Jahana Hayes to primary, NAACP launches investigation into convention balloting

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Former National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes will go forward into the August primary for the 5th District Democratic nomination as the NAACP launches a probe into the outcome of the 5th District convention because of alleged ballot tampering.

As you’ve probably heard, the NAACP is not very happy with the way candidates of color are being treated as the State Party Convention begins Friday. On Thursday, the civil rights organization launched a full legal investigation into the outcome of the Democrats’ 5th Congressional District Convention on Monday.

Related Content: Connecticut Democrats endorse Glassman for 5th Congressional District

It was quite clear from the reception she received at Monday night’s district convention in Waterbury that Jahana Hayes was the hometown favorite. Mary Glassman’s own campaign operatives thought that Hayes would win the convention.

In fact, Hayes was ahead on the second ballot 172 to 168 when the town chairman in New Britain announced several vote switches giving the convention nomination to Glassman by a final vote of 173 to 167. That’s the reason the NAACP is launching a legal investigation into alleged ballot tampering at the convention.

After consulting for the past two-and-a-half days with her family and backers who are pledging to help her financially, Hayes has decided to challenge the much more politically-experienced Glassman in the primary. Hayes said on Thursday, “When I walked away Monday ,I thought about it. I was like, ‘this is no different than the narrative of my life.’ So, I’m up for it. I’m all in and excited about what happens next.”

Related Content: National Teacher of the Year shares inspiring story

The narrative of her life includes growing up in public housing and being a teenaged mother but still rising to the top of her profession. And she says she won’t be pigeonholed as just another liberal Democrat. Hayes added, “I may be a progressive on one thing, on other things there may be other ways of being and doing, different ideas and I think you have to be at least willing to hear them.”

New Britain Alderman Manny Sanchez, who qualified for the primary on the first ballot before releasing his delegates, has yet to decide if he will go forward with the primary.

Related Content: Waterbury educator named 2016 National Teacher of the Year

Last Friday night, the Republicans endorsed former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos but Ruby O’Neill of Southbury and Rich DuPont of Watertown both qualified for the primary and are moving forward with the challenge to Santos.

Late Thursday afternoon, State Democratic Party Chairman Nick Balletto said, “We welcome this probe. If something went wrong in balloting process, we would like to know and want any issues dealt with quickly and appropriately. We encourage anyone involved to ask for a Dispute Resolution Committee so it can be dealt with immediately.”

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