Mario, Wear A Cup: The Dynamics Of A Convention

Yes, let the games begin. Democratic Party Chairman Mario Testa will have his hands full tonight trying to sort out, fend off and chill out the children of his party casting endorsement votes on behalf of city candidates seeking state legislative seats.

The one race that may yet prove most operatic in the Democratic songbook is City Councilman Carlos Silva’s challenge of State Rep. Chris Caruso. Caruso has a long history of telling party leaders to go punt and, like so many candidates these days, doesn’t need the party endorsement to win a primary. He is arguably the most popular politician in the city within his respective legislative district. And, no, he has not been damaged in his legislative district by his futile effort to overturn his 270-vote primary loss to Bill Finch last September.

But there seems to be a sense that Caruso’s doing a little more reaching out than his history shows, sorta like, okay, if you give me the endorsement I’ll take it. He’s even making calls to district leaders about it. But it may be a little late. Silva has lined up a bunch of commitments that has put him at or over the party endorsement threshold.

Testa has a long history of butting heads with Caruso, but I’m sensing the town chairman isn’t eager to fight with Caruso. He seems more interested in raising money and mending party splits than throwing himself into ugly primaries. That does not mean that Mario’s going to break bones to avoid primaries. Not worth it when the goal is to restore some party peace, never easy in Bridgeport. Still, Democratic operatives such as Lisa Honey Parziale, the former City Council President, that helped return Testa to power, are leaning on the town chairman to deliver the endorsement to Caruso. Parziale supported Caruso for mayor. Honey, when the doors are shut and windows closed, is not the subtlest politician in the city. “Listen, honey,” she’ll say in so many words, “I’ll hook up jumper cables to your balls if you don’t make this happen!”

Ouch. I wonder if Mario will wear a cup tonight.

The recap of other endorsement votes scheduled tonight include Auden Grogins versus State Rep. Bob Keeley, Lydia Martinez versus State Rep. Andres Ayala and that wildly competitive field to fill the seat being vacated by State Rep. Felipe Reinoso. South End District Leader Mitch “The Switch” Robles has lined up the votes for City Councilman Eze Santiago. But, hold on a minute, say Chico Rivera, Sly Salcedo and Keith Cougar Rodgerson. We’re going to primary. And then there’s Hector Diaz. Will Hector jump in to reclaim his old seat?

And speaking of Hector, Black Rock District Leader Danny Roach is looking for you!

Musto Endorsed

Trumbull Town Treasurer Anthony Musto received unanimous delegate support Monday night in winning the Democratic Party endorsement for state senate. Marilyn Moore, a former legislative assistant to Bridgeport State Sen. Ed Gomes, says she will hustle the 1,000 or so signatures from registered Democrats in the district required to get her name on the ballot for an Aug. 12 primary. The 22nd senate district occupied by Republican Rob Russo covers Trumbull and parts of Bridgeport and Monroe.

See excerpt of Musto convention speech below:

Now, I know this is the first step in a job interview. I am asking you to let me be your voice in the state senate. So I need to tell you why I am qualified for the job. On the land acquisition committee I worked to preserving open space and community character. On the capital improvements committee I worked with bankers to determine the financial and tax effects of bonding scenarios. On the pension board I evaluating investments and sought solutions for funding problems. I have served briefly on the council and currently my second term a Treasurer, managing the town’s money to maximize income, lower taxes and reduce costs.

But while these positions may sound important, they don’t tell you why I am running.

I’m running because people…have families to support. Bills to pay. We all worry about our finances and our children’s futures. We all want safe neighborhoods, clean water, and a strong economy. We all talk to our friends and neighbors about affordable health insurance, lower taxes and good schools. And I am running for this office because I want these things too, for myself, my district and my state.

We all have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or even just neighbors who we love and who we want to have the best possible education. I know it’s difficult to come home after working all day and check homework, pack lunches, get the kids up and on the bus in the morning, but we do it because it is important. I’m one of the parents who are concerned about class sizes, extracurricular activities, safety, and discipline. My wife is a speech therapist at the middle school, she and other teachers all tell me that early education and disability intervention is the most important thing you can do to help children succeed, lower overall costs and reduce future problems. I know what people are talking about when they say they take time out of their schedule, because I flip pancakes, make pasta and set up for movie night to raise money for the school, and I can tell you one thing – the PTA should not have to hold a bake sale to buy books.

I know how important affordable healthcare and insurance is to people. All three of my children have been in the hospital for various reasons, and the bills would have forced us to borrow money from family or bankrupted us. Even the insurance is expensive, and when I lost my job and started my own business we had to make choices about what insurance to buy and how to pay for it. People avoiding doctors and filling our emergency rooms is not an answer – it just hurts the sick, raises taxpayer costs lowers societal health as a whole. With our parents and grandparents aging and prices of drugs and medical care rising we need to make sure that everyone has access to the kind of preventive and critical healthcare that should be available to the people of the richest state in the richest country in the world.

Now all this isn’t to say we can afford to have everything we want. I know what people mean when they say government should be run like a business, but Connecticut can’t just close up shop like Enron or sell off Fairfield County like GE is dropping its appliance division. The State has far more important obligations to its members than any business does. We protect each other, educate our young, support our elderly, and care for our sick and our poor. But we also watch our pennies. We all pay taxes, and none of us like it, and we all want to make sure that we are getting the most for our money. We all pay the rising costs of electricity, oil, gas, and insurance, and those whose income is fixed cannot always afford it. Our towns pay these things too, and we need to make sure that the state is going to do its part to take care of our family here in the 22nd district.



  1. Lennie I kind of sense that someone is trying to pass the blame or credit to Lisa Honey Parziale in the event that Chris Caruso receives the Democratic endorsement. Remember that it was Mario Testa/o who drop out as Town Chair and left the other Democrats to fend off the Caruso wave. Don’t forget (how can anyone?) how anti-Town Committee, Caruso campaign was. The T.C. is still pretty much made up of the same members who had to work hard to beat Chris Caruso. Mario knows that in the event that Chris runs for mayor again, a $600 tax break promise isn’t going to fly well with the voters. Also keep in mind that Caruso has other options like aligning himself with Stafstrom in the event that the party decides not to endorse Bill Finch or Caruso for mayor.
    How do the district leaders really feel about the secret (no longer) agreement between Mario (not Lisa) and Chris Caruso, after all their hard work, being labeled, “Corrupt” and being kept in the dark as to what is really going on?

  2. No deal with Mario and Chris. Not now,not ever. Caruso, for your information Joel, based his whole election platform on the promise to rid the city of Testo/a and his machinists. Nothing has changed.

    Lennie….his popularity has waned significantly to the point that many in his district think he has about as much chance at winning as that bullshitter Kieth Rodgerson.

  3. Yahooy Chris Caruso’s waned a bit after the elections, But thanks to Bill Finch’s great job the past 6 months, he is back on top. There are more people regretting having voting for Finch than those voting for Caruso. You are just as wrong as saying, “Joel lives in Devon.”

  4. Joel…

    Trust me. You’re a Devon type of guy. As a matter of fact when you lose the night watchman job at the zoo, you can be the night concierge at The Liberty Rock.

  5. I don’t think Mr. Mario Testa wants to lose a battle so early in his tenure. – It won’t look good!! Regardless of bad blood, Caruso is a shoo-in.

  6. Lennie and Joel are on the money. Caruso, with or without the party endorsement, easily defeats Silva or any other potential primary challenger. As Joel points out any damage Chris may have done to himself last fall has been more than made up for by Finch’s dismal performance. Witness the entusiastic cheers and applause Chris received during the budget hearings at City Hall. Yahooy, on this one you’ve got it wrong.

    And while I’m at it – Let me once again call on any Grogin’s supporters out there to give me some positive reasons to support her and dump Keeley. What does she bring to the table that will justify losing Keeley’s seniority, experience.
    Oh, and please don’t resort to just blasting Keeley. I want to hear something positive about Grogins. I ask and I ask and nobody ever answers. Could it be, there is nothing positive to say?

  7. Musto has gusto but can he deliver on anything in his speech?
    He wants better education, better preschool, smaller classes, better health care, cheaper health insurance but he doesn’t want us to have to pay for this? If he saw the options that the residents in Bridgeport have to choose from, he would see how much they pale in comparison.
    And although these issues may be important to voters in Bridgeport too, somehow I sense that his plan is to ignore Bridgeport and hope that he gets swept up by Obama’s presidential coattails.

  8. John from Black Rock,
    Did you ever see Keeley in a bathing suit? I can’t say what she looks like but it’s got to be better than Keeley!
    And did you ever have any of Bob Keeley’s home-cooking? Neither did I but from the line of pizza and Chinese delivery cars lined up in front of his house, she has got to be a better cook.
    So looks better in a bathing suit and is a better cook. What more do you want for qualifications? Experience? Connections? Knowledge? This is Bridgeport. Aim low and you won’t be disappointed. You have to remember she gave us the dog run ordinance and the aggressive pan-handling ordinance when she was on the council. Let’s take it statewide!

  9. John,

    Yes, Keeley has senority. But, what has he got to show for it? Not much. A LITTLE pork, but not much else. Can’t we do better?:

  10. I think that Carlos Silva is going to get about 45% of the vote. He has a strong team behind him. He has Ed Gomes, Rich Paoletto and Bob Curwen. That’s enough to make Caruso work because he is fat and he doesn’t like to walk.

  11. Trojan Horse; As of this morning Curwen and Paoletto are going to abstain from the vote tonight. Silva still has enough delegates to get the endorsement.

  12. That’s a major blow to Carlos. At least he still has Ed Gomes and the rest of the 135th.

    Carlos is going to blow Caruso out at Cross and Break even at best @ Park City due to Carlos’ courageous stand against the Finch Administration.


  13. Other than Grin Reaper’s “looks better in a bathing suit and is a better cook.” still nothing positive about Grogins.

    Former… asks, “Can’t we do better?” but cannot seem to tell me what personal qualities and political achievements would lead me, or anyone else, to conclude that Grogins would make a better state rep. than Keeley.

    Please, don’t tell me what’s wrong with Keeley. Tell me what’s right with Grogins.

  14. 126th District
    Republican Linda A. Grace 679
    Democratic Christopher L. Caruso 3,489
    Working Families Chris L. Caruso 208
    Plurality: 3,018

    Here are Chris Caruso’s numbers from 2 years ago in the General Election. And in that district I am sure more people know Linda Grace than Carlos Silva. Looks pretty grim to me.

  15. The only thing Auden knows how to make are reservations.

    I know pork isn’t Kosher but Keeley is a very nice Goy.

    Caruso is salivating over Silva like a bowl of rice pudding at the Triple Treat Luncheon at the Holiday Inn.

    The only thing Yahooy must have been banging is his head at the Liberty Rock this past weekend. Mr. Softee really has gone soft in the head with his analysis of Caruso.

    I’ve heard that Mario has some big Testacles and has alway been a big athletic supporter.

    Enjoy the show tonight everybody. Check in early and often to OIB for updates from the field.

  16. FORMER CITY OFFICIAL // May 20, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    John from Black Rock,

    She’s not Bob Keeley

    Hey Former, as one former city official to another – If this is the best you can come up with, I guess there really are no positive reasons to vote for Grogins. Consequently, I will be joining the vast vast majority of democrats in the district and re-electing Bob Keeley.

  17. You all may be right about Caruso gaining because Finch turned out to be the worst mayor this city has ever seen. Unfortunately, our next mayor will be whomever Mario Testa wants. But, do you really think he wants Caruso?

  18. Linda Grace didn’t have all of the Latinos behind her like Carlos. Tito Ayala and Santa Ayala are real strong in the 135th. They are going to bring big #’s for Carlos. Does anybody have Carlos’ #’s for his last election. Caruso must be real nervous for sure.

  19. Here is the list that Mario might put up against Finch….
    Tom McCarthy
    Paul Ganim
    Bob Curwen
    Carlos Silva
    Tito Ayala
    James Holloway
    Rich Paoletto

  20. Gossip Of The Rialto!

    Tonight’s Testo’s Special:

    Chopped Suey a la Keeley!

    A splendid array of political pork ‘n beans served with a bed of incumbency and featuring Egg Fool Young over the 3 layers of noodleheads of Auden, Bill and Danny. Keeley was accompanied in a duet with Mario playing “Chopsticks”. It was played to the old political beat of “Thai’ goes to the incumbent!

  21. Ok ok to all my friends and foes esp. WONDERING I was completely wrong about SILVA getting the nomination!!! As a sidebar I was right about all other nominations though!!! But I was def. sidelined about PAOLETTO and CURWEN switching esp. PAOLETTO because as LENNIE reported he wasn’t endorsing anyone!!! But I did hear there were reasons for PAOLETTO to go with SILVA that not a lot of people knew about!!! Maybe since WONDERING beat my ass silly with his predictions he’d know the real deal?!?!?! Imagine it; MITCH didn’t send anyone to the hospital and no one got hit too!!! Everyone actually acted in a civil matter and everyone noticed the MAYOR wasn’t anywhere in the building!!! Boy he just keeps screwing himself!!!

  22. John From Black Rock

    There may be a potential benefit to supporting Grogins over Keeley. In the event that you are to face a Judge named Grogins, you may want to be able to say, “I’m a Auden Grogins supporter.”


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