Chris Donovan, who has served as House Speaker for the past three years, easily won support from fellow Democrats in his bid for the party’s nomination for Congress.
Donovan won 216 votes out of 337 at Monday night’s 5th District Democratic Convention in Waterbury.
His closest rival, Elizabeth Esty, a one-time state legislator, picked up 66 votes among delegates.
Political newcomer Dan Roberti picked up 54 votes after last-minute maneuvering by some delegates who helped get him across the 15 percent threshold.
Both Esty and Roberti qualify to run in the August 14 primary.
"We went up against all odds here and we came out and we won and we will go out and talk voter to voter," Roberti said.
Donovan’s nearly two decades of experience as a state legislator helped him win support from party faithful. But Esty has beat her opponents in fundraising and plans to fight through August.
"Now we move forward with an exciting primary campaign to talk about these important issues," she said.
All three will battle it out and let the voters decide.
Democrats say they need to hold onto the seat, a seat that’s been blue since 2006.
Donovan said he’s not discouraged by a three-way primary.
"I’m just happy to be the endorsed candidate," Donovan said. "We’ve heard from Democratic town committees throughout the state and overwhelmingly they said I’m the candidate."
The five Republican candidates will face off in their convention on Friday.