WATERBURY - After a close second ballot, Democrats in the stateâ€™s 5th Congressional District endorsed Mary Glassman as the partyâ€™s candidate for the U.S. House seat.
â€śFor all my life Iâ€™ve always tried to make public service an honorable career, and I think Iâ€™ve done that tonight,â€ť said Glassman, a former 16-year first selectman of Simsbury and New Britain native.
At Waterburyâ€™s Crosby High School on Monday, 340 Democratic delegates met to endorse a candidate for Novemberâ€™s election.
Ultimately, Glassman beat out New Britain Alderman-At-Large Manny Sanchez, 2016â€™s national teacher of the year Jahana Hayes, Newtown rabbi Shaul Praver and Roy Lubit for the partyâ€™s endorsement.
â€śIâ€™ve never forgotten the lessons that I learned in New Britain and I tell you I will not forget them when I go to Washington,â€ť the 59-year-old Glassman said in her acceptance speech.
A former reporter for The Herald, Glassman grew up on Pleasant Street in New Britain and attended the University of Connecticut. After getting her law degree, she moved to Simsbury and became a lawyer. Eventually she became involved in local and statewide politics.
The seat, which now belongs to Democrat Elizabeth Esty, will be up for grabs after Estyâ€™s announcement in March that she wonâ€™t run for re-election.
Esty came under criticism when news broke alleging that she had not acted quickly after discovering her former chief of staff had harassed a co-worker. Esty fired Tony Baker three months after reportedly hearing about his misconduct and gave him a favorable recommendation for his next job.
Of the 340 delegates who voted, candidates needed 171 votes to get the partyâ€™s endorsement. To qualify for the primary candidates needed 51 votes, or 15 percent of the delegates.
On the first ballot, Glassman, Hayes and Sanchez all received enough delegate support to make it on the second ballot. New Britainâ€™s 37 delegates all supported Sanchez on the first ballot. The city has one of the largest number of delegates of the districtâ€™s 41 cities and towns, second to only Waterburyâ€™s 43 delegates.
Before the second ballot, Sanchez released his delegates, removing his name from the ballot, leaving just Glassman and Hayes.
â€śThank you all for this opportunity. I stand here to tell you that Iâ€™m humbled by the support,â€ť the 29-year-old Sanchez said before he released the delegates.
On the second ballot, Hayes initially came out on top with 172 delegates to Glassmanâ€™s 168. But after a few switches, including three New Britain delegates switching from Hayes, Glassman received the partyâ€™s nomination.
â€śWe in New Britain have a lot of respect for Mary Glassman and Jahana Hayes,â€ť New Britain Democratic Town Committee Chairman Bill Shortell said following the result.
Hayes and Sanchez each received enough votes to challenge Glassman in the Democratic primary. Following the result, Hayes said she was proud of her supporters and how well she did in her first run for office. Hayes, who was a pregnant Crosby High School student at 17 years old, became a nationally recognized teacher during her career in the district she was raised in.
Now 45, the 2016 national Teacher of the Year came within a few votes of winning her partyâ€™s endorsement for a U.S. Congressional seat.
â€śSomething amazing happened tonight,â€ť Hayes told reporters after the result. â€śFor me to come out the gate, many people seeing me for the first time tonight, and us to be separated by six votes, it means that people are listening and that people are ready to be engaged and involved and make sure that their voices are heard.â€ť
Hayes said she was leaning toward challenging Glassman in the primary.
â€śI got in this to be your next Congressperson, so nothing about that has changed,â€ť Hayes said.
Sanchez said he will soon discuss with his campaign and the New Britain DTC to decide on his next move.
â€śWeâ€™re going to decide in the next few days, Mannyâ€™s campaign will decide whether or not heâ€™s going to primary,â€ť Shortell said. â€śWe got three good candidates still in the field. One of our three candidates is going to be the next member of Congress, and weâ€™re confident about that.â€ť
On Friday, the Connecticut Republican Party endorsed Manny Santos, the former mayor of Meriden, for the race. Ruby Oâ€™Neill and Rich DuPont both qualified for the Republican primary.
The parties will hold their primary elections Aug. 14.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.