First Selectman Clay Cope’s Run for Congress Gaining Momentum as Convention Nears

With the Connecticut Republican 5th District Convention just three days away, First Selectman of Sherman, Clay Cope, is quickly becoming the most visible and viable congressional candidate. Ever since Cope announced his candidacy in January to run in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District for a seat in the US House of Representatives, he has gained more than 60 substantial endorsements from municipal leaders, state legislators, state central members, former 5th District nominees, Republican Town Committees (RTCs), and local Republican Town Committee leaders.

IMG_5657Out of all these major endorsements, some of the most recognizable names are Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, New Fairfield State Representative Richard A. Smith, New Fairfield First Selectwoman Susan Chapman, Former New Fairfield Selectman John Hodge, First Selectwoman of Newtown Pat Llodra, Former 5th District Nominee David Cappiello, New Fairfield RTC Chairman Don Blackwell, Danbury Senator Michael McLachlan, and Danbury State Representative Jan Giegler.

To put this in perspective, almost 20% of the RTCs are backing Cope in the 5th District, which encompasses an expansive region of 41 towns and cities. These endorsements give Cope a significant advantage over the other contenders to win the State Republican Party’s official nomination to run against Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty in the November election.

At the Hartford Convention Center on Monday night, the three contenders Cope will be running up against are Matt Maxwell, John Pistone, and Bill Stevens. Joseph Stango was the fourth candidate who recently dropped out of the race and he is now supporting Cope.

Available for comment was George Linkletter, Cope’s Campaign Manager and Sherman RTC Chairman. “We have virtually all of the announced municipal leaders. That is, anyone elected to office such as mayors, state representatives, and senators. No other contender has any announced endorsements from elected officials. Only one contender has announced two RTC endorsements and the others have no endorsements.”

According to Linkletter, Cope is looking like the clear winner but nothing is absolute until the 270 delegates in the 5th District vote at the Convention. “Whoever gets 50% plus one of the vote is the immediate winner. We already have over 50% of the delegates commitment. However, if one contender receives 15% or more of the vote then they are entitled to a primary. What Clay really needs is to get 86% of the delegates vote in order to avoid a primary. If there is a primary, then it will take place in August,” he said. The “Clay Cope for Congress” camp is hoping to avoid this because it costs a lot of time and money.

IMG_5619REVLinkletter matter-of-factly stated, “Clay is going to win the nomination because he is the best candidate. Overall, we have far, far, far more endorsements than any other candidates. We have raised 10 times as much money as our nearest competitor. Clay has a proven track record in winning elections and serving constituents. The other contenders are business professionals without political experience.”

Regarding campaign contributions to date, Cope was also available for comment and shared some more details. “We have raised over $44,000 in contributions. We did a good job initially raising money. Then, we had to focus on the Convention delegates. As soon as we win the Convention, we will raise money again, and we will go after Esty.”

When asked, “have you learned anything new from voters, supporters, and endorsers over the past four months since you first announced your candidacy?” Cope replied, “I have now seen even more dissatisfaction with Esty than I ever imagined while campaigning. Some of the main grievances are that she doesn’t pay attention, only shows up for photo ops, and doesn’t achieve anything. I have a business background. I try to treat all constituents as customers. This means that I am in tune with my constituents; whereas, Esty is removed from her constituents.”

As for what Cope is working on now as the First Selectman of Sherman, he elaborated on the Town’s upcoming Budget Referendum on May 14. “Right now, we’re dealing with big State budget cuts, which equals 2% of the Town’s revenue. Specifically, the MRSA [Municipal Revenue Sharing Account] and ECS [Educational Cost Sharing] cuts. The solution that the Selectmen agreed upon was to present a municipal budget which has an increase of .30 mils. On a positive note, we are able to provide the tax payers and residents with the services that they expect. Our new Public Works wash station will break ground in May. It’s a major step in protecting our valuable assets both in Public Works and emergency service vehicles. Also, this spring we are evaluating external town buildings, and Parks and Recreation areas, so they are ready for the summer activities.”

Clearly, the outcome of the May 9 State Republican Convention will be a defining moment and major milestone in Cope’s Congressional Campaign should he instantly win the Republican Party’s nomination.

Official List of Endorsements:


Senator Kevin Witkos – 8th District – Canton

Senator Michael McLachlan – 24th District – Danbury

Senator Toni Boucher – 26th District – Wilton

Senator Rob Kane – 32nd District – Watertown

Representative Craig Miner – 66th District – Litchfield

Representative Eric Berthel – 68th District – Watertown

Representative Tony D’Amelio – 71st District – Waterbury

Representative Mitch Bolinsky – 106th District – Newtown

Representative Stephen Harding – 107th District – Brookfield

Representative Rich Smith – 108th District – New Fairfield

Representative Jan Giegler – 138th District – Danbury


Christian Hoheb – 5th District – Farmington

Adam Grippo – 13th District – Cheshire

Joe Bannon – 15th District – Waterbury

Mark Boughton – 24th District – Danbury

Art Mannion – 24th District – Danbury

Bryan Cafferelli – 28th District – Fairfield

Ginny Landgrebe – 30th District – New Milford

Kurt Miller – 32nd District – Seymour

David Schultz – 32nd District – Woodbury


David Cappiello

Mark Greenberg


Bethel RTC

Bridgewater RTC

Harwinton RTC

Morris RTC

New Fairfield RTC

New Milford RTC

Sherman RTC

Washington RTC

Woodbury RTC


Guy Darter – Cheshire RTC Chairman

Woody Dawson – Cheshire RTC

Lou Nero – Cheshire RTC Nominating Chairman

Pam Salamone – Cheshire RTC

Anna Neumon – Meriden RTC

Len Rich – Meriden RTC

Don Blackwell – New Fairfield RTC Chairman

Mike Barnes – New Milford RTC Chairman

Lois Chludzinski – New Milford RTC Vice Chairwoman

Jeff Capeci – Newtown RTC Chairman

Barbara Bloom – Newtown RTC

Dennis Bloom – Former Newtown RTC Chairman

Phil Carroll – Newtown RTC

George Ferguson – Newtown RTC

David Freedman – Newtown RTC

Moira Rodgers – Newtown RTC

Will Rodgers – Newtown RTC

Carey Schierloh – Newtown RTC

Jane Sharpe – Newtown RTC

Anna McGuire – North Canaan RTC Chairwoman

George Linkletter – Sherman RTC Chairman

Ed Hayes – Sherman – Former Selectman

Joan Lodsin – Washington RTC Chairwoman

Rod Wyant – Washington RTC

David Schultz – Woodbury RTC Chairman

Originally written for Town Tribune. Article and photos by Alicia Sakal.

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