Teacher and first-time candidate Jahana Hayes has won the Democratic nomination to replace Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), who announced she’d retire at the end of the current term after admitting that she had failed to act quickly to stop sexual harassment by a former staffer.
While two-time statewide candidate Mary Glassman narrowly won the Democratic endorsement at the party’s convention, Hayes’s strong showing there attracted money and labor union endorsements. An independent group also boosted her with a TV ad showing her 2016 “Teacher of the Year” ceremony — with President Barack Obama singing her praises. The Chamber of Commerce belatedly endorsed Glassman, in its first Democratic primary intervention since 2010.
While Republicans hoped to target the seat in Esty’s wake, they struggled to recruit a serious candidate, and handicappers now rank the seat as safely Democratic. Manny Santos, a former local mayor who was leading in the GOP’s primary on Tuesday night, has less than $2,000 left in his campaign account.
If elected in November, Hayes will be the first black woman of either party to represent part of New England in Congress.