And You Thought The Conventions Were Over? Gomes, Newton, Ayala Face Off Tonight

Monday and Tuesday nights at Testo’s Restaurant a bunch of candidates will be positioning for Democratic delegate endorsements for a variety of local races. The featured event Monday night is the face-off between State Senator Ed Gomes, former State Senator Ernie Newton and State Rep. Andres Ayala for Gomes’ 23rd Senatorial seat. Gomes wants to keep it, Newton wants it back and Ayala wants to win it. There appears to be split interest among delegates going into the convention with Newton, the Moses of his peeps, working a delegate lead but just shy of the endorsement that would place his name on the top line.

Ed Gomes
Ed Gomes seeks reelection.

If 53 delegates show up Monday (tonight), Newton would need 27 for the endorsement. Newton’s campaign message is Redemption and Opportunity. Political operatives believe the party endorsement carries weight with primary voters. If there’s no endorsement the primary is wide open, requiring candidates to petition onto the ballot which should not be a problem.

Gomes has represented the district for the past seven years. He won the seat in a special election after Newton was forced to resign following corruption charges. Newton defeated Gomes in a close special election to win the seat in 2003 following the death of Alvin Penn. This is new territory for Ayala who’s popular in his East Side legislative district but unknown outside of it. He has the backing of former Democratic Town Chairman John Stafstrom and Mayor Bill Finch.

Ernie Newton
Ernie Newton wants it back.

Gomes made a fundamental decision to hold off raising money and schmoozing delegates until after the recently completed legislative session. Both Newton and Ayala appear to be well on their way to qualifying for Connecticut’s public financing system that would allow them to spend $100K in the primary.

Andres Ayala
Andres Ayala in new territory.

Gomes has power of incumbency and strong labor support that counts in primaries, but needs to make up ground raising money for the Aug. 14 primary. The district covers most of Bridgeport and a portion of Stratford.

Tuesday night candidates for Board of Education, State House races and Registrar of Voters will search for endorsements.



  1. My question is who is going to run a primary against the Democratic registrar of voters. I have still not gotten over the 2010 ballot mess and I will never vote for that lady again!

  2. Presuming a three-way senate primary, which would be a real donnybrook and a lot of fun to cover, there’s still the itty-bitty question of who runs for the house seat being vacated by Ayala.

    Support from the house districts would be very helpful to the senate hopefuls. Logic suggests the three senate contenders have names lined up for Ayala’s house district. That’s a good place to start to build a coalition for the senate campaign.

    And donj is absolutely right. Who is running for Democratic registrar? Santa is damaged goods. Should it be St. Lydia of the Pequonnock Fields, spreading ABs like daisy petals throughout the city?

    Could the Bridgeport Democratic Party be embarrassed enough to find a competent nominee that all factions could support as an honest broker in their disputes and not bring disrepute to themselves? Well, I think we all know the answer to that:


  3. *** It’s a crapshoot with Gomes as the house favorite for being the present incumbent. Ayala comes in second due to the Hispanic vote and name recognition, leaving Newton as the underdog at the back of the pack. A unity deal between Ayala and Gomes would knock Newton out of the political box completely! Registrar of Voters office may see a possible interest and return of Lisa Parziale should the party not endorse Ms. Ayala? *** It’s deal-making time in the Dem. party. ***

  4. Waste of time, none of these three will do anything for the upper East Side. I will say this, at least Gomes went against Finch and stood up to him. Ayala is a political kiss-ass and will do things that benefit him and no one else. Newton will go with anyone he has to, does not care who it is.


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