Connecticut Speaker of the House Chris Donovan has opened a wide, perhaps insurmountable, lead over Elizabeth Esty and Dan Roberti in lining up delegates for the Democratic State Convention in May in their race for the party’s nomination for the 5th District congressional seat.

Donovan has been endorsed by 11 Democratic Town Committees who have a total of 83 delegates to send to the convention, or 25 percent of the total number of delegates. Donovan’s largest take so far is an endorsement in New Britain, which has 34 delegates.

Esty and Roberti have been endorsed by two DTCs each, with respective delegate potential of 15 and 11.

The Republican side is wide open. Justin Bernier has the early lead in RTC endorsements and delegates, with backing from eight town committees who have 34 total convention delegates, or 14 percent of the convention’s total delegate count.

Andrew Roraback is second in number of endorsements, with six RTCs, with 22 total delegates.

Lisa Wilson-Foley has only two RTC endorsements, Danbury and Middlebury, but Danbury has the largest single number of delegates at 18, bringing her total to 23.

Mike Clark has been endorsed by his hometown Farmington RTC, which has 12 delegates.

Mark Greenberg has no RTC endorsements so far.

It should be noted that while many DTCs and RTCs allocate their delegates as “winner take all,” some don’t, and there is not an absolute rule that delegates who are chosen must vote for the candidate that was endorsed by their committee.

Regardless of who wins at the convention, all three candidates plan to continue their campaigns and appear on the primary ballot in August.

But the candidate who wins the convention will have their name appear first on the ballot and will be able to call himself or herself the “party nominee” (sort of … it’s something that Justin Bernier and Sam Caligiuri fought about in the 2010 5th District Republican primary after Caligiuri won at the convention).

If a candidate loses the convention but receives more than 15 percent of delegates’ support, their name will appear automatically on the August primary ballot.

Even if they don’t, all eight major party candidates said they would be on the ballot anyway, by launching a petition campaign if necessary after the convention.

At a debate among the three Democratic candidates in Torrington on Tuesday night, Roberti specifically appealed to primary voters instead of convention delegates. The event was hosted by the Torrington Democratic Town Committee, which had already endorsed Donovan.

He said voters should decide the nomination “at the polls,” not the convention.

More endorsements of 5th District candidates:

View 5th District Endorsements in a larger map