He travels around the 41 towns of the 5th District, knocking on doors, getting to know potential constituents as people, but Roberti can’t even sit down for much more time than it takes to drink a cup of coffee.
There is no campaign finance reform on the congressional level so the men and women who only serve two-year terms spend much of their time trying to raise money.
He doesn’t speak too much about that, but Audrey Blondin, a 30th District Democratic State Central Committee member, had no qualms talking about how challenging it can be to serve. In a year with a primary, which this year will wind up to be, a candidate may need to raise as much as $4 million before Election Day.
At the end of the 4th Quarter, Roberti was just short of the $1 million mark, but led all eight major party 5th District candidates in total fundraising.
But Blondin, an attorney in Torrington, thinks his lack of experience is working to his advantage: “He’s not beholden to any special interest group or lobbyist. It’s nice he’s not coming out of the legislature.”
That’s one of the reasons she endorsed him. He’s free to remain true to his principles.
A lifelong Democrat and from a family of Democrats, this is Mr. Roberti’s first crack at office. He’s been active with the Kent Democratic Town Committee, but never has he been this intimately involved in the process.
Not even his year with James Carville, bringing awareness to the obvious infrastructure problems Hurricane Katrina exposed, not even his year with Ken Burns, educating people on various topics of American life, afforded him this much exposure to the interiors of the political arena.
“What does one define as experience?” queried one of his campaign’s communications director, John Gilmore. “Dan’s experience is that he’s worked with the people, he’s been in the trenches with them.”
Roberti said he’s seen the damage of Katrina firsthand, he knows there are plenty of jobs in updating roads and bridges and dams and tunnels, in updating transportation, in switching to green technology, in making the worthwhile investments and cutting taxes in the burgeoning energy and environmental markets. And Roberti said he understands better than most the problems with health care, his mother lives it every day.
By the end of 2011, he had raised $957,362 in contributions from more than 600 individual contributors. He has endorsements from the likes of the Southbury Democratic Town Committee, the Communications Workers of America Local 1298, and former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy.
“You know the show horses and the work horses,” Kennedy said about former colleagues in the nation’s capital. “But (Roberti) is a likable person, and that allows you to build relationships.”