Newton Wins Stunning Endorsement For State Senate–“Redemption Is Upon Us”–Faces Primary

Ernie Newton
The Moses of his peeps captures State Senate endorsement

Former State Senator Ernie Newton Monday night continued his comeback from a federal corruption conviction seven years ago to claim the Democratic endorsement for the State Senate seat he was forced to relinquish. He won the endorsement for Connecticut’s 23rd State Senate District over incumbent Ed Gomes and State Rep. Andres Ayala at the party convention at Testo’s Restaurant.

“This campaign is about redemption and opportunity of our people and our community,” Newton announced to cheering supporters inside Testo’s Restaurant at 6:46 p.m. just minutes after he was endorsed, adding he was sorry for the mistakes he had made that led to his prison time. “The message I am bringing to the people is that it’s time that our community redeem the great promise we have. We have too many, both young and old, that have lost the passion to fight, that have lost the belief that these communities can rise and be great. I am here as an example that our redemption is upon us. It is at our doorstep …

“We need the opportunity to work. We need the opportunity to be safe. And we need the opportunity to believe again … whether it’s property taxes, continued improving relations with our police force, jobs for people in our community, cleaner streets and neighborhoods.”

Newton signs
Newton signs the official paperwork as the endorsed candidate.

Both Ayala and Gomes secured enough delegate support to wage a primary against Newton on Aug. 14. Newton still has a lot of work to do to win the primary. Ayala will have $100K to spend on the verge of qualifying for Connecticut’s public financing system. Ayala will also have the political operation of Mayor Bill Finch behind him. Gomes has started late in raising money, but he has power of incumbency and strong labor contacts that are important in pulling a primary vote. Gomes left Testo’s shortly after the endorsement clearly upset he was not backed by a majority of the party. He must now build a campaign organization if he wants to keep his seat.

Even before the evening started, supporters of Gomes and Ayala had a game plan: stop Newton from securing the endorsement. Newton was endorsed on the number he needed, 27 out of the 53 delegates in attendance.

Political operatives of Mayor Bill Finch, on behalf of Ayala, spent the past several days trying to figure out a scenario to deny Newton the endorsement. Newton will now appear on the top line of the Democratic primary ballot next to Congressman Chris Murphy who won the endorsement for U.S. Senate at the recent party convention. He is being challenged by former Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz. Most city political operatives believe Newton winning the endorsement will help to resuscitate his relationship with voters.

Minutes after Newton was endorsed he told OIB: “I’ve been working on this comeback for a long time with folks that know I will work hard for them in Hartford to bring our city back.”

Mario News12
Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa tells News 12 about Newton winning the endorsement.

City Councilwoman Evette Brantley entered Gomes’ name into nomination saying he holds a seat that is part of the legacy of the late State Senator Margaret Morton. Newton occupied the seat prior to Gomes.

A roll-call vote selected City Councilman John Olson as the permanent chair of the convention. Vice Chair Dottie Guman served as secretary for the convention conducting the roll-call vote just after 6 p.m.

City Councilman Rich Paoletto placed Ayala’s name into nomination seconded by City Councilwoman Lydia Martinez.

Charlie Coviello, multiple mayoral candidate, entered Newton’s name saying “we will need a senator who will fight for our community … I am proud to place Ernest Newton’s name into nomination.”

A force of Newton supporters showed up wearing Newton for Senate shirts.

The biggest delegate surprise of the evening, according to Finch loyalists was City Councilman Bob Curwen, whose wife is a city employee, voting for Newton. They had expected Curwen to vote for Ayala and were befuddled by the turn of events. Without Curwen’s vote, Newton would have been denied the endorsement.

The State Senate district covers roughly 75 percent of Bridgeport and a portion of Stratford.

Mayor Bill Finch issued the following statement about Newton:

“As a former state Senate colleague, Ernie and I worked together for many years. While I wish him well in all his endeavors, when Ernie and I recently spoke I told him that I do not think that this is the best decision, for him or the City.”



  1. Microscopes and telescopes, Ernie! Here’s what I mean: While some people’s ideas are so small you’d need a microscope to see them, Ernie’s ideas are so huge, you’d need a telescope to grasp their size!

  2. Hmmm, interesting. I hope Gomes wins. Newton had his chance and stole from the people. Not saying people do not deserve a second chance but he does not deserve a second chance at public office again. I personally like Newton though. Wish I were in the 23 district now in a heated primary but I’m in the 22th district, Musto’s district. Lennie, covers 75%??? How is that, by land or population??? Isn’t Wilbur Cross out of the 23rd district now?

  3. Newton, the endorsed candidate. You need a microscope to see the brains of those who think this ignorant, illiterate thief is the key to our redemption. Shame on every one of you assholes. All you did last night was ensure your city will remain the shithole you continue to allow it to be. Did any of you idiots ever think to look at Newton’s past record in office before you decided he was the guy to pick?

  4. Did Gomes stay in to pull votes away from Ayala?

    I am happy Ernie won. Finch and his people did everything they could to block Ernie from getting the endorsement but Ernie pulled it off. You can’t always get what you want, mayor.

  5. Kathy Curwen had better watch out her position doesn’t magically disappear from the budget … courtesy of mad budget magician Sherwood. Now you see it … now you don’t.

  6. None of the candidates running will do anything to help the 138th so who gives a shit who got the nomination?
    I am surprised Curwen decided to commit political suicide with his vote for Newton. What was he thinking?
    Why do we keep recycling these same people over and over again? I hope the Republicans come up with a valid candidate, but I doubt it.

  7. Newton is master of the first-person plural pronoun. Redemption is upon whom? It wasn’t his people who were caught taking a little bit extra for themselves. It was Ernie. His people deserve better.

  8. The quotes in the Lockhart story (taken out of context, naturally, and probably in the heat and emotions of the convention) are pure OIB when you think about them:
    1) Convention approved Senate candidate Ernie Newton: “Felons are people too.” There is a statement very few candidates for State office have found it necessary or prudent to state.
    2) Mayor William Finch:”… I told him (Ernie Newton) I do not think this is the best decision for him or our City.” Notice personal self-interest is primary reference for a political candidate according to Mayor Finch and what’s good for the City comes second (or last). Appearance of or actual ‘conflicts of interest’ continue to be the Achilles heel of Bridgeport City governance, of course this is accepted as routine and not discussed.
    Mayoral adviser Adam Wood: “Some people on the Mayor’s staff are supporting another candidate and that is their choice. But no one was pressured! The fact is this was a hotly contested Convention.”
    Adam, come to the far side of all things Bridgeport, and feel the pressure. Look at the way decisions are made in the City, the jobs lost not for failure to perform diligently, the public money steered to individual Council person objectives below the public radar, the City jobs maintained for Council persons who never recuse themselves, and see the way the administration has selectively ignored Charter and ordinance directives. In that environment, everyone feels pressure. Remember, suffering paranoia does not mean they are not out to get you. Time will tell.

  9. Round Two upcoming: Democratic Registrar of Voters, and the state representative hopefuls within the 23rd senatorial district. Where’s Don Clemens?

  10. Clemons is trying to get the motor started on the ferry that will take people to Pleasure Beach. He has no time for politics; Memorial day is just around the corner.
    It is my understanding Santa has no one running against her.

  11. I wish Ernie no harm and sincerely hope he stays sober, honest (for now?) and becomes prosperous.

    Redemption does not mean he should be elected to the Senate.

    Previously, he brought very little to the table other than perpetually playing the victim card. Pragmatically, his work effort was never very impressive and consequently never accomplished anything on Bridgeport’s behalf.

    Nominating Newton is yet another example of why surrounding communities, CT legislators and business look on Bridgeport as a festering sore.

    And since we only elect Democrats, there’s no leverage for Bridgeport within the Democrat House and Senate. God knows by going with Lamont and then screwing up the ballots, we have no clout with Malloy.


  12. A truly embarrassing day for Bridgeport, the one-party town. I remain disgusted in all things political relating to this cesspool city.

  13. Ernie, Shays, DiNardo, Curwen, Finch, the Wizard of Oz-port.
    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Wednesday on the Jim & Tom Show
    WDJZ 1530AM (9:00 to 10:00am).

  14. *** It was more about sticking it to Finch than meets the eye, no? Everyone wants a piece of the Dem. pie so it’s going to be a mad dash for voter support during the primary. And it gets better the closer we get to primary Tues. and all the backroom deals too! *** ZOMBIELAND ***

  15. *** Though the underdog, Newton’s endorsement should really be of no surprise when you think about it, no? An endorsement does not always guarantee a primary win; especially with Gomes and Ayala as possible candidates or maybe joining forces should one bow out of the race! It will also be interesting to see who the other office-seeking candidates this year will end up supporting in this primary race. *** SMILING FACES ***


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