Connecticut Republicans have opened their two-day political convention, where they'll endorse candidates for federal and statewide offices.
The party faithful were gathering Friday at Foxwoods Resort Casino. They are scheduled to back candidates for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, including the open 5th congressional district seat. There may be endorsements for a couple of statewide offices as well.
Saturday is expected to be the main event, when the 1,159 delegates endorse a candidate for governor. The field is a crowded one, considering Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is not seeking a third term.
The race got a little smaller on Friday, when gubernatorial contender New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart announced she will run instead run for lieutenant governor, acknowledging she didn't have enough delegate support.
Also on Friday, former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos won the CT GOP endorsement in the 5th Congressional District Elizabeth Esty’s seat.
However, retired university professor Ruby O'Neill garnered 97 votes, enough to participate in the Aug. 14 primary. O'Neill told reporters she plans to challenge Santos.
Rep. Elizabeth Esty announced she would not seek re-election amid allegations she failed to protect staff from harassment and threats of violence by her former chief of staff, creating uncertainty and giving Republicans a significant boost in a race for what has historically been a swing district.