East Side Insurgents Claim District Victory–Recount Required

The battle for control of Democratic Town Committee seats on the East Side’s 137th District turned out to be just that with a challenge slate led by former City Council members Tito Ayala, Gilberto Hernandez and Maria Valle claiming unofficially five of the nine seats, winning the machine counts in both precincts and surviving the absentee ballot operation of opponent City Councilwoman Lydia Martinez who managed to maintain her district seat. The results are so close that a recount will take place Monday morning when all required candidates are available.

In the 131st District the veteran slate led by District Leader Mitch Robles and former State Rep. Americo Santiago won all nine seats. The machine totals particularly at the City Hall precinct were competitive, but the challenge slate was croaked by Robles’ and Santiago’s absentee ballet operation in the South End. Robles and Santiago ran ahead of the opposition slate by roughly 100 absentee ballots. More absentee ballots were cast in this district primary than in the Democratic mayoral primary last September.

The unofficial winners in the 137th District, according to the Democratic Registrar’s Office:

Maria Valle, Lydia Martinez, Gilberto Hernandez, Aidee Nieves, Tito Ayala, Maria Andino, Maria Rivera, Juan Hernandez and Vidal Agosto.

Valle, Giberto Hernandez, Nieves, Ayala and Juan Hernandez ran on the same slate. All of the challenge slate’s nine candidates won the machine totals at both Marin School and Bridge Academy. Lydia Martinez, though it was enough to keep her seat, reeled in her absentee ballot operation in this primary perhaps conscious of the $500 fine she received a few months ago from the State Elections Enforcement Commission for absentee ballot manipulation.

The 131st slate winners: Jack Banta, Paul Boucher, Leticia Colon, Jose Negron, Mitch Robles, Americo Santiago, Milagrosa Seguinot, Dense Taylor-Moye, Ashley Wacker. Colon and Taylor-Moye are members of the City Council.

Former City Councilman Ralph Mojica was the leading vote getter among the opposition slate that included mostly newcomers to city politics that ran on a platform of not accepting paid city positions. They received a lesson in how veteran politicians can run up a win canvassing the district for friendly voters and absentee ballot opportunities. Both Robles and Santiago have manipulated the district for years. Their slate averaged about 120 absentee ballots to the 25 by the opposition slate.

Democratic Town Committee members endorse candidates for office and elect a chairman. Mario Testa is expected to be voted in for another two-year term as chairman next week.



  1. *** 131st ABs in general will be checked by the challenge slate then refered to SEEC for inspection if needed. *** In reviewing the uphill battle against the existing slate, the shake-up was well worth it and we can only hope more districts will prepare and follow suit next time around in 2014. More political interest and hands-on activity by city residents must take place if Bpt is to remove the city’s DTC off “autopilot” and back to transparent “hands-on” representation of all city taxpayers! Thanks to all the 131st district residents who voted, our volunteer workers, my challenge slate team members, Nancy and Caroline and everyone else who was supporting us in general. Upcoming elections for BOE and state legislators who will represent Bpt in 2012 are right around the corner. So it’s time to rally and support some “new good city cadnidates” to continue the political battle to take back our city, one district at a time, no? *** Thanks OIB, Ct Post, Bpt TV-88, Public Service Radio, etc. ***

  2. To the members of the challenge slate in the 137th district, congratulations.
    To the challenge slate in the 131st, don’t give up. You put up a good fight, you learned a lot of things and can beat this slate in 2 years.
    If I had one wish it would be that the secretary of state investigate all of these absentee ballots. I would bet my house most who filed absentee ballots did not meet the requirements to have an absentee ballot.
    Losing in the 131st hurt all of Bridgeport. Those two blood suckers Santiago and Robles will again hurt the city.

  3. It should be presumed, at this point, Lydia is “perhaps conscious” of nothing. She is conscious.

    The town committee seat is most important to endorse a candidate for mayor. That won’t occur again until after another committee primary in 2014. She and her buddies could afford to lose this one, especially since alliances in this neighborhood are as stable as quicksand.

    The vote for endorsement for mayor is worth money.

    The committee primaries for the next run-up for mayor are the ones worth watching if professionals make a move for control of the party ahead of time.

  4. Actually Jim, Lydia couldn’t afford to lose this with her intent to want to be Registrar of Voters … And it has been once again proven, when she doesn’t manipulate voters with her AB ops, she loses a lot of votes …

  5. The following conversation occurred at 410 State Street, Bridgeport Conn., about 29 years ago:

    Wise Editor: “So is XXX running for mayor?”

    Young Reporter: “He can’t run for mayor, he’s crazy!”

    Editor: “Jim, sanity is not a qualification for public office.”


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