NBC News projects Democrat Jahana Hayes will remain in the 5th District House seat and she said Wednesday that she is grateful and thanked the voters, her volunteers and her supporters.
“This has been just an incredibly, just a crazy, first term in Congress,” Hayes said Wednesday. "Even campaigning in the middle of a pandemic, I could have never imagined it, but people really stood up and they voted, they participated and I am just am so incredibly thankful for that."
The race was called just after midnight on Wednesday. Before that, the race went back and forth between Hayes and her Republican challenger David Sullivan.
“I’m very excited to learn that I have secured my first re-election. I spoke to Mr. Sullivan this morning and he congratulated me,” Hayes said.
Hayes has 55 percent of the vote, but she tweeted overnight saying she was going to wait until all of the votes are tallied.
"Last night we were getting the numbers and I felt comfortable that we were in a good place, but my campaign spent a lot of time over the last two months encouraging people to vote early, to mail in their absentee ballots and all of those votes are important and I wanted to wait for all of those votes to be counted," she said.
Hayes was a high school teacher prior to being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
She was named Teacher of the Year in 2016 by President Obama and is the first Black congresswoman from Connecticut.
NBC Connecticut had a crew in the 5th District throughout the night on Election Night. Our crews saw a steady stream of voters casting their ballots and watched as election officials counted absentee ballots.
In terms of the absentee ballots dropped into the drop boxes yesterday, officials said those would be counted today in Waterbury.
Hayes tested positive for COVID-19 during the campaign, which affected what she could do, and her supporters came forward to help as the campaign continued, she said.
On Wednesday, she said she was grateful and thanked the people who supported her.
When asked what she wants to work on during her next term, she said special education and food insecurity, but also to get the COVID-19 virus under control, get businesses online and get people back to work.
She said it’s also time to look at what the virus has exposed and deal with systemic issues.