City Councilwoman Lydia Martinez lost more than just control of her district on Tuesday, if a recount scheduled for Monday upholds the 5-4 town committee district win led by three former City Council members against Martinez. The city’s queen of absentee ballots managed to keep her seat but she was hoping for a clean sweep nine-to-zip win of the East Side as a foundation to swipe the DTC endorsement from Democratic Registrar Santa Ayala in May. Why would Lydia who’s been fined twice in two years by the State Elections Enforcement Commission want to be the city’s chief elections official? OIB, right?
The nine-member challenge slate led by former council members Tito Ayala, Gil Hernandez and Maria Valle manged to win on the machines at both East Side precincts. Lydia survived on her unique absentee ballot operation, but it was not as mighty as we’ve seen from her in the past. Does she think someone’s watching? It proved once again that Lydia’s following is generally based on absentee ballots and not electors that want to leave their homes to vote for her.
Lydia has been working DTC members for an endorsement for the position Santa Ayala has had for eight years. Does Lydia have a strong-enough citywide field operation to secure more than 2,000 certified petition signatures required to challenge Ayala in a primary? Lydia has amigos in the 131st District such as Americo Santiago whose absentee ballot operation on behalf of his slate did Lydia proud.
Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, barring a last-minute challenge, will likely receive another two-year term as party chair by acclamation next week. Then the 90-member DTC will look toward May endorsements of candidates for the state legislature and delegate selection to endorse candidates for federal offices.
The unofficial win by the East Side town committee district slate also sets in motion candidates for State Senate seeking their support. State Senator Ed Gomes who has not formed a reelection committee says he will make a announcement about seeking another term after the legislative session ends in May. Hartford pols say Gomes has told them he’s probably running, but at 76 years old and a state pension available to him what will Ed do? Former State Senator Ernie Newton is already an announced candidate seeking to reclaim his old seat.
State Rep. Andres Ayala has formed an exploratory committee as he weighs a potential State Senate run. So a Gomes, Newton, Ayala primary is possible. Andres is the nephew of Tito Ayala. Andres, says Tito, sat out this latest district primary. Andres is developing a reputation as a political sandman. He often prefers ducking than supporting a candidate, something not lost on his uncle. But Tito says, when it comes to him at least, blood is thicker than water and he’d lean toward supporting his nephew if he runs for State Senate.
It’s a courtesy, says Tito, his nephew did not accord him.