Here we go, the weekend before Tuesday’s special elections for State Senate and State House. The various camps have segued to get-out-the-vote mode.
What are you hearing from the various camps? The campaigns for State Senate received their public campaign grants just one week out from the election so the various political operatives needed to anticipate how the money would be spent in such a short timeframe.
What has not yet materialized is a blizzard of absentee ballot returns to the Town Clerk’s Office, barring a last-minute dump. As of Friday roughly 500 had been returned, nearly 200 in the 129th State House District covering five candidates, Democrat Steve Stafstrom, Republican Enrique Torres and petitioning candidates Bob Keeley, Bob Halstead and Hector Diaz. The winner fills the seat vacated by Auden Grogins, now on the state bench. The district covers Black Rock, the West Side and portions of the North End and West End.
So that leaves so just over 300 absentee ballots for the 23rd Senate District that covers about two-thirds of the city and a portion of western Stratford, out of more than 1000 applications issued.
Mayor Bill Finch’s political operation, trying to block former State Senator Ed Gomes, delivered the Democratic endorsement to Ricky DeJesus, then pulled away following revelations about back tax and child support issues. They rebooted to help the petitioning campaign of school board member Ken Moales whose campaign finance report is loaded with Finch financial supporters. Gomes is running on the Working Families Party line. Charles Hare is also on the ballot as a petitioning candidate. Quentin Dreher is the Republican candidate. The winner replaces the seat vacated by Andres Ayala, now the commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Tuesday will determine if it was worth the effort. The camps with the best turnout operations will win.
OIB political correspondent Jim Callahan shares some observations about the Finch-Gomes battle.
Never surrender is a motto of Bridgeport Democratic politics.
But Mayor Bill Finch, I believe, is better off losing one or two Tuesday in the special elections.
Yeah I know, the mayor and Eddie Gomes have been going at it forever. It may hurt Ed’s ego to say it, but the Ayala replacement Finch snuck in for state senator in 2012 didn’t hurt. But that was then.
Finch’s latest replacements are stinkers. They are embarrassments to the Democratic committee.
And most people like Eddie. A beef with the mayor doesn’t hurt the city, he’ll still do the right thing.
The fights with Finch veer into entertaining.
They also tend–from my distance–to release some tension in the system about the mayor. Better to lose a state senator than a vote on city council?