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Hayes Pulls Off Upset In Conn.'s 5th District

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Ryan Caron King
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WNPR
Jahana Hayes celebrates her victory in Waterbury on Tuesday.

The 2016 National Teacher of the Year beat the Democratic establishment’s pick in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District.

Jahana Hayes lost the party endorsement to an insider, former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman, but Hayes’ progressive campaign caught attention from a national teachers’ union and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. She even had high school students campaigning for her.

“People told me I had no chance and I had no business trying to do this. Tonight we proved them wrong!” Hayes told supporters in Waterbury.

If Hayes wins in the general election, she’d be the first African-American woman to represent Connecticut in Congress.

In November, Hayes will face former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos, who defeated two rivals in Tuesday’s Republican primary. He has struggled to raise money, with recent reports showing he has less than $500 in cash still on hand for the race.

The 5th District is Connecticut’s only open congressional seat. It’s being vacated by Democratic U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty following a controversy over the way she handled allegations of sexual harassment against her former chief of staff by a fellow staffer.