Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Manny Santos (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

MASHANTUCKET— Former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos was able to wrestle up the votes necessary to win the Republican Party’s endorsement in the 5th Congressional District race, but Ruby O’Neill, a late entrant to the race, won enough support to primary.

Santos secured the endorsement on the second ballot with 135 of the 246 delegates. O’Neill received the support of 97 delegates. Support for Richard Dupont, another candidate, dropped significantly on the second ballot, but he received enough support on the first to primary.

The 5th Congressional District has an estimated 378,000 voters in its 41 towns. An estimated 30 percent are Democrats, 24.5 percent are Republicans, and 45 percent are unaffiliated. The district last elected a Republican to Congress in 2006.

It’s the most Republican of Connecticut’s five Congressional districts. There are only four big cities — Danbury, Meriden, New Britain, and Waterbury — which tend to lean Democratic.

On Friday, the first day of the Republican Party’s nominating convention, Santos was endorsed by Tony Cane, chairman of the Republican Town Committee.

Cane said Santos would fight against job killing legislation and stand up for the military.

“We need somebody who has raised a family here and knows what it takes to balance a family budget,” Cane said.

Santos has received the endorsement of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League and has been endorsed by Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.

Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Ruby O’Neill (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

“I am running for the United States Congress because Connecticut needs representation in Washington that can work with the current Administration to solve the real issues that plague our country,” Santos has said. ”I know what’s at stake. Our education system lags other industrialized nations, our transportation infrastructure has been ignored, our military needs modernized, our healthcare costs continue to climb, illegal immigration continues to be used to divide us, and most importantly across the country our cities are deteriorating and Washington seems unable to help.”

Santos, who is Portugese, got into the race before U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty got out of the race setting forth a scramble for candidates on the Democratic side.

O’Neill got into the race two weeks ago.

A retired tenured university professor who has taught a number of colleges, O’Neill is a doctor of philosophy and psychology and the founding member of the Latino National Republican Coalition of Connecticut.

She’s also an immigrant from Honduras and is married to Southbury State Rep. Arthur O’Neill.

O’Neill believes she can connect with the Latino communities in the 5th Congressional Districts largest cities—Danbury, Meriden, Waterbury and New Britain.

Esty first won the seat in 2012 after defeating Andrew Roraback by just 3 percentage points. She easily defeated Mark Greenberg in 2014 and Clay Cope in 2016.

Other Four Districts

In the four other Congressional Districts, Jennifer Nye was nominated in the 1st Congressional District to run against U.S. Rep. John B. Larson. She volunteered to run when no other candidates stepped up. Dan Postemski, an Iraq war veteran was nominated for the Second Congressional District and will run against U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney. Neither Nye or Postermski had any competition.

Angel Cadena, was nominated again in the 3rd Congressional District and will run against U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and Harry Arora was endorsed in the 4th Congressional District and will run against U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.