Cabrera wins Democratic primary in 17th Senate District


By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

Democrat Jorge Cabrera, right, and his campaign manager Dhrupad Nag look over election results Tuesday night at the campaign’s headquarters at the Operating Engineer’s Union Hall in Hamden. –ANDREAS YILMA

For the second time in three years, Democrat Jorge Cabrera earned the opportunity to run for the 17th Senate District seat by winning a primary race. Though it took a little longer than usual to declare victory.

Cabrera, 46, of Hamden, garnered about 57% of the vote, according to unofficial numbers, to defeat fellow Democrat Justin Farmer in Tuesday’s primary.

The declaration of victory came two days after the polls closed when Farmer, 26, of Hamden, conceded the race Thursday night. The delay was due to the campaigns waiting for absentee votes to be tallied, after Gov. Ned Lamont extended the deadline for towns to accept absentee ballots by two days.

In a statement, Cabrera thanked Farmer for running a “strong, issue-based primary campaign.”

“We all want the same thing for our families — whether it’s healthcare as a right not a privilege for the wealthy and well-connected, advancing the Green New Deal, or making sure our schools are fully funded and give our students the best opportunity to succeed,” Cabrera said. “It’s clear Justin has fought hard to advance these issues and others to bring progress to the district. I look forward to working together with him for the people of the 17th.”

Cabrera, a business representative for United Food and Commercial Worker’s Union Local 919, will carry the party’s banner into the November election to challenge state Sen. George Logan, R-Ansonia, who is seeking a third term in office. The district represents Beacon Falls, Ansonia, Bethany, Derby and parts of Hamden, Naugatuck and Woodbridge.

Cabrera ran against Logan in 2018 after winning a three-way Democratic primary. He lost a tight race to Logan after a recount.

“This election has the potential to shift the balance of power for working people in our state. The Democratic Party is just one seat away from gaining a veto-proof majority in the state Senate,” Cabrera said in the statement. “If we can band together to defeat the Republican incumbent, we can win real governing power and build a state where working-class people can thrive and leave a better future for their kids.”

Democrat Justin Farmer, left, talks with voter John Kolodziej of Naugatuck while campaigning outside Andrew Avenue Elementary School in Naugatuck Tuesday. Farmer faced Democrat Jorge Cabrera, both of Hamden, in the primary for the nomination to run in the 17th State Senate District. -ANDREAS YILMA

For Farmer, the primary was his first venture into state politics. He is in his second term on the Hamden Legislative Council.

In a statement, Farmer congratulated Cabrera on the victory. He added the 17th Senate District is left to choose between two campaigns, neither of which he said has comprehensive plans to address numerous issues, including income inequality, energy company monopolies, the housing crisis, police violence, regressive taxation, and climate change.

“We will continue fighting for what we know to be basic human rights. These things transcend individual campaigns and party politics,” Farmer said. “We were always an issues-first campaign, and we will continue to be just that.”

As Cabrera moves onto the November election, he said he’s running because he feels the district deserves better.

“Whether it’s the underfunded public schools, the lack of investment in infrastructure and public transportation, or inadequate plans for economic development, the 17th district has been neglected by Hartford for too long,” he said in a statement.

Elio Gugliotti contributed to this report.