Hennessy, Brown Await Decision From Judge Stevens In State House Contest

Elections officials supervise recount in Morton Government Center.

Evidence has finally ended in the drawn-out court battle to decide the winner of the August 9 Democratic primary between incumbent State Rep. Jack Hennessy and City Councilman Marcus Brown who holds a two-vote lead.

Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens on Tuesday indicated he will issue a decision within 10 days after the legal parties file final briefs by Oct. 3.

That may not be the end of it.

No matter how Stevens rules it could end up before the Connecticut Supreme Court. In 2019 Stevens presided over the court challenge of Mayor Joe Ganim’s primary defeat of State Senator Marilyn Moore. The case dragged out so long that not until the day before the November general election did the Supremes allow the vote to advance.

Ultimately the Supremes ruled unanimously with Stevens who had validated Ganim’s win.

The Hennessy campaign’s central argument centers on irregularities involving the signing of absentee ballot applications, but not the actual voting ballots. Likely, the best legal outcome for the Hennessy camp is a new primary.

Should that occur voters in the predominately North End 127th State House District may need a sleigh ride from Santa to vote in person.

This court decision has the attention of Hartford’s legislative leadership that does not want the return of two members of the city’s legislative delegation, State Senator Dennis Bradley and Hennessy. Check off Bradley, under indictment for alleged malfeasance of Connecticut’s campaign finance laws, who lost an August primary to city faith leader Herron Gaston.

Connecticut Speaker of the House Matt Ritter has not spoken to Hennessy in more than two years. As a result, without the speaker’s support Hennessy hasn’t delivered the extra goodies to his district. Hennessy’s had to jump on the back of the rest of the delegation to show face.

Hennessy’s position on vaccines and his hard-line associations have ruptured his relationship with Ritter who sanctioned him on at least two occasions, stripping him of a deputy speaker position and a place on the Public Health Committee because Hennessy’s vaccine views breach Ritter’s public safety concerns, and that of a majority of the state legislature.

Legislative business is all about relationships. If they don’t jell you don’t smell well.

Think of it this way: You embarrass your boss publicly then ask for a raise. How’s that gonna work out? Same thing in politics. If you’re a legislator cutting against leadership you’d better have a lot juice to receive a pass.

Even if legal circumstances sway Hennessy’s way he’s a pariah in Hartford after serving up there for nearly 20 years. If not, a decent pension.


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