Only days ago, Connecticut was rocked by revelations that Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., not only kept on her top assistant after learning he had written an abusive email to a former girlfriend who also worked on her staff, but later Esty wrote a letter of recommendation for him.
Now, both the press and Esty's fellow Democrats in the Nutmeg State are clamoring for the immediate resignation the three-term lawmaker. Democrats increasingly discuss what will happen when Esty goes and Republicans are suddenly excited about their chances of picking up the most marginal of Connecticut's five U.S. House districts (Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in the 5th by a margin of 50 to 46 percent).
In a strongly-worded editorial on Friday, the Hartford Courant called for Esty to step down. In addition, Sen. Paul Doyle of Rocky Hill declared, "I join with my state Senate colleagues and call on Congresswoman Esty to resign her seat."
State Senate President Martin Looney said that Esty "needs to go," as did likely gubernatorial candidate and three-term Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz.
Over the Easter holiday, Esty insisted through a spokesman, "I will not resign." But betting is strong that, with drumbeat of demands from within her own party, Esty will either resign or announce she isn't running again before the Connecticut filing deadline June 7.
Already several sources told Newsmax that Dan Roberti, former head of a homeless shelter and Esty's 2012 primary opponent, is already positioning himself for another run. The son of storied Connecticut "fixer" and "superlobbyist" Vin Roberti, Dan's '12 bid for Congress was fueled by $1 million-plus in funding – more than 95 percent of it from out of state. Most observers credit this funding to the elder Roberti, whose wide circle of clients and friends included disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Sources who spoke to Newsmax say that the Democratic organization in the 5th is unlikely to let Roberti get the nomination without a fight and will almost surely field an "establishment" candidate of their own – most likely, Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary. Like Frank Rizzo of Philadelphia and Ben DiLieto of New Haven, Conn., O'Leary was a lifelong policeman who rose to become a two-fisted chief and easily parlayed his "law and order" brand into the mayoralty. O'Leary has been mayor since 2011 and, following a charter change, became the first mayor of the Brass City ever to win a four-year term in 2017.
Republicans have what State Party Chairman J.R. Romano called "a great candidate" in Manny Santos, former mayor of Meriden. Known for his combative style, Santos blasted Esty for what he called her "hypocrisy" in drawing attention to the "Me Too Movement" of sexually harassed women and tolerating the behavior of former chief of staff Tony Baker.
Baker, who was Esty's top aide from 2014-16, wrote an email to a fellow staffer he was previously dating saying he would "f------ kill you." Esty said she recommended anger management classes for Baker, but never fired him and later wrote a job recommendation for him to a gun control group. Over the weekend, the group fired Baker.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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