Connecticut's 5th Congressional District elections, 2012

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Connecticut's 5th Congressional District

General Election Date
November 6, 2012

Primary Date
August 14, 2012

November 6 Election Winner:
Elizabeth Esty Democratic Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Christopher S. Murphy Democratic Party
Christopher S. Murphy.jpg

Connecticut U.S. House Elections
District 1District 2District 3District 4District 5

2012 U.S. Senate Elections

Flag of Connecticut.png
The 5th congressional district of Connecticut held an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2012.
This was the 5th congressional district prior to the 2010 redistricting.

Elizabeth Esty won the election on November 6, 2012.[1] Incumbent Christopher S. Murphy successfully ran for the U.S. Senate instead.[2]

Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
June 12, 2012
August 14, 2012
November 6, 2012

Primary: Connecticut was one of 19 states to use an open primary system. However, there was a three month waiting period if voters switched parties.[3]

Voter registration: Voters could register in person to vote in the primary up until noon the day before the primary.[3] (Information about registering to vote)

See also: Connecticut elections, 2012

Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent was Christopher S. Murphy (D), who was first elected in 2006. Murphy announced that he would not seek re-election for a fourth term. He ran instead for the U.S. Senate to replace Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman, who announced he would be retiring from the Senate.[4]

This was the first election using new district maps based on 2010 Census data. Connecticut's 5th congressional district was located in the northwestern portion of the state. Salisbury, North Canaan, Caanan, Norfolk, Goshen, Canton, Simsbury, Avon, Farmington, Burlington, Litchfield, Morris, Bethlehem, Watertown, Plymouth, Wolcott, Waterbury, Cheshire, Meriden, Southbury, Newtown, Bethel, Danbury, Sherman, Brookfield, New Milford, Washingotn, Roxbury, Kent, Sharon, Cornwall, and Torrington counties were included in the new district boundaries. [5]


Note: Election results were added on election night as races were called. Vote totals were added after official election results had been certified. For more information about Ballotpedia's election coverage plan, click here. If you find any errors in this list, please email: Geoff Pallay.

General election candidates

Democratic Party Working Families Party Elizabeth EstyGreen check mark transparent.png
Republican Party Independent Andrew Roraback
Independent John Pistone

August 14, 2012, primary results

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Republican Party Republican Primary

Working Families PartyWorking Families Party

Independent Independent candidates

election Results

General Election

U.S. House, Connecticut District 5 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngElizabeth Esty 51.3% 146,098
     Republican Andrew Roraback 48.7% 138,637
     Independent John Pistone 0% 12
Total Votes 284,747
Source: Connecticut Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Race background

Connecticut's 5th District was included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue List," which identified districts that the organization had specifically targeted to flip from Republican to Democratic control.[16]

Republican challenger Andrew Roraback had been included in the National Republican Congressional Committee's Young Guns program. The program highlighted challengers who represented the GOP's best chances to pick up congressional seats in the general election.[17]

Following the Democratic primary on August 14, 2012 in which Elizabeth Esty defeated Christopher Donovan, the endorsed candidate of the Democratic party, discussion speculated on whether Donovan would choose to still run against Esty in the general election as the Working Families Party nominee.[18] However, in late August 2012 discussion began between Donovan, Esty, and the Working Families Party over whether Esty would pick up the nomination of the party, preventing division amongst the Democratic party that might give way to a win by Republican nominee Andrew Roraback in the general election.

While Donovan was endorsed by the Democratic party and was the frontrunner for most of the campaign, an investigation by the FBI closer to the primary hurt his chances in the primary. Two of Donovan's staff members were among eight people arrested, and were immediately fired and replaced after a sting operation by the FBI in which the staffers were allegedly accepting campaign contributions from straw donors.[18] Although Donovan was not implicated and an investigation paid for by the campaign cleared him of having any knowledge of wrongdoing, it was enough to derail his campaign.[18]

Esty picked up endorsements in August 2012 from the Connecticut AFL-CIO and Governor Dan Malloy (D).[19]

Blue vs. Red

Possible race ratings are:

     Solid Democratic
     Likely Democratic
     Lean Democratic


     Lean Republican
     Likely Republican
     Solid Republican

     Connecticut's 5th district was a leaning Democratic district.

In June 2012, Sabato's Crystal Ball rated Connecticut's 5th as leaning Democratic.[20]

Connecticut's 5th was considered to be a Tossup according to the New York Times race ratings.[21]

Impact of redistricting

See also: Redistricting in Connecticut

The Connecticut Supreme Court completed the redistricting of the state’s five congressional districts, leaving intact, for the most part, the configuration adopted 10 years ago when Connecticut was forced to relinquish one district because of declining population.[22] Under the new map, less than 30,000 residents statewide were affected by the changes. [22] Looking at the congressional map, one can clearly see that the design of the 1st and 5th Districts were oddly shaped. There is no disputing that 10 years prior, it was done so for political advantage — with both political parties agreeing to the changes in the hopes of capitalizing on that. [22]

Democrats held a 5-4 advantage on the bipartisan Reapportionment Commission, but the commission chose instead to honor the long-standing tradition of unanimous agreement or none at all.[22]

The district was composed entirely of the old 5th congressional district.[23][24]

District partisanship

FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012 study

See also: FairVote's Monopoly Politics 2012

In 2012, FairVote did a study on partisanship in the congressional districts, giving each a percentage ranking (D/R) based on the new 2012 maps and comparing that to the old 2010 maps. Connecticut's 5th District's partisanship was unaffected by redistricting.[25]

  • 2012: 53D / 47R
  • 2010: 53D / 47R

Cook Political Report's PVI

See also: Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index

In 2012, Cook Political Report released its updated figures on the Partisan Voter Index, which measured each congressional district's partisanship relative to the rest of the country. Connecticut's 5th congressional district had a PVI of D+2, which was the 173rd most Democratic district in the country. In 2008, this district was won by Barack Obama (D), 57-43 percent over John McCain (R). In 2004, John Kerry (D) won the district 50-50 percent over George W. Bush (R).[26]


2012 election

Democratic primary candidates
Poll Christopher Donovan Elizabeth EtsyDan RobertiUndecidedSample Size
Public Policy Polling
June 22-24, 2012
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

District history


On November 2, 2010, Christopher S. Murphy won re-election to the United States House of Representatives. He defeated Sam S.F. Caligiuri (R), John Pistone (I), and Elmon Smith (I) in the general election.[27]

U.S. House of Representatives, Connecticut's 5th Congressional District, General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngChristopher S. Murphy Incumbent 53.7% 118,231
     Republican Sam S.F. Caligiuri 46.3% 102,092
     Independent John Pistone 0% 20
     Independent Elmon Smith 0% 2
Total Votes 220,345

Campaign donors


Elizabeth Esty (2012)[28] Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[29]April 15, 2012$576,541.45$367,243.63$(124,720.98)$819,064.10
Pre-Primary[30]May 2, 2012$819,064.10$67,375.22$(85,364.53)$801,074.79
Running totals

As of July 10, 2012 Esty raised more than $340,000 in the second quarter and had $900,000 cash-on-hand.[31]

See also

External links


  1. ABC News "2012 General Election Results"
  2. National Journal "Connecticut, 5th House District" Accessed November 14, 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 Connecticut Secretary of State Elections Division "Registration Deadlines" Accessed April 17, 2012
  4. "Chris Murphy announces 2012 Senate bid" Accessed December 2, 2011
  5. Connecticut Redistricting "Map" Accessed July 7, 2012
  6. NBC Connecticut "Donovan Running for Congress" accessed December 2, 2011
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named list
  8. Litchfield County Times "Wife of DEP Commissioner May Get in Fifth District Race (WEB FIRST)" accessed December 2, 2011
  9. 9.0 9.1 AP Results "U.S. House primary election results" accessed August 14, 2012
  10. Litchfield County Times "Kent Democrat Dan Roberti Entering 5th District Race (WEB FIRST)" accessed December 2, 2011
  11. "Bernier announces he'll run in 5th District" accessed December 2, 2011
  12. Litchfield County Times "Kent Democrat Dan Roberti Entering 5th District Race (WEB FIRST)" accessed December 2, 2011
  13. The Register Citizen "Roraback officially in the running for 5th District seat (Updated with video)" accessed December 2, 2011
  14. The Register Citizen "Fifth Congressional District GOP candidates bat around the issues at meeting" accessed December 2, 2011
  15. Connecticut Secretary of State Candidate List accessed September 5, 2012
  16. DCCC, "Red to Blue 2012"
  17. NRCC "Young Guns 2012"
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 My Record Journal "Donovan talks to Esty: A step toward unity in 5th District?" Accessed August 28, 2012
  19. My Record Journal "Donovan talks to Esty: A step toward unity in 5th District?" Accessed August 28, 2012
  20. Center for Politics "2012 House Ratings," Updated June 27, 2012
  21. New York Times "House Race Ratings," Accessed August 7, 2012
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Norwich Bulletin "Our View: Redistricting map has minimal changes" Accessed February 16, 2012
  23. Moonshadow Mobile's CensusViewer "Connecticut's congressional districts 2001-2011 comparison"
  24. Labels & Lists "VoterMapping software voter counts"
  25. "2011 Redistricting and 2012 Elections in Connecticut," September 2012
  26. Cook Political Report "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" Accessed October 2012
  27. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"
  28. FEC Reports "Elizabeth Esty Summary Reports" Accessed July 11, 2012
  29. FEC Reports "April Quarterly" Accessed July 11, 2012
  30. FEC Reports "Pre-Primary" Accessed July 11, 2012
  31. The Hill "Esty raises $340K for Conn. House primary" Accessed July 11, 2012