Washington – Reps. Rosa DeLauro and John Larson hosted a fundraiser on Capitol Hill for Mary Glassman, the state Democratic party’s endorsed candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, cementing establishment support for the former Simsbury first-selectman.
Glassman is locked in a tight primary race with fellow Democrat Jahana Hayes, a former national teacher of the year who narrowly lost her party’s endorsement.
Rep. Joe Courtney, D-3rd District, and former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, attended the Tuesday evening fundraiser in DeLauro’s Capitol Hill townhouse, said the congresswoman’s campaign spokesman Jimmy Tickey.
Tickets for the event ranged from $100 for “supporter” status, to $1,000 to be designated a “co-host.”
“They are not formally endorsing her, they are just being very supportive,” said Glassman campaign manager Mark Bergman.
He said Glassman made a quick trip to Washington D.C. to attend the event.
“Mary is a longtime friend, one I have worked with for many years—ever since she ran for Lt. Governor of Connecticut,” DeLauro said. “She shares my view that we need an economy that works for everyone, and her own family experience informs her strong support for policies like equal pay for equal work, paid sick days, and paid family leave.”
DeLauro also said Glassman ” is not afraid to stand up to special interests and big money, and is a fierce advocate for working families, women, and the middle class.”
Larson said his support also stemmed from a longtime relationship with Glassman.
“I’ve known Mary Glassman for 40 years,” he said. “I’ve seen her perform as (first selectman), I know her family and she has been very helpful.”
Larson also said “there are two very good candidates” in the the race for the sprawling congressional seat that includes 41 towns in the state’s northeast corner.
Meanwhile, Hayes, who would be the only black member of Connecticut’s congressional delegation if she won the seat of retiring Rep. Elizabeth Esty, is backed by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
Unlike Glassman, Hayes has never held political office before. Even with Murphy’s important support, Hayes is running as an outsider who is critical of the Democratic establishment.
“I was not a part of that inner circle,” Hayes said in a recent interview on MSNBC when asked why the state party did not endorse her.
She also said “there’s an appetite for change and the party should respond to that.”
Hayes said she believes there should be a shakeup in the House Democratic leadership to appeal to younger, more diverse voters.
House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, Democratic whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and assistant minority leader Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., are all in their late 70s.
“I think that if we are having a conversation, we need to change what our leaders look like,” Hayes said.
Hayes did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, DeLauro, D-3rd District, is close to Pelosi, who has appointed the Connecticut lawmaker co-chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee since 2003. In that leadership job, DeLauro helps Pelosi decide committee assignment and policy issues.
Larson, D-1st District, has also been part of Pelosi’s leadership team as a former chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.