After some last minute vote switching deprived her of the endorsement, Waterbury teacher Jahana Hayes is going to challenge via primary for the Democratic nomination in the 5th Congressional District.
Former Simsbury First Selectwoman Mary Glassman won the Democratic endorsement during Monday’s convention with a 173-167 tally in the second round of voting, but Hayes also qualified for the primary by securing at least 15 percent of the vote.
“After weighing this decision very seriously and consulting my family and many of my fiercest supporters, I do believe that there is no denying that what happened Monday was nothing short of amazing and that my candidacy has ignited a desire for change,” Hayes said in a statement Thursday. “My campaign is about everyday people and the power that we have to make a difference in our communities and be better, together.”
Hayes was one of two candidates who cleared the 15-percent threshold during Monday’s voting, with New Britain Alderman Emmanuel “Manny” Sanchez also qualifying for the primary.
Sanchez, who bowed out after getting only 57 votes in the first round, hasn’t made a decision on the primary, a spokesman said Thursday.
Two other candidates, Newtown Rabbi Shaul Praver and Southport psychiatrist Roy Lubit, each only received one vote and failed to advance to the second round.
The candidates are all seeking to replace U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat, who announced in April that she won’t seek re-election amid controversy over her handling of complaints of abuse lodged against her former chief of staff.
Hayes actually had the initial lead after votes were cast in the second round, but convention rules allowed delegates to change their vote up until voting closed. New Britain eventually gave three more delegates to Glassman, securing the endorsement, and two other changes helped her stretch her lead.
“Monday night was proof that Jahana has the ability to help Democrats win in November," Waterbury Democratic chairman Ken Curran said in a statement. "The 5th District will be a battleground in our state and Republicans will look to drive their own turnout up in our district. Jahana has showed that she can mobilize people from urban to suburban voters and younger voters as well to keep this seat Democratic in November."
Hayes was named national teacher of the the year in 2016.
Glassman, meanwhile, said Wednesday that she will embark on a listening tour throughout the 41-town district that covers much of western Connecticut, although she didn’t announce any events.
“I want to understand what is unique and special about where you live and what issues you are facing,” Glassman said. It is also important to me to understand our joint priorities that blur town lines, build bridges to bring towns together as a district.”
Republicans are also looking at the prospect of multiple candidates seeking the nomination.
The GOP endorsed former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos at its convention on May 11, but Ruby O’Neil, of Southbury, and Richard DuPont, of Watertown, also qualified for the primary.