Homestretch To Primary Tuesday, $400K In Public Funds For City Races

Two weeks until the August 12 Tsunami Tuesday with loads of primary action out there involving Democrats locally and Republicans statewide. This is one of those cycles with implications that could extend into next year’s mayoral election.

Statewide, State Senator John McKinney’s trying to pick up steam in the closing weeks against Republican-endorsed Tom Foley who’s hoping for a gubernatorial rematch with Dan Malloy following his razor-thin victory in 2010 after Barack Obama packed the Webster Bank Arena three days before the general election that set off a ballot-shortage frenzy in the state’s largest city. The president’s polling numbers, however, are hurting even in sure-blue Connecticut. Will Malloy and Congressman Jim Himes who benefited from the visit four years ago want him back? Bridgeport resident David Walker, a former U.S. comptroller general, is running for lieutenant governor against two other Republican opponents.

The state’s largest city will feature two high-profile primaries for State Senate and State House respectively, with more than $400,000 in public campaign funds for the spending. Hey, it’s good for the local economy, right?

Political activist and healthcare professional Marilyn Moore is challenging three-term Democratic State Senator Anthony Musto in the city-suburban district that covers Trumbull and parts of Bridgeport and Monroe. This is the seat Bill Finch occupied prior to his election as mayor in 2007. The Bridgeport portion covers the North End, West Side and Black Rock, the higher-turnout areas of the city. If you’re placing bets put your money on Moore to win Bridgeport and Musto to win his suburban base. How well each performs in the other’s base will decide this. The good news for Musto? He has a record to run on. The bad news for Musto? He has a record to run on. Can Moore exploit his record to her advantage? Musto has the support of the city’s political establishment, Moore the backing of reformers opposed to the direction of the city.

City Librarian Scott Hughes hopes to turn the page on freshman State Senator Andres Ayala. Connecticut’s 23rd Senate District encompasses roughly two-thirds of Bridgeport and a portion of western Stratford. Ayala, former City Council president and State House member, knows how to work absentee ballots among his Latino voter base as evidenced by absentee ballot requests flooding the Town Clerk’s Office. There’s been little direct public engagement between the two campaign camps, opting to make their case in mail pieces, door knocks and phone calls that generally decide primaries. For Hughes to win this primary he must perform well on the machines to offset Ayala’s absentee ballot advantage.

Andres Ayala’s cousin State Rep. Christina Ayala is trying to piggyback on his absentee ballot operation to fend off three opponents, party-endorsed Chris Rosario, Fire Commissioner Dennis Bradley and Teresa Davidson in Connecticut’s 128th State House District. The Ayala political family can often be coy about familial support. “Our family is our family and the people will decide.” That means even when they don’t get along (and sometimes they don’t), it still provides wiggle room to access respective support, thus Christina knocking on the doors of absentee ballot folks toiled by her cousin. Rosario, the city’s blight chief, enjoys the support of Mayor Bill Finch’s political operation. They, too, know how to scour votes in the lowest-performing voting area of the city covering the East Side and Hollow neighborhoods. Bradley is trying to pick off votes of anti-establishment electors. Can the fire commissioner powerwash the city establishment?

Rarely in city politics do complete opposites square off like in Connecticut’s 124th State House District. Incumbent Don Clemons backed away from reelection when former legislator Ernie Newton decided to seek his former State House seat. Newton won the endorsement, but then elements of the party opposed to Newton prevailed upon Board of Education member Andre Baker, including supporters of Finch, to take on Newton in a primary. Newton, the self-proclaimed Moses of his peeps, seeks a comeback following his incarceration on federal corruption charges nearly 10 years ago. Newton is a media lightning rod with deep roots in the city’s East End. Baker is a low-key owner of an East End funeral home. Newton and Baker had worked together on common candidates they supported, but now they are going toe to toe. Baker has a spending advantage with more than $30,000 courtesy of the state’s Citizens Election Program that bars Newton from participation. Newton, who’s raising money outside the program, says he doesn’t need as much with his following.

What does all this mean for next year’s mayoral race? Moore, Hughes, Christina Ayala, Dennis Bradley and Newton are not exactly members of the Finch fan club. Win or lose, will they galvanize against the mayor? Depends on the opposition against a well-financed incumbent.



  1. I voted for Malloy in 2010, sure will not this time around. I’m undecided whether to vote for Himes again. I am a registered Democrat but will vote Republican for the most part come Nov. As far as the primary is concerned, I will be voting for Moore. Hope we can get Republican primary numbers by precinct in Bpt, it’s always Democrat numbers reported here.

  2. Hold your horses, Lennie. The primary is just one small part of the 2015 mayoral puzzle. What about November? What happens if Malloy gets the boot? What will Chris Caruso do? Fabrizi, Foster, Caruso, Daniels, Joe Ganim vs Finch? The winner to take on Torres.

    1. My guess is Finch gets the name changed to Obama High and has the dedication right before the mayoral election, with Obama making an appearance and of course an endorsement of Finch. It could happen. Harding was the first president who advocated in a Birmingham AL speech promoting the belief and importance of the black vote in America.

        1. Jen, my bad! I forgot, you and Mr. Walker come from an atmosphere where intellectuals engage in pursuits that are disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life and willful disconnect from the everyday world; esoteric, over-specialized, or even useless research, and academic elitism. So was this what they taught you at Cornell?
          GO Big Red!

          1. And I worked my way through high school and college hoeing corn and cleaning toilets. If that is esoteric and away from the practical concerns of everyday life, I would hate to know what you studied.

          2. Jen, it’s nice you’re not hoeing anymore.
            But if you’re still doing toilets, give me a call!

  3. Hey Maria P,
    Spent some time yesterday on www reading about his education agenda ou claimed is far superior to Dan Malloy’s. Only problem is I couldn’t find anything. Not a word. Nothing about pro-charter, anti-charter, nothing. I went through nearly all of his press releases. Again, nada. Zip. Minimum wage? He says that’s a national issue, not state. Living wage for state contractors? Zilch.
    And as Lennie posted in the AP piece, a week before the primary he is still working on putting together his urban agenda. For someone so concerned about the cities it’s kind of late to be still formulating this, isn’t it?
    So please provide us with some links to your hidden agenda so we can all read about his stand on education, cities and whatever issues are near and dear to the WFP and your unwavering stance on issues near and dear to you.

    1. Bob, please cut and paste my comments where I stated Foley’s education agenda is “far superior” to Malloy’s. I never stated that, not once. Are you somehow related to Jennifer Buchanan? You certainly show similarities. I believe I specifically stated I would be voting for Pelto, should he qualify. I also never stated the minimum wage or living wage were of paramount importance to me.
      Why are you so concerned about whom I choose or do not choose to support? You seem preoccupied with it. May I suggest you focus on those candidates you are supporting in the primary. After all, the primary is just two weeks away.

  4. Benghazi, the IRS, the VA, Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Ukraine, pulling out of Iraq too soon, and of course Obamacare. Fits right in with Bridgeport politics, doesn’t it?

    1. The Phantom, I really hope the Republicans run on all those issues in 2016 and lose again. Perhaps you can inform us what the House Republicans have passed in the past six years they have held the House? Oh yes, IRS, the VA, Fast and Furious, Solyndra and of course the appeal of Obamacare, what happened to those issues?

    1. The Phantom, and from Bill Clinton to “W” Bush and two wars that were never paid for, WMDs have never been found, the fallen economy, housing market, stock market, the lost of billions of dollars.

  5. Ron,
    When you mentioned “two wars that were never paid for” I caught your primary meaning, that is, the loss of billions of dollars that were put on the cuff as emergency appropriations and are part of our debt today.

    But there is another meaning hidden there. When power that is in control today looked to take away our voting rights for BOE representatives, I raised, as others did also, the idea US women and men had served in our Armed Forces and died in pursuit of our cherished freedoms. One of these is the absolute right to vote for representation. In Bridgeport, where we as a group of registered voters do not exercise that right to vote, we are not paying for the absolute sacrifice our people in uniform have provided to us. What will we do about that debt? Time will tell.

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