In an appearance at an Avon Democratic Town Committee fundraiser at the , Elizabeth Esty said that the outcome of the 5th Congressional District race could all come down to the Farmington Valley.
"If we don't win in the Farmington Valley, we don't hold this seat," Esty said after the committee honored Avon Democrats Tom Gugliotti, William Shea and Elaine Primeau for their service to the party and the Avon community.
After a when she won the Democratic primary last week, Esty faces State Sen. Andrew Roraback (R-30) in the November election. The two are vying for the seat U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy is leaving as he runs against Linda McMahon for U.S. Senate.
Esty referred to the Farmington Valley, Newtown and Bethel as the "battle ground" because of the volume of independent voters.
"It is an extremely high voting area of the state," she said.
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She said that while people may lean in favor of Republicans in Avon, Canton, Farmington and Simsbury, there are independent voters that could swing either way. Esty described Farmington Valley unaffiliated voters as highly educated and very well informed. For that reason, she said they are more likely to "vote on the person, not the party."
As of the Aug. 9, Avon had 4,629 unaffiliated voters registered. By comparison, 3,897 Republicans and 3,316 registered Democrats were eligible to vote in the Aug. 14 primary.
Esty likened towns like Avon to Cheshire, where she's from, because of the high values placed on education, community involvement, fiscal responsibility, open space, land use and environmental awareness.
Right before Esty arrived at the Lime Bar & Grill, the Connecticut AFL-CIO endorsed her.
"Based on her record and her commitment to stand up for the issues that working families care about, we believe that Elizabeth Esty is the best candidate to be our next U.S. Representative from the 5th Congressional District," John W. Olsen, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, said in a press release.
The national Democratic party has its eyes on the 5th District, Esty said, and the race remains challenging.
"Here in the 5th District, it's never easy. They didn't draw this district to be easy," Esty said. "I'm pleased to tell you the national party is aware of how important this district is and they are providing us with resources and support, particularly on the field side, so we can get out the vote we're going to need. The kind of vote that we didn't frankly have in 2010 that we needed and that we need this year to hold this seat."
Esty was pleased with the in Avon, where she earned 625 votes in comparison to Donovan's 246 and Dan Roberti's 108.
On the Republican side, Lisa Wilson Foley was Avon's favorite with 504 votes, followed by Mark Greenberg with 329, Roraback with 291 and Justin Bernier with 284.
Esty's next scheduled appearance in Avon will be Avon Day in September.