Conservative Super PAC goes in heavily for liberal Roraback
NEWINGTON, Conn. — For the majority of this cycle, Republican Super PACs have seemingly supported the more conservative candidate, an apparent exception to this rule was made recently when an Ohio-based Super PAC weighed in for State Sen. Andrew Roraback, GOP nominee for the open 5th District and one of the most liberal Republicans running for Congress anywhere this year.
Last week, the Government Integrity Fund Action Network of Ohio reserved about $1.1 million in TV time on behalf of Roraback, according to Politico. The same publication reported that the only donors to this Super PAC are the Government Integrity Fund) and New York City businessman Roger Hertog. The group has also donated more than $1 million to defeating Ohio’s liberal Democratic Sen.Sherrod Brown.
With two-term Rep. Chris Murphy leaving his 5th District seat to become the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, a spirited contest is under way to succeed him in the House between Democrat Elizabeth Esty and Republican Roraback, great-grandson of Connecticut’s powerful GOP state chairman in the 1920’s and ‘30’s J. Henry Roraback.
Both are unique contenders in their own way. Esty, a former state legislator, saved Democrats from Hartford to Washington tremendous embarrassment when she won the primary over the candidate for whom the 5th District was reportedly redistricted for. But that candidate, state House Speaker Chris Donovan’s once-easy path to Congress became complicated as a scandal involving the financing of his campaigns gradually metastasized.
Republicans were licking their chops over running against Donovan. By winning the Democratic nomination over the speaker, Esty assuaged her party’s nervousness about keeping the 5th District.
Small wonder that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Super PAC has so far put in a whopping $800,000 on Esty’s behalf and just recently made television time buys for another $246,000.
The irony of this is that when Roraback himself was under fire from an outside Super PAC late in his own heated primary last summer, he denounced the practice. Squaring off against three opponents all to different degrees more conservative than he was, Roraback was the target of an attack from the Patriot Majority USA Super PAC which spent more than $200,000 denouncing the state senator as a supporter of higher taxes in the Nutmeg State.
Roraback is a curious subject for support from a Super PAC with conservative credentials such as that from the Buckeye State now planning to branch out to Connecticut’s 5th District. As Congressional Quarterly reported in its “Election Preview,” the state senator “is moderate and favors abortion rights, and he refused to sign Grover Norquist’s tax pledge.”