Connecticut's 5th Congressional District may be the next House race to get its own super PAC sometime between now and the August 14 primary.
The Torrington Register-Citizen reports that a collection of donors to Democratic candidate Dan Roberti are funding a super PAC called New Directions for America. The Register-Citizen:
New Directions for America raised $95,000 in the Federal Elections Commission period ending in June and reported no expenditures to date.
That money came from just five donors - ATCO Properties and Management of Glendale, New York, $10,000; the Hemmerdinger Corp. of Glendale, New York, $10,000; David Bohnett of Beverly Hills, California, $5,000; Morris B. Pearl of New York City, $20,000; and George J. Tsunis CEO of Chartwell Hotels, Huntington, New York, $50,000.
Bohnett, listed in one report as a "self-employed philanthropist" and on another as an investor in Baroda Ventures LLC, gave $1,000 to Roberti on March 30. Barbara Pearl, listed at the same Park Avenue address as Morris Pearl, gave Roberti $5,000 on March 25.
Morris Pearl was an early Roberti donor, giving $5,000 in March 2011. So were George and Olga Tsunis, who gave him a combined $15,000, also in March 2011. The treasurer of New Directions for America, which lists a New York City P.O. Box as its address, is Edward C. Sweeney, a managing member of Pius International Trading in New York, who has donated $6,000 to Roberti's campaign.
Roberti is considered a Democratic primary underdog behind state House Speaker Chris Donovan and former state legislator Elizabeth Esty, and he has less cash and slower fundraising than the other two. But help from a super PAC - if New Directions does get involved, as seems likely given its donors - could help Roberti reach for undecided voters and compete with Esty for Democrats scared off by the federal investigation into the Donovan campaign's fundraising. As we've seen from other three-way primaries this cycle, like the Nebraska GOP Senate primary and the Democratic nominating race in New Mexico's 1st Congressional district, anything can happen in the confusion of a three-candidate scuffle. In both of those races, the early underdog came from behind to win.
If the super PAC begins spending in the 5th District over the next month, it would join a small group of other House race-specific super PACs that have sprung up this cycle. In North Carolina, a super PAC funded by friends and family helped push
Republican George Holding
to the 13th District nomination there. Another group is specifically backing Democratic Rep. Howard Berman
in his member-versus-member race against fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman
in Los Angeles. And this past week, we've discovered that a super PAC active in Washington's 1st District was funded by one candidate's mother