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The EMILY's List Primaries The EMILY's List Primaries

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The EMILY's List Primaries

August 13, 2012
In Connecticut's 5th District, former state legislator Elizabeth Esty moved toward the top of the polls over the last few months as state House Speaker Chris Donovan, the early frontrunner, struggled under the weight of a federal investigation into his campaign's fundraising practices. Esty doesn't have a lock on the nomination to replace Rep. Chris Murphy, though; a third candidate, Dan Roberti, has also leapt into contention as a friendly, district-specific super PAC and a hefty personal loan gave him the funds to compete for undecided voters in the last month of the campaign. Esty has gotten a ton of free media from numerous district newspaper endorsements, though, and she had built a broader vote base before Roberti's late surge. To the south, businesswoman Gloria Romero Roses is another EMILY's List-backed underdog seeking the Democratic nomination to run against freshman Republican Rep. David Rivera in Florida's 26th District. Her main opponent is Joe Garcia, who lost to Rivera in 2010 and ran for Congress once before, in 2008. Garcia has union backing and the luxury of having been seen on the ballot before, but that primary positive comes with the general election danger of preexisting high negatives. For her part, Roses quickly assembled a good campaign after getting into the race late -- the question is whether she had enough time to overcome Garcia's built-in advantages. Finally, former state senator and EMILY's List endorsee Tarryl Clark is vying for the Democratic nomination Tuesday to take on freshman GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack in the Minnesota 8th District general election. Clark, who challenged Michele Bachmann in a neighboring district in 2010, has outperformed former Rep. Rick Nolan in fundraising and on television, enabling her to introduce herself to the vast Iron Range district. But the race remains close: Nolan won the district's party convention, which political activists in Minnesota take especially seriously, and the state party has run six figures worth of television ads on his behalf. Cravaack is vulnerable regardless, but Clark has shown more ability to take care of herself in the general and give Cravaack a difficult reelection attempt. The whole board of Tuesday's House primaries isn't filled with opportunity for EMILY's List candidates: In Wisconsin's 2nd District, popular state Rep. Mark Pocan looks likely to defeat fellow state Rep. Kelda Roys for the seat currently represented by Rep. Tammy Baldwin. But the women's group has already backed a trifecta of underdog female primary victors over the past two months, and they have three excellent chances to add to that total August 14.
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