On the final day a public grant could be approved before the August 11 primary, Tony Barr, the former Democratic Town Committee member, received word he’ll head into the final weeks of the campaign with $30,575 to spend as he seeks to upset 10-year incumbent Charlie Stallworth in Connecticut’s 126th State House District that includes Whiskey Hill and portions of the North End and Upper East Side.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission conducted its final meeting to approve public grants ahead of the primary.
Barr says he’s challenging Stallworth, in part, as political payback for not supporting Marilyn Moore for mayor in 2019. On the day Connecticut’s Covid-delayed presidential primary will also take place, Stallworth will appear on Joe Biden’s line, Barr on the line of Bernie Sanders who chose to leave his name on the primary ballot despite suspending his campaign in support of Biden.
In two key precincts, Wilbur Cross and Park City Magnet, the ballot line will be Line A: Joe Biden, Marcus Brown, Charlie Stallworth; Line B: Bernie Sanders, Marilyn Moore, Tony Barr.
Democratic-endorsed City Councilman Marcus Brown is trying to upset Moore in the city-suburban 22nd State Senate District.
All Democratic electors may vote by absentee ballot by virtue of Governor Ned Lamont’s Covid-related executive order.
Barr is a mercurial figure in city politics, a changed man, he says, from 20 years in federal prison on drug-related charges. He enjoys a militant-speaker’s gift for gab while almost always nattily attired. Some days he turns up the temperature on his rhetoric machine castigating, menacingly, the political establishment and anything that that violates his worldly sensibilities. Other days he displays an engaging sense of humor.
Initially he was in Stallworth’s corner for mayor last year, then Stallworth dropped out and supported Ganim’s reelection. Barr then backed Moore.
Stallworth, himself a gifted speaker as a city minister, pastors an East End church that Ganim leveraged on January 1, 2015 as a jump in his return to the mayoralty following his 2003 conviction on public corruption charges. Stallworth and Ganim have had a seesaw political relationship.
Stallworth survived two primary scares in 2016 and 2018, current City Council member Maria Pereira and current Connecticut Deputy Commissioner of Housing Shante Hanks.
This is such an odd election cycle with absentee ballots at a premium that the traditional measures of campaign strength have become a shoulder shrug. Who the heck knows?
Barr, on paper, is the underdog. And that seems to be the looming question: how much paper (absentee ballots) will show up for the primary?