WATERBURY — State Democrats endorsed former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman by a narrow margin over Waterbury teacher and political newcomer Jahana Hayes for the 5th Congressional District seat Monday.
Glassman beat out Hayes with 173 delegates to 167 in the second round of voting.
“We need to send someone who is ready to go to work for the 5th District, someone with a proven record of building consensus,” said Glassman, who won thanks to some late voting changes from New Britain, her former hometown.
After a first round of voting, Glassman held a slight edge over Hayes among the 340 delegates gathered at Crosby High School. Five candidates were being considered.
Other candidates seeking the nomination included New Britain Alderman Emmanuel Sanchez, Newtown Rabbi Shaul Praver, and Southport psychiatrist Roy Lubit.
Sanchez received 57 delegates in the first round of voting, meaning he cleared the 15 percent threshold needed to qualify for a primary. He then released his votes and bowed out of the race before the second round of voting.
Praver and Lubit received one vote each and were eliminated.
The seat became open when U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat, announced she wouldn’t seek re-election amid scandal over her handling of complaints of abuse by her former chief of staff.
The 5th District covers 41 towns and cities, including Plainville. Larger cities include Danbury, New Britain, Meriden and part of Waterbury.
State Republicans gave former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos the nod at the GOP convention last Friday. Santos faces a primary challenge from Ruby O’Neil of Southbury and possibly Richard DuPont of Watertown, according to media reports. Santos welcomed the challenge as a way to get before more voters.
“The delegates and voting came from across the entire district,” Santos said earlier Monday. “It went really well. They went with someone who had the track record, who had been in the race for several months.”
Despite losing an at-large City Council race in 2017, Santos was the mayor of a city and understands what it takes to relate to voters, said Republican State Chairman JR Romano in an interview prior to the Democratic convention.
“At the end of the day, it was a close race,” Romano said, adding Santos has demonstrated he can win in a Democratic-leaning city. “I think it says more that he understands average, hardworking families.”