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Montville — State Republicans on Friday nominated Lori Hopkins-Cavanagh, a real estate broker who ran for New London mayor in 2011, to represent Connecticut’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“She has charisma. She has vision. She has smarts. She’s a little bit brazen,” said Mary Ann Turner of Enfield, who nominated Hopkins-Cavanagh, adding, “She’s focused and she’s passionate and she’s on the point.”
Hopkins-Cavanagh received the majority of delegates’ votes at the Republican convention at Mohegan Sun, beating out nominees Evan Evans and Dan Reale.
Speakers at the convention focused on the ability of Hopkins-Cavanagh and Evans to beat four-term incumbent Democrat Joe Courtney, who was nominated Wednesday for a fifth term.
Evans, who is from Colchester, received 30.5 percent of the vote. He was nominated by Tom Banish of Madison, who called Evans the Republicans’ best chance at beating Courtney.
“Who better to confront the mythical relationship Joe Courtney has with the military?” asked Banish, who highlighted Evans’ role as a major in the National Guard and history of military service overseas.
Republican convention rules state that candidates who receive at least 15 percent of the votes can force a primary, but Evans declined to do so.
“This has never been about me,” he said. “This is about beating Joe Courtney and changing things in Washington.”
Reale received four votes.
In addition to her experience as a real estate broker, Hopkins-Cavanagh produces and hosts a radio show that airs in Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. She established her first business, an advertising and public relations firm, at age 25.
Turner insisted that Hopkins-Cavanagh, who spoke to the Enfield Republican Committee and “grabbed us by the throat,” would be a strong contender against Courtney.
“You can be a good guy,” said Turner, referencing former state Sen. Edith Prague’s remark about Courtney, “but what we need is (a) can-do girl.”
“Lori can win our hearts and Lori can win in November,” she added. Her speech, the most fiery of the 2nd District convention — it contained a reminder that “you have to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and that’s why we’re Republicans” — received the most applause and audience reaction of the night.
Hopkins-Cavanagh said she plans to fight to improve the state’s economy, claiming that college graduates are stocking Wal-Mart shelves and “ma and pa are closing shop.”
Courtney is a friend to big business, said Hopkins-Cavanagh in her acceptance speech, but he’s “not such a great friend to the average Joe.”
“Of all the congressional districts in Connecticut, the second is most likely to turn from blue to red,” she added. “Tomorrow we begin the journey to bring Joe (Courtney) home for good.”
Republicans also nominated Mark Greenberg to run for the 5th Congressional District, former state Sen. Dan Debicella to run for the 4th District, Jim Brown for the 3rd District and Matt Corey for the 1st District.
“Party unity is critical to success, and I’m thrilled that these candidates will leave here with a strong tailwind of support that will point them to victory,” said state Republican party Chairman Jerry Labriola said. “Connecticut residents can’t afford another two years under these Democrats who have shown they believe taxation and regulation are the path to prosperity.”
The Republicans will continue their convention today, when they will nominate candidates for statewide offices.