Former State Sernator Ernie Newton and State Representative Andres Ayala are schmoozing district delegates this week for support at the Democratic Party convention May 21. In play is Connecticut’s 23rd State Senate seat once occupied by Newton that Ed Gomes has represented since 2005. Newton and Ayala have formed candidate and exploratory committees respectively in the hunt for both delegates and money to qualify for public financing and a $100k jackpot. So far Gomes has not formed a committee and is being coy about his reelection plans. Newton and Ayala will make district pitches this week about their viability.
Ayala’s look at a State Senate run has set off an interesting configuration of pols examining a run for his seat such as Chris Rosario, a mayoral appointee, and Christina Ayala, daughter of Democratic Registrar Santa Ayala and Tito Ayala whose forces last month defeated City Councilwoman Lydia Martinez’ slate for control of the 137th town committee district. Andres Ayala is Tito’s nephew.
Andres Ayala recently landed a new job in the Board of Education. The longtime classroom teacher is now an assistant to former Mayor John Fabrizi, a city administrator in charge of Adult Education. Ayala through the years has missed classroom time when the General Assembly was in session. His new role makes it easier to juggle State House duties and BOE work. Ayala served as City Council president when Fabs was mayor.
Bridgeport has 48 delegates to the 23rd state party convention including a who’s who of town committee members and political operatives. A small portion of Stratford with five delegates is also part of the district that includes about three-quarters of the city. The North End and western portions of the city are represented by State Senator Anthony Musto, a district that include all of Trumbull and a portion of Monroe.
Newton and Ayala are both delegates. Gomes is not. If Gomes seeks reelection some of the delegates are likely to support him just to avoid the choice between Newton and Ayala. Supporting an incumbent is a safe place to land. But Gomes is not working the system nor raising money. It will be much tougher for him to kickstart a reelection campaign if he waits until the end of the legislative session in May with an August primary on the horizon. At 76 years old and state pension available will Gomes say goodbye to elected politics? One thing’s for sure, he’s not interested in schmoozing the party apparatus for support.
If Gomes does not run and the endorsement goes to Newton will Ayala seek election to his incumbent seat? Newton says he feels good about his support but will wage a primary irrespective of the endorsement.
The Newton/Ayala/Gomes field has made it difficult for the forces of Mayor Bill Finch to actively support one of them. Newton and Gomes supported Mary-Jane Foster for mayor last year and the Finch people say Ayala ducked. Maybe Ayala by default? Stay tuned.