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State AFL-CIO rejects party endorsed candidates in races for 5th district, lieutenant governor

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HARTFORD - Connecticut's AFL-CIO union chose two political outsiders at their convention on Friday, saying they say can advocate for key issues like healthcare, wages and retirement security.

They rejected the state Democratic Party's endorsed candidate in the closely watched race for the 5th district Congressional seat now held by Rep. Elizbeth Esty (D). Esty is not running again in the wake of a harassment scandal involving former staff members in her Washington office.

The AFL-CIO chose political newcomer and former teacher-of-the-year Jahana Hayes over former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman.

If Hayes wins, she’ll be the first black Democrat sent to Congress from Connecticut.

The union endorsed Ned Lamont for Governor. But his running mate, Susan Bysiewicz, did not gather enough votes to win the endorsement for Lieutenant Governor.

Instead, delegates chose Eva Bermudez Zimmerman. She’s another political newcomer, a well-known labor organizer and union member.

She’s also a Latina and millennial and some at the convention said she can relate to members while targeting urban and minority communities.

Lori Pelletier, President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO said “The Democratic Party puts forward who their candidates are. The Republican Party puts forward who their candidates are. And then we decide regardless of who they endorse and so that’s what you see today. For our members it, I think that it’s just more about where they come from, what they believe in, and what they think they can deliver for their members.”

The union did not endorse any candidate for Attorney General. State representative William Tong narrowly got just under the needed 2/3rds of the vote.

As expected, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy won the union's endorsement for the seat he now holds.

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