HARTFORD -- After engineering several crucial vote changes following third-ballot voting, state Sen. Andrew W. Roraback, of Goshen, on Friday afternoon scored a victory over Lisa Wilson-Foley for the GOP endorsement in the 5th Congressional District.
In addition to Wilson-Foley, the two other candidates -- Justin Bernier and Mark Greenberg -- earned enough support from 295 delegates at the Republican State Convention to qualify for an Aug. 14 primary ballot.
The 52-year-old Roraback, a lawyer, former member of the state House and six-term senator from the 30th District, collected 157 votes, for 53 percent, to Wilson Foley's 114 votes, 38 percent.
After the roll call of towns beginning with Avon and ending with Woodbury, Roraback had about 136 votes, but gained about 21 more when delegates were given a chance to rethink and switch.
In the third ballot of the 5th District towns and cities, Bernier received 29 votes for 8 percent. Greenberg was dropped from the third round because his was the low total after two rounds of votes from the 41 towns in the northern and western quadrant of the state, including Danbury and Waterbury.
"This has been a long afternoon," Roraback said about two hours after the balloting began in a stifling ballroom in the Connecticut Convention Center.
"Tonight we begin the process of educating the people throughout the 5th District that what we need in Washington, what the 5th District needs in Washington, what Connecticut needs in Washington, is a person who brings Republican values of fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, individual liberty, limited government, lower taxes and less spending," Roraback said.
"That is the prescription for what ails us as a nation, and that is what I intend to bring to the halls of Congress," he promised. "Your values, through me, to Congress."
Obsitnik, 45, now has the inside track at representing the GOP in the November election against Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Himes of Greenwich, though Meek siphoned off enough delegates to qualify for a primary.
In the 5th Congressional District, all four candidates are expected to file certificates with the Secretary of the State, declaring they reached the 15 percent threshold needed to get on the primary ballot.
In the first ballot, Bernier received 20 percent, Greenberg 19 percent, Wilson-Foley 30 percent, and Roraback 30 percent.
Jerry Labriola, the state party chairman, said he hopes Wilson-Foley, Greenberg and Bernier pause to think about the ramifications of a primary.
"It's too soon to anticipate anything," Labriola said in an interview.
"We'll see how the dust settles," he said. "Candidates should take stock of the events that just occurred and let the temperature go down a little bit, literally, it was so hot in that room.
"I would expect I will be hearing on Monday or so regarding the intentions of our candidates," Labriola said. "It'll be their decision."
On Monday, Democrats in the 5th District endorsed House Speaker Christopher Donovan, but they also gave Dan Roberti of Kent and Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire enough support for a place on the August primary ballot.
The current occupant of the 5th District seat, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, is the Democratic Party's endorsed candidate to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman and is not seeking re-election for his Congressional seat.