Esty said that super PACs had spent millions of dollars against her in an expensive, high-stakes battle that was marked by a barrage of negative television commercials that battered both candidates. But she said that she, like
"We proved in the House and we proved in the Senate that Connecticut cannot be bought,'' Esty said. "Being on the receiving end of the super PACs makes me more committed than ever to campaign finance reform.''
She added: "Let's face it, folks. We were up against the odds in this one.''
A graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, Esty said she made several decisions to get involved in public life that have led her to the major political prize of going to
"Ten years ago, I was an angry
Regarding Roraback, she said, "He's a good man and a committed public servant.''
Esty's win came on a night when President
"Democrats have been outspent in race after race after race,'' Gov.
In an emotional concession speech in
"All I want to say to each of you is thank you for believing in me,'' Roraback told the crowd. "We ran a super campaign — came up a few votes short. … No force is more powerful than the force of your friendship.''
Roraback won several small towns in the early results, but Esty was counting on thousands of votes in the Democrat-leaning cities to wipe out that early lead. Roraback won his hometown of Goshen by 75 percent to 25 percent, but the final results in the Democratic strongholds of
With the polls so tight, the battle came down to turnout. Esty's spokesman, Jeb Fain, repeatedly said Esty had a much stronger grassroots operation than Roraback and predicted that would prove to be the difference.
"We feel very good,'' Fain said on FOX CT television. "Our field operation has done what it needed to do to get out the vote. … We feel very confident.''
Roraback said that his get-out-the-vote efforts were led by a full complement of spirited volunteers and seasoned political veterans, including former state legislators Brian Mattiello and Brian Flaherty, former state Republican Chairman Bill Hamzy and Torrington Mayor Ryan Bingham. Roraback has been a proven vote-getter as a state senator in 15 towns in northwestern
While the combatants emphasized their differences in debates and commercials, they actually have similar backgounds as lawyers, Ivy League graduates and elected officials. Roraback has represented a far larger area as a state senator, covering 15 towns in Litchfield County, while Esty was a one-term lawmaker in the state
Major TV Ad Blitz
The campaign's final days were marked by a major blitz of more than $1 million in TV advertising paid by
During multiple debates, the candidates clashed over health care as Roraback said he would vote to repeal President Obama's health-reform act as too costly. Esty the
Roraback, who has used his Spanish skills to reach out to voters, had more political experience with nearly two decades in Hartford. Esty served on the town council in Cheshire and then for two years in the state House before losing her seat in a rematch in November 2010 with Republican Al Adinolfi. Esty voted to abolish the death penalty, and she said she believes that position — highly unpopular in Cheshire after the triple murders of the family of Dr. William Petit — cost her the House seat.
As the candidates battled for momentum, both campaigns released polls last month that placed their candidate in the lead. Two of the nation's best-known political prognosticators pronounced the race as a toss-up heading into Election Day.
In the 41-town district, where unaffiliated voters outnumber Democrats and
Overall, the candidates and outside groups spent more than $6 million on the campaign. Esty collected more than $2.7 million in contributions and personal loans as of mid-October, and Roraback had raised $1.1 million. Those totals, though, do not include the money from Bloomberg's super PAC, more than $1 million from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that opposed Roraback, and more than $1 million from an Ohio-based Super PAC known as the Government Integrity Fund Action Network that opposed Esty.
Roraback criticized Esty's fundraising, saying that she accepted money from individuals who work for businesses that her husband, Daniel Esty, regulates as commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. But Esty countered by asking Roraback to focus on her record — and not her husband's career.
In a recent interview with The Courant, Roraback said he believes his "socially moderate, fiscally prudent" message was resonating with voters, while Fain countered that Roraback had attracted support from "right-wingers." He added that Esty shares the values of Connecticut's middle class.
Esty beat state House Speaker