McCarthy Ponders Primary Challenge Of Moore, Bradley Considers Run Against Ed Gomes

Mario, McCarthy
Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa with Tom McCarthy.

If it happens, this one has the makings of a political battle royal. City Council President Tom McCarthy is considering a primary challenge of freshman State Senator Marilyn Moore who upset incumbent Anthony Musto in a 2014 Democratic primary. Musto is now the elected treasurer in the Town of Trumbull where McCarthy must do well in the city-suburban district that also includes a portion of Monroe. McCarthy says he’s receiving strong encouragement to challenge Moore, but has not made a final decision.

McCarthy supported Musto in 2014 when Moore ran up large pluralities in Bridgeport including McCarthy’s North End precincts where he has a solid constituency to offset Musto’s suburban performance.

Most of the city’s political establishment backed Musto. Moore ran as a party outsider, backed by reformers opposed to then-Mayor Bill Finch. She ran up heavy pluralities in African American precincts such as Wilbur Cross where she crushed Musto 333 to 40 on her way to a general election victory.

Moore, Gomes
State Senators Marilyn Moore and Ed Gomes, right.

Connecticut’s 22nd State Senate District covers all of Trumbull, the north and western portions of Bridgeport and about one-third of Monroe.

McCarthy enjoys a strong relationship with Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa who will help craft the city delegates for the endorsement session that will be scheduled in May for an August primary. McCarthy must also schmooze Trumbull pols for organizational support. Trumbull Democratic Town Chair Tom Kelly says McCarthy has not approached him about a potential state senate run. Challengers to the endorsed candidate can wage a primary by securing 15 percent of support at the convention or in lieu of that petitioning onto the ballot.

Moore will certainly accentuate the power of incumbency in her reelection that includes voting to cut automobile taxes, securing millions more in state funds to Bridgeport and active school construction in her district.

Dennis Bradley
School Board Chair Dennis Bradley

Meanwhile Board of Education Chairman Dennis Bradley continues to make the rounds schmoozing support for a potential primary against incumbent Ed Gomes who represents Connecticut’s 23rd District covering about two-thirds of Bridgeport and a portion of western Stratford. As an incumbent Gomes was defeated in a 2012 primary by Andres Ayala. Gomes reclaimed the seat in a special election last year after Governor Dan Malloy appointed Ayala commissioner of the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Ayala recently resigned as commissioner following fallout over DMV services that led to long lines and vociferous complaints.

If McCarthy and Bradley are to become primary challengers, they must make up their minds soon if they want to qualify for Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded races, a laborious process requiring $15,000 raised in small donations to secure a larger pot of public moolah.



  1. Perhaps Tom McCarthy, were he to be elected to the State Senate, will offer some “happy moments” to the in-session CT Legislature if elected. That seems to have been his most positive contribution to those who elected him to serve on our CC, isn’t it?

    He has not made the work he did in Labor Relations a benefit to the taxpayers of Bridgeport by telling us what was going on that was positive long=term for the community. Are the unions urging him to abandon ship locally, as we sink deeper into the RED?

    As Council leader he allowed his knowledge of procedure in November to remain quiet and not inform associates on the Council as a real leader might feel called to do, so that raises (reasonable for long-term supervisory employees but undeserved by the others who were departing from office) are now supported by a Court decision that must be paid for by Bridgeport taxpayers about whom he has never had a kind word. Tom McCarthy comes to terms with “conflicts of interest” finally? Too many hats worn is a disservice to the public.

    We are in the RED on the City balance sheet now. We are in the RED with the operating budget passed with his blessing and understanding last year. Tom has access to the CT Post and conversed with Lockhart briefly last evening but has no comments on our financial position for which he should take some significant responsibility. He has seen the reduction of the City Fund balance to less than one-quarter of its size when the Financial Review group left years ago and done nothing about it. And he single-handedly set in motion the removal of all research and support for City Council members three years ago. Will he campaign on eliminating the State Legislature supporting staff and organization in Hartford?

    Perhaps Council President McCarthy should try for a “real” job with a taxpaying entity in the private sector, and battle it out in the real world with his training, skills, and experience protected only by laws that protect all people, instead of an institutional system that protects those in power from accountability. Why should we look to promote folks to higher positions of responsible public service when they have not shown the aptitude in their current positions? Would someone care to tell me where McCarthy has shown integrity in his City Council role these past few years? Time will tell.

  2. McCarthy was the original choice for this seat but Trumbull was raising hell about never having a candidate for that position.
    It was decided to put up Musto because they thought he would lose and a Republican would win and serve two years. Then McCarthy would run against the Republican and win,
    Well Moore has the seat and I am sure they feel McCarthy could get the white Trumbull votes and hang tough in the North End. MM has a lot of hard work to do, especially in Trumbull.

  3. Maybe we can focus on real issues instead of who likes whom. Maybe the Post will do its job and promote intelligent discourse for all the people to make their own decision as opposed to ward politics and absentee ballots. Such a process would benefit Moore who speaks more on issues and is not a puppet and opportunist who relies on backroom deals and powerful friends. We’ll see.

  4. Look, we may as well have this fight now, yes it will be ugly, but so what. Mario Testa doesn’t like Senator Moore and Senator Gomes because he can’t control them. Let’s see if the white voters in Trumbull, the northern and western portions of Bridgeport and about one-third of Monroe are that mad and upset with Senator Moore to vote for McCarthy who who help get a big windfall payout from Mayor Finch’s agreement and McCarthy working for the City and being the City Council President in violation of the City Charter. Will black voters come out to vote for their two black state senators who will not be supported by Mayor Ganim, the same mayor who they just put back into office? Yes, let’s have this fight and call it what it really is, it’s okay for blacks to fight and support their own who are doing the job voters asked them to do but the white power structure doesn’t have to respect their voice but just take their vote for granted and give out crumbs. Let’s have this fight and see how it will affect state elections. The time is now.

    1. Yes, until he makes a statement, after all he’s the elected Democrat leader for the City and Testa is elected head of the Democratic Town Committee, they are together until he makes a statement about McCarthy and Bradley.

      1. Ron and Andy, again good observations. While Mario continues to underestimate me, I’m aware he put Tom McCarthy in my TC race. He knew if I prevailed delegates would go to Marilyn, if Freddino won, the only delegate Marilyn has is Elaine Pivorotto. McCarthy had an absentee base left over from the Finch campaign and he used it to offset what I produced in absentee applications. The irony is, I still came in ahead of them in ab’s. The GOTV was my fault, I should have paid closer attention to whom I chose, and the clincher was I put John Ricci on after he begged during the entire campaign. The fox in the hen house. He knew what was going on, but then that’s what happens when you accept a patronage job. You sell your mother if you have to. Ron you’re right, it’s going to be ugly and again the black community could lose representation in Hartford. Let’s hope Steve Nelson does the right thing.

  5. I can see Ganim making a statement supporting Moore and Gomes. Ganim can, if he wants to, get enough council votes to replace McCarthy as the council president.
    Bradley has not shown he can be an effective leader. Let’s see how he does as BOE president then in two years consider him.

    1. Andy my take is assuming McCarthy runs and wins, he holds the council seat until the end of his term. This gives “them” more time to leverage who they want as CC president.

  6. I think it’s interesting some of the discussion is about how the “white voters in Trumbull” will automatically vote. I think Trumbull voters really do base our votes on who we believe will best represent us.

    1. TKelly, the bigger issue is Mayor Joe Ganim and Mario Testa, McCarthy and Bradley’s names are being put out there on purpose and they both know it and either they both agreed on doing it or Ganim only knew what Mario was going to do. Blacks have been getting nothing but crumbs from Ganim and Mario doesn’t like Gomes and Moore. The black voter and the black community as a whole have never come out and made demands on any of these white Bridgeport mayors (all of Bridgeport’s mayors have been white), more than 90% of the black vote in every election. What do they get for their loyal support, crumbs. Yeah, they give a few black ministers a few jobs and positions but none are at the table when decisions are being planned and agreed to. Blacks have to say enough is enough, you can’t count on our vote, we don’t need promises, or coming to our churches or sweet talk. The time is now.

    2. TK,
      With many friends and associates who enjoy life in Trumbull and yet read OIB (for facts, fiction, or occasional humor), I sense financial issues in the sense of balanced budgets, reduction in long-term liabilities to encourage economic development that works for all the people, and getting more bang for our taxpayer buck are causes that may resonate with your voters. I am still searching for where candidate McCarthy may have spoken about these types of issues in depth and then acted upon them with integrity. All candidates are called to this today. Time will tell.

  7. Let me say this about Bradley and McCarthy, they are pigs from the same pen.
    They will do whatever they feel is for their own good and damn the city of Bridgeport and its residents.
    Give me, give me, give me.
    If they destroy the working city delegation up in Hartford, so be it they must think. I want what I want and to hell with anybody else.
    Self-serving machine politicians at their worst.
    I truly hope they get what they deserve.
    And all this because Moore and Gomes did not support Ganim for mayor.
    This has Mario’s DNA all over it.

    1. Bob, this is so obvious to those of us who have seen it done before. In the case of McCarthy, it’s up and out. Remember, they did the same to Finch when he ran for the State Senate seat. He was a nuisance, so they sent him to Hartford. When they were faced with no one to run against against Chris, Stafstrom pulled him back and convinced him to run for Mayor. The prospect of earning more money eventually convinced Finch. That’s how the eight-year reign started. It’s now politically expedient to get McCarthy out of the local political scene, so the plan was hatched. As to Bradley, Mario orchestrated his election as Chair of the BOE. Howard Gardner would have been difficult to control. Playing on Bradley’s ambition, a commitment was made to support him to challenge Ed. If only there were still black pride as there once was. The idea of a white man setting up two sitting black representatives would be only a illusion. It saddens me to think this attempt may have the support or silence of some black participants.

        1. Ron, I swear that was the first thing that came to mind. Margaret Morton is an icon, she set the stage for women, all women. George Pipken was my idol, and Charlie was the smartest political strategist around. The real leadership is gone, probably never to be replaced in our lifetimes.

  8. Let’s take a look at Dennis Bradley. Recently elected member of the Board of Ed. Recently elected President of the board as a brand new member without any working knowledge of how things are supposed to work. Mario and Joe obviously wanted a puppet they could control and his eagerness to leapfrog over other board members to be selected as president shows no shame for grabbing whatever he could for himself.
    Now he is tired of the BOE and thinks he should be state senator.
    Hey Bradley, why don’t you try to do something for the kids in the schools before you try to do more for yourself?
    Hey Bradley, why don’t you try to establish a track record as to what you can actually do before you try to do more for yourself?
    Hey Bradley, why don’t you try to run for the state rep seat you couldn’t win two years ago before you try to do more for yourself?
    Pathetic politician. Greedy politician. It’s no wonder why Mario and Joe look at him as the future because he resembles so much their past.

  9. *** Is Sen. Moore doing a bad job that certain powers that be would like to put rubber stamp Mac in the state senate instead? Or are there too many people of color up in the state capitol nowadays? What’s the real reason I wonder. ***

  10. Lisa and Bobby, you both hit the nail on the head with your astute observations. Bobby, Bradley should be ashamed of himself for bullshiting the children and the residents of Bridgeport who voted him on the BBOE for quitting on them, now that a better offer has come along. Those members of the BBOE who voted him into a leadership position should be ashamed of themselves too because conventional wisdom tells me they knew what his plans were yet they still voted for him.

    Lisa, black pride in Bridgeport politics has been replaced with black greed and avarice and what can I get for me and mine. A lot of our so-called black leaders have taken the crumbs from white politicians so long, they have lost sight there is a whole damned cake out there and the PR’s are fighting the blacks for a few of those crumbs while they have forgotten they are entitled to over 1/3 of the cake based on Bridgeport’s population. I know both groups don’t give a damn or they would question why 75% of Bridgeport’s population only have 50% of the seats on the DTC. Lisa, I’ve been around since ’68 and this is the worst I’ve seen my people behave, ever. My hope is the black leadership channels the heart of their ancestors and do what is right, what is just and what is moral. Oh yeah, and what is best for their people.

    1. Donald, I spent almost every day in campaign headquarters for Joe. There were very few white faces in headquarters during that primary. It’s ironic to see those few, and I mean few, white faces are all employed by the administration. I really believed Joe was the best candidate and I better than anyone else knew the difference from the first Joe. He served with me for ten years while I was CP and I was no day at the beach. If he was right, I’d go to the mat for him, if he was wrong I went for it and there was no way they could get rid of me. I was self-employed, very popular in my district, and wanted nothing but to do my job. I have no indication Joe is initiating any political discord, and it’s my feeling he’s not turning the reins over to anyone. Unfortunately he did the first time around and it’s assumed nothing’s changed. I hope I’m right because I supported him for all the right reasons and if I was wrong I’ll have to fall on my sword.

      1. Lisa, the first go-around with Joe being mayor we had a good relationship with him, like you we didn’t want anything except for him to do what was right and had no problem getting in his ass if he was wrong, we were like that while we were in the fire department and when we retired. We like Joe but not this bullshit. I want McCarthy and Bradley to run against Senator Moore and Senator Gomes, we need to force Joe Ganim to make a decision who he supports and who Mario Testa supports. If you’re not with us then you are against us.

        Lisa, on the flip side Mayor Ganim has made the choice to select and surround himself with those he likes and respects and blacks need not apply. 75% of Bridgeport’s population is made up of people of color but only a few if any are in the room with the mayor making decisions. Don’t come around blacks in church smiling and saying sweet things doing nothing for us.

  11. Now let’s look at Tommy Mac. I would like him to please tell all of us what he has done on the council besides getting rich off the Bridgeport taxpayers.
    He will be like all the other lying politicians and take credit for any good that happened while on the council and ignore any bad. Well Tom I will be there to correct any claims you make.
    And we can start with you and your City Council’s $20 Million budget fiasco.
    But the funnier thing is in an effort to remain relevant Tom will turn a significant portion of the Bridgeport Democratic voters against him for helping to remove a sitting State Senator simply because she is independent, African American and a woman.
    And even if he succeeds in the short term he will lose in the long term. So much for your dreams of being mayor.

  12. Bob, you always have something bad to say about everyone else but what did you do in all your years on the council??? I will answer for you, NOTHING, NADA, ZIP, NOT A DAMNED THING! I used to see you once every two years and you would come knocking on my door which coincidentally was around the corner from your house and ask for my vote. Other than that I never saw you and you did nothing for us, no roads paved, no street sweepers, many houses looking dilapidated including your own with the unregistered vehicles parked in the driveway. So you sir should not be criticizing any politicians and what they do because even if they have done wrong they still do more than you ever did.

  13. tallguy,
    If you are a regular reader of OIB then you know there are many times when the issues I raise and the postings by Bob Walsh are contrasting, sometimes to the point of insult. However, if you never saw Bob, it may have been because he was in attendance at Council and Committee meetings trying to dig out the meaning of the volumes of material that flow to the legislature for its vote. Bob was a student and unafraid to call out, independently for his fellow Council members to consider an alternative way where the public would be better served. One person in 20 speaking up regularly and factually does not often win votes but it does show dedication. It can possibly raise the ire of City administrators who may get back at certain districts with unfair levels of service.
    I know nothing about unregistered vehicles, but if you were looking for Bob at times other than pre-election, he was active in the Council. Were you there supporting your positions? Are you there today? Time will tell.


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