Aikeem Boyd, who served five years in the Navy, has earned his sea legs in more ways than one. On Tuesday he accomplished a mighty feat in city politics, amassing the most votes in a City Council primary running alone against two endorsed candidates. He’s now poised to join the council in December with incumbent Jeanette Herron representing the North End 133rd District.
From his media contact Allison Waggener:
The biggest upset of Tuesday’s municipal primary was Aikeem Boyd’s solo victory, in which the newcomer earned substantially more votes than incumbent Jeanette Herron or her running mate Raymond Collete, who were both backed by the powerful and controversial Democratic Town Committee. Boyd and Herron, the top vote-getters, will advance to the general election against the Republican candidates in November, where their win is virtually assured.
In still unofficial results, Boyd earned 146 votes, Herron 118, and Collette 86 in a low-turnout off-year election. Boyd attributed his success to an old-fashioned ground game, knocking doors, making calls, and sending mailers, and he thanked “the public school teachers, the guidance counselors, the moms, aunts, and uncles who gave their time and their energy” to his campaign. He also had a few original twists, like a car circulating through the neighborhood with a huge portrait on top by Stratford-based artist Luis Lopez, with the message “Vote!”
Boyd, 32, grew up on the East Side and North End of Bridgeport, attending John Winthrop Elementary and Central High School. After graduation, he joined the Navy and served on the USS Enterprise. After five years of military service, he earned a degree in political science from Fordham University, graduating in 2017. He moved back to the 133rd district in 2013 and recently purchased his first home there in January. He works as a public safety officer at St. Vincent’s Medical Center and at the West Haven VA. His grandparents moved to Bridgeport in the 1940s, so he has substantial roots in the community.
“We always knew he would go into politics,” said Susan Starkie of Farifield, a guidance counselor at Central High School while Boyd attended. His mother, Donna Stewart-Eagles of Bridgeport, recalls how the family would call him “Mr. President” from the age of four. As a boy he used to walk to City Hall to attend City Council meetings. So when he finally decided to run for office it was no surprise to his family members, high school teachers and classmates, and Navy buddies. Those who were local came out to support him at the polls and as volunteers, while others supported with donations and phone banking.
Boyd was backed by Bridgeport Generation Now Votes and the Working Families Party. Both groups had strong nights, with 5 out of 7 Gen Now candidates and 3 out of 5 of the WFP endorsed candidates winning their primaries.
Boyd ran for the seat recently held by Michael DeFilippo, the city councilman who was indicted for absentee ballot fraud days after announcing at the Democratic Town Committee convention that he would not run again. The 133rd DTC recruited accountant Raymond Collette for the second position on the slate.
Boyd’s campaign focused on a few key messages: honesty and transparency in city government, increasing the tax base to lower the burden on homeowners and bring in jobs, creating a clean and livable city, and increasing education funding. “He’s the best city council candidate I’ve seen in 11 years of living in Bridgeport,” said Gail Janensch, a supporter who lives at the Watermark retirement community. “I knew he’d be someone with integrity and world experience to make a difference in Bridgeport.”