Ratings Update: Connecticut 5 Remains Solid Democratic for Now

April 2, 2018 · 9:30 PM EDT

Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty announced that she won’t run for re-election after the Connecticut Post reported that she recommended her former chief of staff for a job after facing accusations of physically and verbally harassing another staffer.

“Too many women have been harmed by harassment in the workplace,” Esty said in a statement on Monday. “In the terrible situation in my office, I could have and should have done better. To the survivor, I want to express my strongest apology for letting you down.”

Her decision not to run for re-election leaves an open seat in Connecticut’s 5th District, in the northwest corner of the state. The district’s population of non-Hispanic white residents (70 percent) is higher than the national average (61 percent), along with its population of residents with a college degree (40 percent, 9 points greater than the national average).

Esty’s seat was already on the DCCC’s list of vulnerable incumbents, probably more because Hillary Clinton won the district narrowly, 50-46 percent, over Donald Trump in 2016 (according to Daily Kos Elections) rather than her 16-point re-election margin. Republicans came close in 2012, when Esty defeated moderate Republican Andrew Roraback by 3 points for the open seat left when Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy ran for the Senate.

In a midterm election with a Democrat in the White House, this would probably be a good Republican takeover opportunity. But Republicans haven’t won a race in the area in over a dozen years, and there is little indication they can pull this off in an election cycle trending against the President and the Republican Party. Esty’s exit might actually improve Democratic chances of holding the seat.

We’re maintaining our Solid Democratic rating for now and waiting to see how the fields to replace Esty shake out (the filing deadline is June 8) and how the race develops.