SHERMAN & KENT, Conn. (WTNH) — The 5th Congressional District includes most of Litchfield County, the Northern part of Fairfield County, including the city of Danbury, and the Northern New Haven County communities of Cheshire and Meriden plus most of Waterbury.
After two terms in Congress, Democrat Elizabeth Esty says that despite being in the minority party and from a small state, she has been able to work with Republicans in Congress and bring important federal dollars back to the district.
Her Republican opponent, Clay Cope, is the 3-term First Selectman of rural Sherman, in Western Fairfield County on the New York state border, and disputes that claim; saying she is out of touch with the district, “Esty votes lockstep with Obama and Malloy does as well. This is why I’m not a Democrat.”
Esty points to a huge, long debated, infrastructure bill as proof she’s been reaching across party lines, “$3.6 billion dollars over the next five years and $310 million more than we thought we were going to get and I did that by working well with the (Republican) chairman of the committee.”
Cope says he is a strong Second Amendment person and noting that Connecticut has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation objects to Esty’s push for federal gun control laws, “She’s asserted herself into the argument for other states to adopt similar laws, eighteen other states to be exact. She should be focusing on the needs of her district and her constituents.”
Noting that many in the district support the efforts, especially in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings, Esty says Cope doesn’t understand federal issues like this, “No matter how tight our laws are and strong they are here; you can bring in weapons from out of state, that’s not a federal crime. It is a federal crime if you transport tainted milk across state lines.”
Cope is supporting Donald Trump who decidedly won this district back in the April Presidential Primary. Cope is also openly gay but has managed to steer clear of the cultural battles within National Republican Party politics, including a party platform that is opposed to same sex marriage. “The Platform is a suggestion and it really doesn’t involve me personally,” says Cope, “Donald Trump won in the 5th District, so yes, I must support him because, again, I’m running in the 5th District.”
Esty retorts, “One of the many things I would challenge Mr. Cope on; how can he stands by somebody who is, in fact, endangering our troops by calling for torture?”
While Donald Trump easily won the April Presidential Republican Primary in the the 5th District, Hillary Clinton lost this district in the Democratic Primary to Bernie Sanders by about 350 votes.