East End Political Yeast Rises –Will Andre Baker Challenge Newton?

Andre Baker
Andre Baker

Update: Baker decides against run. Board of Education member Andre Baker is considering a challenge of Ernie Newton for the Democratic nomination for Connecticut’s 124th State House seat that Newton once occupied. Newton is expected to receive the party endorsement tonight at Testo’s Restaurant. If Baker runs, it adds a pearly twist to city politics featuring two pols with East End political bases. While Newton and Baker aren’t best of buds, they’ve gotten along for the most part throughout the years. A few weeks ago Baker told OIB he’ll not be a candidate against Newton saying he’s enjoying his time on the school board. So what gives?

“The people want me to run,” says Baker.

“We’ll let the people decide,” says Newton.

City fire commission William Marshall was rumored to be a candidate against Newton. Baker says if Marshall does not run, he will run against Newton. Baker says the district needs new blood. Don Clemons who replaced Newton in the State House seat when Newton was elected to the State Senate 10 years ago, is retiring.

Political factions opposed to Newton returning to the state legislature have been leaning on Baker to run. If he gets in, Baker will try to qualify for a public grant under the state’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded races. Newton is barred from the voluntary program after the legislature passed a state law last year prohibiting Newton’s participation following his arrest on state charges accusing him of falsifying $500 in campaign contributions to trigger a public grant for his State Senate run two years ago. Newton denies the charges and is awaiting a court date.

While Newton is barred from public financing, he can raise funds outside of the program.

One last political convention will take place tonight at Testo’s Restaurant when candidates for State House, judge of probate and registrar will be endorsed. The top billing for State House, in addition to the Newton race, is the expected endorsement of the city’s anti-blight czar Chris Rosario for the seat occupied by Christina Ayala. Will she primary? Will Dennis Bradley, who’s also in the race?

Judge of Probate Paul Ganim and Democratic Registrar Sandi Ayala, occupants of citywide positions, are expected to be endorsed without primary opposition.

Other State House members Auden Grogins, Jack Hennessy, Ezequiel Santiago and Charlie Stallworth are also expected to receive endorsements without primary opposition.



  1. Andre Baker really ought to take a reality check if he is taking orders from Finch. This is the same machine he once fought against and now he is working hand-in-foot with Finch. And they are continuing to endorse Sandy Ayala who made a laughingstock of Bridgeport with the ballot fiasco.
    This district needs someone else to step up to the plate and run. Bridgeport can do better. Maybe it is time for CT to get rid of the convention system and go to mandatory primaries for both major parties.

    1. Bridgeporteur, Andre didn’t take a “stand” on any issue. He did what Finch told him to do and that is why he pushed through a vote on building a new Harding High School on the largest brownfield in CT. He did so without seeing or reviewing the site plan he voted to approve and he never read one page of the remediation report before he voted to approve the contaminated site. He voted against allocating $5,000 to do the legal research required in order to consider filing a lawsuit to block the two new charter schools, he voted to accept Mayor Finch’s proposal to underfund the Bridgeport Public Schools in violation of state law and he voted against censuring Ken Moales after he called Sauda a liar and stormed out of a BBOE meeting. That is not “one” issue. He reeks of Finch and has become what he has claimed to be against, a machine puppet.

      Andy, the only reason Andre is running is because Mayor Finch asked him to run. The only reason they asked him to run is to block Ernie Newton, not because they think Andre is articulate or intelligent, but because he will do their bidding. Finch and his henchmen are going to use him and spit him out. Finch, Wood, Nunn, Felipe and Anastasi are laughing at him every chance they get. Andre betrayed the people who helped him get elected. The majority of the people who helped him win will do nothing to help him in this upcoming election.

      I would love to be a fly on the wall tonight because those who vote for Andre tonight will all be Finch loyalists like Martha Santiago, Debbie Simms, Lydia Martinez, etc.

      1. David, when you go to the polls on election day and vote for the number of candidates who impress you and are available on the ballot, would you call that group of candidates you select “a stand?”
        To my mind every time a candidate votes yea, nay or abstains, someone is going to call attention to that position and interpret it as in support of or against something.

        You go on to indicate numerous votes Andre has taken and you deny these as “stands” or you trip on this issue and claim they are all pro-Finch. Have you watched Andre Baker chair the BOE Finance sessions? Do you get the sense he has done his homework before such meetings so he understands the material? I have and I do. Andre was willing to be curious while on the Council and many of his questions and some of his votes expressed his independence while on that body.

        It seems to me his trying to find a pragmatic road that will lead to increasing success for Bridgeport students and not get stuck in the muck of politics better describes his path. He is a business person and has a family. He works at representing constituents. Juggling those serious responsibilities takes considerable time and he has invested such time more than others I have observed.
        If you are using an old scorecard of Bridgeport City teammates, you may need to look again. See what he chooses to address and where he looks for additional research (and where he can receive answers never available while he was on the Council). Curiosity is appropriate as is learning on the BOE. What more will you look for? Time will tell.

  2. It didn’t take long for Andre to switch sides. And I’m not sure what they do in Norwalk. But someone’s got to call a Spoiler Alert! on Baker, now that he’s a new member of team Finch!
    We just assumed Baker was on the people’s side.
    Finch and Malloy will do anything to keep Newton off the ticket. Who knows, maybe I’ll start a Republicans for Newton PAC.

  3. Is Andre Baker really pro-Finch now? Just because he took a stand on one issue?
    Rosario is in with the machine and they are very ineffective with blight but have made a lucrative industry out of it, these megalomaniacs. “Blight Czar,” Absentee ballot queens. Only in Bridgeport.

  4. I must have missed something on Baker. Are you saying because he voted to approve the site plan for the new Harding he has become a Finch toady? That’s bullshit. Andre is his own person. So let me get this straight Mr. Moore, anyone who votes different from what you want is a Finch toady. Is that right? BTW isn’t there going to be a primary between Newton and Baker?

  5. David Moore, Andre Baker is his own man and in no way is he is taking orders from Finch. What is it David, that makes you say Baker is taking orders from Finch?

    It is just when will Andre Baker run for higher “offices,” not if.

  6. I agree, Mr. Baker voted the right way and now because he didn’t fall in step with the way some would have liked him to, he shouldn’t run for State Rep? He’s a smart, respectable businessman who thinks for himself. Seems as if Mr. Moore and Mr. Fox prefer to recycle Ernie Newton because Andre didn’t do what was supposedly expected of him. He’d be a fine addition to the Hartford delegation and would do right by Bridgeport. I wish him the best.

  7. Why would anyone draw the conclusion Finch and Baker are in cahoots from this posting? What a leap!

    Reading between the lines and filling in perceived “blanks” with subjective conclusions are two completely different things. It’s intuition vs. spinning yarns.

    1. Perhaps the parties who are posting these comments prefer to see Ernie Newton elected to that office, and they think discrediting Andre Baker is the way to go about it. It’s really a shame if someone dares to do other than what is expected of them, they become a target and get unmercifully bashed on this blog.

      1. I would not be happy to see either one get elected. Guess what Godiva, that is part of being an elected official. You are going to be judged on what you do, good or bad. As Harry Truman said, “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen!”

  8. Andre Baker is a gentleman with a good record of doing what he feels is right.
    Just because he voted against the Lopez/Pereira party and with what Finch happened to want doesn’t mean he is in cahoots with anyone but what he feels is right.

  9. Really, people. Read what you are writing. Baker announced he is running for state rep and immediately some of the anti-Finch folk are saying he is Finch’s lapdog. Do you really think Finch wants Andre running against Ernie? Please explain why.
    I will tell you why I don’t buy that. Having a state rep primary in the East End makes Scott Hughes a much more viable candidate. Crank up the African American vote and more votes flow to Scott. This makes Andres Ayala very vulnerable. If Andre loses and Scott and Marilyn win, Finch has no credibility in the minority communities. He is a nonentity. If Finch is all about Finch, why would he risk that house of cards collapsing just to beat back Ernie? No way. No how.

  10. Bob, why do you feel I need to apologize? Both articles posted on OIB confirm Andre Baker had every intention of running. Given how Ernie continues to be an embarrassment, why would they want him to run? If Baker were such a great candidate why would he pull out when Marshall decided to run? And Finch’s worst nightmare could happen if Scott and Marilyn win their primaries which I hope will happen. Both of them will make great Senators and will not be taking orders from Mario or Finch.


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