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CT House Dems Caught in Party’s War over Trump

February 13, 2017 By Staff
CT House Dems Caught in Party’s War over Trump

Connecticut's more moderate Democrats – Reps. Joe Courtney (2nd District), Jim Himes (4th District), and Elizabeth Esty (5th District) – are caught in their party's civil war.

Following nationwide losses in 2016, the Democratic Party finds itself in the wilderness – especially on how to deal with President Donald Trump. Three of Connecticut’s five members appear to be caught in the crossfire between moderate and liberal Democrats in Washington, D.C., early in Trump’s term.

Reps. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) and Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) – the latter of who released a statement on Inauguration Day saying she’s “ready to work with” Trump on shared concerns – were recently named targets of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) for their 2018 campaigns.

Esty, in particular, will be under pressure. The 5th Congressional District is the most conservative in Connecticut; Esty earned only 53 percent of the vote in 2014. While Courtney won comfortably in 2014 and 2016, the NRCC target could put him under pressure as well.

How about Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.)? He’s not on the NRCC’s initial target list, but he has already pitched himself as a centrist Dem in the era of Trump with his new vice chairmanship of the New Democratic Coalition in Congress. Esty and Courtney also belong to the group.

Himes found himself criticizing the more liberal members of his party last week over their opposition to a centrist speaker at a House Democrat retreat.

The more Esty, Courtney, and Himes pitch themselves as centrists in the era of Trump, the more heat they may earn from progressives who want total resistance to Trump. They will be three Connecticut politicians to watch in the next four years – if they all survive 2018 re-election campaigns.