Primary day has ended, but it’s not over. And even when the primary vote is certified following recounts, there’s the general election in November and then another vote for City Council president in December by peers. And guess what? When the new council meets in December it will do so without a city employee councilor in decades. Bit by bit, city employee councilors have been defeated, the latest two, Jim Holloway, the most tenured council member, and Milta Feliciano.
The issue of city employee councilors emerged in district campaigning in recent years as voters considered the conflict of members of the legislative and budget body approving their own wages and benefits and the lack of checks and balances on the executive branch.
City Council President Tom McCarthy had been among them, but received a city buyout more than a year ago of his job in labor relations. He recently took a similar position for the city of New Haven. After a nice run, 16 years on the council, 10 years as council president, McCarthy eschewed reelection this year. The past decade the election for council president among peers has been rather ho hum with McCarthy locking it up with little opposition each time.
Who’s in the mix for council president? Depends how the recounts shake out. East End councilor Eneida Martinez, former State Rep. Bob Keeley, former council president and state legislator Ernie Newton are among the names floated. Tuesday’s primary results show Keeley locked in a tie with Jeanette Herron in the North End 133rd District. A recount will take place. If they’re still knotted a runoff will settle it. Newton, as well, is in a recount with a slight lead over Wanda Simmons.
If Herron prevails over Keeley could she be an alternative for council president? Or perhaps someone else?
Some thoughts about district results:
130: For all the meowing about last year’s tax increase in Black Rock, incumbent Scott Burns, co-chair of Budget and Appropriations Committee, held his own in Black Rock School against challengers Christina Smith and Pete Spain. Overall, including the Aquaculture precinct, Burns trails Spain by 11 votes, according to unofficial returns. A recount will follow. Smith and Spain, newcomers to elected politics, aggressively and successfully captured the anti-establishment spirit in the neighborhood. The working class, lower end of the district Aquaculture that takes in the P.T. Barnum housing project and portion of the West End is not as impacted by taxes. That’s where Burns made gains, but appears short.
131: Urban warrior Jorge Cruz ran alone against incumbents Jack Banta and Denese Taylor-Moye. It’s tough to break through without a running partner working votes.
132: This district became ground zero for insurgent activism led by young guns Marcus Brown and Kyle Langan taking on party endorsed incumbent Evette Brantley and Rolanda Smith. Brown and Langan, backed by West Side operatives opposed to Brantley, ran up a large number in the Madison School precinct home to the higher-taxed Brooklawn neighborhood on the West Side. Voters have been asking for new blood and now they have it.
133: This has been the land of Tom McCarthy for a decade. Endorsed Dems Jeanette Herron and newcomer Michael DeFilippo, who has tended bar at Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa’s restaurant, faced a challenge from veteran pol Keeley and zoning commissioner Anne Pappas Phllips in her first candidacy outside of a Democratic Town Committee run. Keeley pushed anti establishment, but that’s a hard message to stick when you’ve been part of the establishment for decades. DeFilippo finished first, according to unofficial returns. A recount and/or runoff between Keeley and Herron will settle the matter.
135: Incumbents Mary McBride-Lee and Richard Salter, following a falling-out with District Leader Steve Nelson, waged a primary against party endorsed Rosalina Roman-Christy and Darrett Evans Moss. Call this one a split decision. McBride-Lee and Roman-Christy have won, according to unofficial returns. And that’s part of the fascination of these contests: you can run as a team but some mischievous voters revel in splitting.
136th: Incumbent Joe Casco had to go it alone against incumbent Alfredo Castillo and Maria Zambrano-Viggiano. State Rep. Chris Rosario has emerged as the leader of this circuitous district that includes the East Side and cuts across the city to take in the Hollow and lower North End.
137th: Four years ago the city’s queen of absentee ballots City Clerk Lydia Martinez and Milta Feliciano fended off Maria Valle and Aidee Nieves in a council primary. Valle and Nieves won on the machines but Martinez’s vaulted absentee ballot operation carried the day. My how the worm turned in that district. This time around Martinez supported Valle and Nieves, both of whom won on the machines against Feliciano and Hector Diaz, but blew out a convincing win via absentee voters.
138th. In what could be another split decision, incumbents Anthony Paoletto and Nessah Smith battled challengers Karen Jackson and Samia Suliman. This was a tale of two precincts, Jackson and Suliman performing well at JFK and Paoletto and Smith winning Hooker. The unofficial totals Jackson 218, Smith 215, Suliman 203, Paoletto 202. Recount will follow.
139th. Last week at the Bridgeport Generation Now candidate forum at the Bijou Theater, incumbent Jim Holloway took the stage, greeted the audience and then remarked he had a close race, walked off the stage and out the door to campaign. Voters in the East End showed him the door after a mighty 26 years of district representation. Holloway and the other district incumbent Eneida Martinez were endorsed. Ernie Newton and Wanda Simmons challenged them on separate lines respectively. Newton showed he still has support in the Dunbar School precinct while Simmons, backed by a Connecticut Working Families Party effort, ran well in Harding. Martinez leads with 231 votes, followed by Newton 216, Simmons 209, Holloway 176. If Newton prevails in the recount his work is not done. Simmons will appear on the WFP line in November when a pool of unaffiliated voters can participate.