Ayala Defeats Newton In Close State Senate Primary–Finch Applauds Win–Christina Ayala Wins State House Primary

Tito Ayala, Andres Ayala
Former City Councilman Tito Ayala, left, campaigned Tuesday in front of Marin School with his nephew Andres Ayala who won the Democratic primary for State Senate. The East Side precinct was key for both Andres Ayala and his cousin Christina Ayala who won the Democratic primary to replace him in his State House seat.

Unofficial results of State Senate primary including Stratford and absentee ballots: Ayala 2129, Newton 1739, Gomes 1138.

State Rep. Andres Ayala, riding a mighty absentee ballot operation, a legislative base and the political organization of Mayor Bill Finch has won the Democratic primary for State Senate in Connecticut’s 23rd District, defeating incumbent Ed Gomes and Ernie Newton’s quest for redemption following corruption charges that forced his resignation from the seat in 2005. Ayala is the prohibitive favorite to become the city’s first Latino state senator in November’s general election.

Unofficial returns show Ayala defeated Newton in a close contest. Gomes conceded at his campaign headquarters on Stratford Avenue shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m. Unofficial results, according to elections officials, had Ayala up by more than 100 votes on the machine count over Newton, but Ayala has won the absentee ballot count by roughly 250 votes. Newton ran strong in his East End base support and other areas of the city.

Across most of the district that comprises about 70 percent of Bridgeport and a portion of western Stratford Ayala operatives churned out the vote in a pathetically low voter turnout. Ayala ran up large pluralities in his home base on the East Side where supporters pushed his ballot position on Line B while also promoting the top line position of his cousin Christina Ayala who won her primary to replace him in the State House over challenger Angel Reyes.

Primaries are all about identifying friends and dragging them to the polls. A number of Mayor Bill Finch’s political operatives assisted with this effort. As expected absentee ballots played a key in the primary win with Ayala winning an overwhelming number of them, according to elections officials. Ayala also captured the support of new voters in the Hooker and Beardsley School precincts that were carved into the district as a result of state-required redistricting. Ayala won the absentee ballot count in Bridgeport, 432 to Newton’s 176. Gomes had 78 absentee ballot votes.

“Congratulations to Andres Ayala on a well deserved win,” Finch announced Tuesday evening. “His experience and leadership in the House of Representatives will enable him to do even more for the citizens of Bridgeport when he takes his seat with his colleagues in the Senate.”

The primary day turnout across the city was low. At the halfway point of voting at 1 p.m. roughly 1500 voters across Connecticut’s 23rd Senate District had voted by machine. Turnout increased late afternoon but the pace was hard pressed to eclipse the mid teens across the entire district.

A number of voters who were redistricted out of the Senate district expressed frustration that they could not vote for Gomes at Hallen School in the North End. Gomes lost rock-solid votes when Democratic party leaders in Hartford changed the district lines to accommodate State Senator Anthony Musto who represents the city’s adjoining Senate district that includes suburban Trumbull and Monroe. Still, this was an area where Newton ran strong.

John Bagley
Bags bagging votes for Gomes. John Bagley, legendary Bridgeport hoop star, campaigned on behalf of Ed Gomes in the West End. Bags is also a Board of Education candidate for the September 4 special election on the Working Families Party line.

Andres Ayala spent much of the day campaigning in front of Marin School, his legislative base on the East Side. He was joined by his uncle Tito Ayala, former City Councilman, who was urging voters to fill in the top-line oval of his daughter Christina Ayala, who’s running for Andres Ayala’s State House seat, as well as voting for Andres on Line B.

Gil Hernandez, Christina Ayala
Veteran East Side district leader Gil Hernandez campaigned with State Rep. candidate Christina Ayala at Geraldine Johnson School off North Avenue and Marin School. Christina defeated her opponent Angel Reyes.

Christina Ayala, the Democratic party endorsed candidate, spent her day campaigning in front of Geraldine Johnson School the precinct that serves the Hollow portion of Connecticut’s 128th State House District.

Chris Caruso
The Big Wave former State Rep. Chris Caruso called voters on behalf of Gomes.

Ernie Newton opened his day greeting voters at Dunbar School in the East End. Newton counted on a large percentage of the vote from the East End where he lives and has represented his entire political career.



  1. My wife and I voted today at Thomas Hooker. My wife is having trouble walking and I spoke to the moderator whose name I do not recall.
    The moderator was excellent and informed me of curbside voting. Curbside voting meansI go inside and inform them I have a person with difficulty walking. The moderator and a worker come outside with a ballot and an envelope and my wife could vote from the car.
    This moderator was excellent and well informed. To her I say thank you.

    1. Thank you for the tip about curbside voting. I found a parking space close enough to the voting entrance at Blackham school and managed to walk in to vote. I’ll have to remember this for the BOE special election and the Nov general election.

  2. I vote at Central High School. When I went around noon, the gates from Madison Ave into the parking lot were locked. You then need to enter from Lincoln Blvd. The roadway leading to the Polling area is one way the wrong way. I’m still an able-bodied individual, but anyone with any mobility problems would have a hike to get into the polls. Good to know about the curbside voting for those with a disablity. I called Registrars Office to alert them. They are aware but seem powerless to get BOE to open gates. You don’t need to put stumbling blocks in the way of voting access.

  3. This curbside voting is a well-kept secret. I have been active in politic for more than 30 years and on the TC for 15-plus years and never heard of curbside voting until today.
    Maybe the politicians could tighten up the rules for getting absentee ballots and push curbside voting. I know I must be dreaming; if that were the case Lydia Martinez would never get elected and Santiago would have to find a new mission other than stealing elections.

  4. *** Was I being too nice in my early prediction of an 18% to 20% voter turnout today? The way things are going the polls will be lucky to register a 12% Zombieland turnout! During my work travels today I asked and reminded a few people about voting today; their response was “for what?” ABs and “curbside voting” might be the old and new ticket in winning today’s primary, no? *** LOONEY TUNES PRIMARY ***

  5. Turnout, turnout, turnout. Not sure what day Bridgeport voters will figure out they can make a difference–if they turn out. There is real power for the taking there–it’s just not enough folks get it.

  6. I am in a very interesting conversation at the Colony Diner. It appears the overwhelming consensus is convicted political corruption felon Ernest T. Newton has seen the last of his attempts to defile the public trust. Everyone who was ever going to vote for him, legally or not, voted for him.

    Ernest T., the peeps have spoken. You’re toast. Now, in one final magnanimous gesture, please part Long Island Sound and walk your ass on out of here. Don’t look back, no one is following.

  7. It is a sad day for Bridgeport and a sad day for Ed Gomes. Senator Gomes was double-crossed by Nancy DiNardo who took his solid block of votes and shifted them into Musto’s district. The unions that Ed had supported for 30 years turned against him and went with the Finch candidate. Yeah I’m talking about AFSCME. The AB operation was as strong as ever. I would like to see the attendance sheet at the East Side senior center. How many of Martha’s seniors voted AB and then came to the center? Only Martha and Lydia know for sure. There is no room for an honest honorable man like Senator Gomes in Bridgeport politics. Only room for self-serving greedy politicians. Time to move. There is no hope in Mudville.

    1. You can bet Martha’s seniors voted absentee. She brings them to every big fundraiser where they eat and drink for free. Martha was heavily backing Ayala and Martha is not above doing what has to be done. That’s politics according to Martha.


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