Aided by support of Mayor Bill Finch, Rev. Charlie Stallworth of East End Baptist Church, a member of the city’s police commission, won the Democratic Town Committee endorsement today for the Feb. 22 special election to fill the state rep seat vacated by Chris Caruso.
Chanel Cathey, a 24-year-old graduate student at New York University, promoted by City Councilman Warren Blunt, appeared to have the support lead on Friday until the mayor weighed in on behalf of Stallworth. Stallworth is a member of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, a group of clergy that wields votes in the city. The mayor wants to keep them happy in an election year.
Judging by the potential opposition, the endorsement sets the stage for a free-for-all special election.
Other possible candidates include former State Rep. Bob Keeley, Shante Hanks, an aide to Congressman Jim Himes, City Councilman Carlos Silva, Joe Giaquinto, a retired Bridgeport educator, Mark Trojanowski, a Democratic town committee member from the East Side and former City Councilman Keith Cougar Rodgerson. City Republicans have tapped James Keyser to run.
Keeley, Silva, Keyser for sure will run. Cathey will run as well, but she’s up against a tight timeframe to secure signatures to qualify for the ballot. The deadline to submit more than 40 petition signatures is Tuesday afternoon. That means she must access paperwork from the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s Office (Monday is a holiday), gather signatures from registered voters in Connecticut’s 126th State Assembly District and return the paperwork to either to the state or city’s Town Clerk’s Office before the Tuesday deadline. Keeley and Silva already have the paperwork. Paperwork can also be accessed via the Secretary of the State’s website.
If Cathey qualifies she’ll have support from State Senator Ed Gomes, a popular figure in the district, as well as former State Senate candidate Marilyn Moore, a strong campaign operative. The Finch forces must now deliver for Rev. Stallworth. But Keeley knows the district well from his years serving as a state rep. Silva, who brings his council district base of support, ran a primary against Caruso in 2008. Will Caruso weigh in on behalf of Cathey? He is close to Gomes and Moore.
And what about former State Senator Ernie Newton? He says he’ll be meeting with Stallworth within the next couple of days.