Former state Rep. Brian Flaherty (R-Watertown) is interested in challenging US Rep. Elizabeth Esty in 2014. Flaherty, considered in political circles as being a Republican who can actually win election in blue state Connecticut, tells The Hanging Shad he is not interested in a run for the governor’s office, but if family and professional considerations fall into line, he’d be interested in a congressional run.
Say this for sure: Flaherty wants to return to public service in some respect. And well he should. He is bright, sharp, reasonable, personable and he “gets it.” If the GOP in Connecticut wants a winner, it’s Flaherty. Make no mistake; he is conservative and a Republican through and through. But he’s not Martha Dean cray-cray and is a regular guy, family man that most people in the state can relate to.
In a conversation with The Shad, Flaherty ruled out a run for governor. That might be disappointing to Republicans looking for an alternative to Tom Foley, who lost to Gov. Dannel Malloy by a razor-thin margin in 2010. Despite what folks like blowhard House Republican Leader Larry Cafero or Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton think, the nomination is Foley’s unless he screws up royally. (Flaherty made it clear he would support Cafero if he ran.)
Which bring us to the 2014 congressional race. US Rep. Esty has already committed rookie mistakes. She won primarily because then-state Speaker of the House Chris Donovan (D-Meriden) collapsed under the weight of arrests of his key campaign workers.
Republican Andrew Roraback lost to Esty because he couldn’t make a dent in the district’s cities. There’s a good chance Flaherty could. From Watertown, outside Waterbury, he served in the state House from 1988 (when he was 23) until 2005. During that time, he won multiple accolades and not just from Republicans.
Flaherty was ranked as one of the top 10 most effective House members. He was also honored as “Legislator of the Year” by the Connecticut Library Association, the Greater Hartford Chamber of Commerce, the Connecticut Council of Small Towns, and the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges. Pretty impressive.
Even more impressive is that Flaherty is not driven by political ambition. He left the House to pursue a path that was better for his family, not for some other office.
Rep. Esty may turn out to be effective congresswomen. And there are plenty of other Republicans interested in challenging her. The view here is, it’s someone of Flaherty’s make-up who could be successful.