WATERBURY – U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes called on leaders to set an example of restraint and respect as the nation’s swing states continue to count votes for the presidential race that’s too close to call.
Hayes, the former national Teacher of the Year who won a second term representing greater Danbury and Connecticut’s 5th District, told supporters outside Waterbury City Hall that leaders needed to model patience, so that all votes can be counted.
“We should all be able to agree this is not how it should happen…declaring victory before the votes are counted or trying to stop the votes,” Hayes said to a crowd of supporters and media crews, Wednesday. “Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican – anyone who believes in this democracy should be able to say that we want all votes to be counted.”
Hayes’ message came three hours after GOP challenger David X. Sullivan of New Fairfield conceded the race. At the time, Sullivan was trailing Hayes by 35,000 votes out of some 270,000 votes cast, with 91 percent of precincts reporting, according to unofficial results posted by the state Secretary of State.
“I am immensely grateful to the many, many people across the 5th District who supported my campaign for Congress,” said Sullivan, a retired former assistant U.S. attorney. “I was proud to be an advocate for Republican principles and ensure our voters continue to be heard. While I am personally disappointed in the outcome of the election last night, I respect the results and offer my congratulations to Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.”
Hayes, the first Black woman to represent Connecticut in congress, declined to declare victory on Tuesday night, even though the writing was on the wall.
Instead, Hayes released a late-night statement saying her decision not to declare victory in the 5th District was an effort to “show respect for the integrity of our political process, which means counting every single vote.”
Hayes, who was favored to win by leading election forecasters, hinted that victory was in hand.
“I am confident that we ran a great campaign and once all the ballots are counted, I hope to be heading back to Washington to continue the work we started,” Hayes said Tuesday night. “I want to thank everyone who worked, volunteered, contributed and voted for this campaign. You are the only reason I’m able to go to Washington to fight for the issues we all believe in.”