City Councilman Marcus Brown Examines Legislative Landscape–Will He Challenge Moore For State Senate?

Young Dem officers left to right, Tom Gaudett, Emalee Thittavong, Marcus Brown, Antonio Felipe, Paula Romero, Lauren Gray.

Decision time for a bunch of political operatives including West Side City Councilman Marcus Brown.

Brown emerged several years ago as one of the new young guns courting city politics. In 2017 he won a seat on the City Council running with insurgent Kyle Langan. Brown and Langan had a political falling-out. Brown then developed an alliance with Evette Brantley, the veteran incumbent whom Brown and Langan took out in 2017.

Yes, the surreal world of Bridgeport politics is prone to such alliances. Fight today, smooch tomorrow, fight again for the fun of making up again. Sounds like couples therapy.

East End district leader Ralph Ford has the absolute job for politics. He’s a clinical psychologist.

A year ago Brown became president of the Greater Bridgeport Young Democrats which has a new toehold after decades of dormancy. Brown is employed by The Workplace where he recruits businesses to hire veterans and ex offenders.

Marcus Brown and Kyle Langan teamed up to win City Council seats then divorced.

The political skinny circulating in the city has Brown eyeing a state legislative seat, perhaps challenging State Rep. Jack Hennessy or State Senator Marilyn Moore.

Hmmm, choices.

Hennessy’s district covers the heart of the North End and solely encompasses Bridgeport. Moore’s senate district is another animal fronting one third of Bridgeport, all of Trumbull and southern Monroe.

Neither incumbent will be easy to defeat, given their years of service to constituents and perks that go with incumbency such as franking-privilege mailers.

Hennessy supported Ganim’s reelection, particularly in the general election. Moore challenged Ganim in a close primary battle then lost two to one in a long-shot write-in candidacy after a campaign petitioning gaffe cost her a November position on the Working Families Party line.

Translation: Hennessy’s in strong shape with the political establishment versus Moore who ran against it.

State Senators Dennis Bradley with Marilyn Moore could both face 2020 primaries.

Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, a Moore adversary, fancies a Moore challenger, if for no other reason than “Let’s teach her a lesson,” something he often declares about those diabolical insurgents.

All of this assumes potential Democratic primaries for town committee in March go Testa’s way and he receives another two years as chairman.

Moore has earned her election stripes in primaries. She first ran for state senate in 2008 coming up short against party-endorsed Anthony Musto in a primary before lancing him in a primary in 2014, then doing the same to former City Council President Tom McCarthy in 2016. In 2018, given her drubbing of McCarthy, especially in Bridgeport, no one challenged her.

After challenging Ganim in 2019, Moore’s now likely to face a primary.

If Brown goes for it, Testa and Ganim can help him raise the $15,000 in small donations to qualify for the state’s public financing program that would avail him nearly $100,000 in additional campaign dough.

Testa could also build a delegate list that wires the endorsement to Moore’s opponent. Because Connecticut’s 22nd Senatorial is a multiple-town district, 15 percent delegate support is required to make the primary ballot, presumably that backing for Moore would come from Trumbull and Monroe delegates who embrace her but not necessarily Bridgeport’s political leadership. In lieu of that, challengers to the endorsed candidate may petition onto the ballot.

When Moore defeated Musto in 2014 she positioned herself as a reformer to clean up government from conflicts of interests. Despite insignificant support in Trumbull and Monroe, she compiled large pluralities in Bridgeport precincts that won the day. Since that time she’s built prestige with suburban voters while harnessing a Bridgeport base.

A few years ago Moore viewed Brown as a disciple of her reform movement, but like a number of young insider Dems who had supported Moore they’ve drifted away because she takes political relationships for granted. Here I am, I’m running again, so what I haven’t been in touch? It takes a special kind of politician to pull that off without losing support.

Most members of the city’s legislative delegation echo a recurring theme: Moore’s an aloof operative who doesn’t work well with us to bring home more bacon from Hartford.

Still, it’s a tall mountain to defeat Moore given the introduction work required to a diverse three-town constituency and frame an alternative message to fire the incumbent.

Sometimes in politics it takes a run or two of ambitious patience to achieve the ultimate goal. Paging Joe Ganim. Paging Marilyn Moore. Paging State Senator Dennis Bradley. All three ran twice before they won something.

You enter the game, bloody your nose a bit, maybe run better than expected and fight for a winning election down the road.

Instant gratification is rare in politics.

We’ll see.

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12 comments

  1. Firstly, no one needs to pimp Ed Gomes. He’s an independent contractor and ask anyone who has underestimated him.
    Secondly, he is an ally of Marylyn Moore and would do almost anything to help her. If threatening to run just to destroy everybody’s plans for his old senate seat could wreck havoc then don’t rule that out. It is always about the long term gain and not the short term that matters to Ed.
    So you just keep plumping for Marcus Brown but just tell him to watch his back. Because Mario and Joe aren’t going to care about it.

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  2. So Lennie,
    Did Scott Appleby get Moreno year for filling two jobs???
    Or is it temporary?
    Was Scott’s background to being a spokesman?
    Or was it he wasn’t doing much in Emergency services so he had plenty of time on his hand?

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    1. Bob, Lennie wrote this about Marilyn Moore, “A few years ago Moore viewed Brown as a disciple of her reform movement, but like a number of young insider Dems who had supported Moore they’ve drifted away because she takes political relationships for granted. Here I am, I’m running again, so what I haven’t been in touch? It takes a special kind of politician to pull that off without losing support.” Bob, even with that said

      “Most members of the city’s legislative delegation echo a recurring theme: Moore’s an aloof operative who doesn’t work well with us to bring home more bacon from Hartford.” Bob, even with that said, Senator Marilyn Moore was a better candidate for than Joe Ganim for mayor. Jjust read what Lennie said about Senator Moore, “When Moore defeated Musto in 2014 she positioned herself as a reformer to clean up government from conflicts of interests,” that’s something that Joe Ganim has never said and never will, the record speaks for its self. When the voters reelect Joe Ganim they made the decision put Mario Testa back into power so it’s going to the and Joe and Mario show.

      Notice to those 20 City Council members, don’t forget what Lennie wrote if any one of them decides to vote against something that Joe and Mario want this will happen to you, “Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, a Moore adversary, fancies a Moore challenger, if for no other reason than “Let’s teach her a lesson,” something he often declares about those diabolical insurgents.”

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  3. We need a real contest, with three or more challengers (initially) for that seat, who will, if elected, serve Bridgeport (and thereby the whole 22nd district) properly/effectively in their GA/Senate role. Bridgeport hasn’t had proper/effective representation in the 22nd District in decades. I think that the last effective Bridgeport advocate in that seat was Cahill(?)… (Lenny would know.)

    We obviously need somebody new in that seat. Marcus Brown has not shown any signs that he would be effective in that seat. We need to bring on a few more candidates. Mario and Joe, if they really want to give Bridgeport a boost, will beat the bushes for an appropriate, smart BRIDGEPORTER to promote for that seat… And it shouldn’t be one of the usual suspects or a recently-anointed flunky from the ranks of the Party…

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  4. Jeff, here are your words, “Mario and Joe, if they really want to give Bridgeport a boost, will beat the bushes for an appropriate, smart BRIDGEPORTER to promote for that seat… ” Jeff, Mario and Joe want a candidate who follows THEIR direction.

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  5. Thanks, Lennie. (How could I forget Howard Owens?! I don’t know why Cahill popped into my head instead…).

    Ron: The D-Party leadership in Bridgeport is Mario/Joe… Just the facts… D’s that want proper representation in Hartford must prevail upon Party leadership to promote capable candidates that will fight for our interests… And, in any event, we must learn to take our GA members to task, and vote them out, when they don’t do our bidding for us effectively in Hartford — and we must take Mario and Joe to task in the same political stroke, letting them know our displeasure…

    And, as a city, we have to learn to choose and vote for candidates with our heads, pragmatically, not because of sentiments based upon racial, age, or gender accounts that might beg to settled but that are otherwise unbalanced by necessary pragmatism. So, if the best candidate is a young, black female, we should vote for her; in the same vein, if the best candidate is an old, white guy, we should vote for him. Bridgeport can’t afford to think in terms of choices based solely upon racial/age/gender account-grievances, nor can it afford to entertain allowing the Old Guard to cling to power out of misplaced loyalty or sentiment… PRAGMATISM must be the key word in Bridgeport politics…

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    1. Jeff, I’m in total agreement with you but the “Money is the Mother’s Milk of Politics” which is not the same thing as what you wrote and that’s what gives Mario Testa the power to control who gets elected and how they should vote. Sep. 19, 2019 was the voters chance to start the taking power from Mario Testa with the defeat of Joe Ganim in that Democrat primary but to many voters allowed the what Voltaire said, “Don’t Let The Perfect Be The Enemy Of The Good,” Marilyn Moore was not the “perfect” candidate but she was a good candidate even with some of the flaws in her campaign, the number of votes at the voting polls prove that with her getting more than 300 votes than Joe Ganim and she only lost the election by 270 votes from the absentee ballots. Jeff, I don’t see the stars lining up again to take Mario and Joe out of office.

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