West Side City Councilman Bob Halstead has jumped into the February 24 special election for State House joining a growing field of candidates including Republican City Councilman Enrique Torres, former City Councilman Steve Stafstrom, former State House members Bob Keeley and Hector Diaz and newcomer Toshirea Jackson.
“These opportunities don’t come along too often,” Halstead says. Is he concerned with so many Democrats in the field splitting up a vote, it will hand Torres a win?
“I’ve made my decision. I want to make it clear it’s not my intention to be a spoiler.”
Halstead represents the 132nd City Council District that includes the West Side. Stafstrom and Torres both share Black Rock and West End voter bases. Keeley’s strength, presuming he stays in the race, is also the West Side and lower North End. So there is the potential for a Democratic split on the West Side providing a toehold for Torres running competitively there, particularly the Central precinct serving the Brooklawn area with enough Republicans and like-minded unaffiliated voters there to make a difference.
But these special elections are really about identifying your friends and dragging them out on a winter’s day and night. The campaign operation that does that the best will win.
Torres received the Republican endorsement Monday night at his Harborview Market in Black Rock. Stafstrom is expected to win the Democratic endorsement Thursday night at Testo’s Restaurant.
The special election will fill the seat vacated by Auden Grogins who’s been nominated to the state bench.
Statement from Torres:
“I am extremely delighted with the support I have received and I am humbled by the prospect of representing the great people of the 129th District as their State Representative. My campaign is going to be one of ideas; goals for the future of our community and the State of Connecticut. As a lifelong resident of Bridgeport and an owner of a small business in the City, I believe the revitalization of the City and State begins at the community level. People thrive when they have the means and the ability to provide for themselves and their family. Bridgeport residents must no longer bear the brunt of the nation’s highest tax burden.
“Senior citizens are having a tough time remaining in the community they helped build. We need to eliminate Connecticut’s income tax on Social Security and pensions allowing seniors to continue living in their own homes. Furthermore, we need to eliminate the property tax on cars that so unfairly impacts Bridgeport residents.
“In regards to the current underfunding of the ECS (Education Cost Sharing) grant provided by the State of Connecticut, we need state officials to honor their commitment to providing resources to the Bridgeport school system so all children can receive the education they deserve. Lastly, we need to eliminate conflicts of interest in State and Local government which results in fraud and abuse.
“I will be working around the clock from today until Election Day on February 24th to share with you my vision for the City of Bridgeport and the State of Connecticut.”