members of Congress should limit their terms and go back to the private sector and work among people at home,” said Greenberg, who was a pioneer in marketing cellular phones and has a successful real estate company.

Although Esty was not in Congress to vote for Obamacare when it was enacted in 2010, she has, Greenberg notes, “never done anything to amend or stop any of parts of it that are especially costly to consumers. Look, I realize true repeal won’t come about until there is a Republican president and Congress. But in the meantime, there are proposals to make it easier to deal with Obamacare and she has backed none of them.”

The Greenberg campaign is now deploying a hard-hitting video featuring a clip of Esty saying of Obamacare: “I will stand by it with every breath that I have.”

Consultant Foley added that “in a state where an estimated 150,000 people lost their health care policies due to Obamacare’s regulations, “it’s an issue, all right.”

So far, Greenberg has put $1 million of his own money in the campaign and raised another $500,000. Supporters note that the four largest cities in the 5th District have Republican mayors (Torrington, New Britain, Danbury, and Meriden) and their organizations will help Greenberg.
“Republicans, as they do in the Senate, have many more good pickup opportunities [in the House] than Democrats,” concluded the Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan and Aaron Blake recently.

With some boosts from such rare sources as term limits and a corruption trial, Connecticut-5 may now be one of them.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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The once-potent and now rarely used issue of congressional term limits has given a major booster shot to Republican chances of taking Connecticut's 5th U.S. House District.
Mark Greenberg, Elizabeth Esty, GOP House race, Connecticut
Monday, 15 September 2014 06:28 AM
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