Next month Democratic Town Committee members from 10 City Council districts will endorse candidates for the city’s legislative body. Bridgeport has 10 council districts with two representatives in each. All 20 members are Democrats. It’s been quiet out there so far about potential September challenges. You hearing anything? One district we can count for sure for a good fight is in the East Side 137th District where Lydia Martinez, the city’s queen of absentee ballots, and Manny Ayala, hold court.
Look for a battle from town committee members Maria Valle, a former council member, and Aidee Nieves. Valle and Nieves last year were part of a slate with political veterans Tito Ayala, Gil Hernandez and Juan Hernandez that wrested control of the district from Martinez. They control a slim 5-4 split. Who will emerge as the endorsed candidates? Either way, expect a September primary. These factions have been going at it for years, swinging back and forth for district control and council control.
Lydia is sure to fire up her magical absentee ballot operation. Lydia knows her peeps and takes care of them as co-chair of the council committee that parcels out development fund goodies to the various city districts. The opposition knows they must win on the machines–as they did last year winning district control–to take out Lydia who’s been fined twice by the state in recent years for campaign irregularities.
In addition to council seats, five Board of Education seats are on the line currently occupied by Working Families Party members Maria Pereira and Sauda Baraka and Democrats Tom Mulligan, Leticia Colon and Bobby Simmons who generally votes in a bloc with the WFP. Dems control a 5-4 margin. Simmons, if he seeks reelection, is not likely to be endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee because of his alliance with the WFP.
The city’s beleaguered Republican Party will try to win back the two minority-party representation slots it lost to the WFP four years ago in the general election.
The school board seats figure to be highly competitive races with an infusion of campaign cash from a variety of political groups and education advocates.