Connecticut Republicans pick their congressional candidates

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HARTFORD — Connecticut Republicans have chosen their candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, hoping to defeat the five Democratic incumbents.

At the Republican State Convention on Monday, delegates chose Hartford bar owner Matthew Corey as their candidate in the 1st Congressional District. They picked former two-time candidate Daria Novak, of Madison, in the 2nd Congressional District and Marine Corps veteran Angel Cadena in the 3rd Congressional District.

Three-term state Rep. John Shabon was nominated in the 4th Congressional District. Sherman First Selectman Clay Cope was chosen in the 5th Congressional District.

Democrats held conventions Monday in each congressional district. Incumbent U.S. Reps. John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty were expected to receive their party's nominations.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Dan Carter won the Republican Party's nomination for the U.S. Senate, and will face Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal in November.

"It feels really great," said Carter. "You come into these kinds of races and just don't know where you're gonna stand."

The Bethel Republican garnered his party's official backing just weeks after entering the race.

He easily defeated former Olympian August Wolf, who entered the race a year ago, and former fashion executive Jack Orchulli.

"We start tomorrow," said Carter. "My kids, my fiancé have been working really hard. So yeah, I'm gonna get right to it tomorrow."

Carter received 907 delegates out of a total 1,050 votes. Wolf received 123. Orchulli received 20. Afterwards, Orchulli urged the 1,182 delegates on hand Monday night to rally around Carter, a two-term state representative, saying unity was the Republican Party's best chance to defeat Blumenthal.

Connecticut has not had a Republican U.S. Senator since Lowell Weicker, who eventually lost re-election to Joe Lieberman in 1989.

"I'm not going to deny that it's an uphill battle," said Berlin Republican Chair Anne Reilly.

But Reilly thinks Connecticut wants a change. "Our town Democrats were taking a playbook out of Dan Malloy's -- spend, tax, spend, tax," said Reilly. "And I think people have had enough."

Carter entered the race on April 4, backed by his fellow Republican legislators in the General Assembly. House Minority Leader Themis Klarides nominated Carter, and praised her colleague for his military service.

CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow also spoke at the convention, encouraging all Republicans to support Donald Trump. His support was echoed by Kurt Miller, permanent chair of the onvention. "Donald Trump is gonna be the guy I support, whether I agree with everything he says or not," said Miller.

"At the end of the day, we're talking about party unity and I think, at the end of the day, everyone is going to rally around who our nominee is, and it's looking like that is going to be Donald Trump," said New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart.