Newton’s Lumberjack Politics Hacks Musto, ‘If You Keep Chopping At A Tree, The Tree Will Fall’

Former State Senator Ernie Newton says he has a big surprise for State Senator Anthony Musto next year. He promises to campaign against Musto in a section of Bridgeport Newton once represented that was carved into the adjoining State Senate district Musto occupies, specifically the Wilbur Cross precinct in the North End, home to many African American voters. No, Newton won’t be a candidate in the senate district but he’ll be supporting Marilyn Moore if she challenges Musto in a Democratic primary.

Two years ago, while then-State Senator Ed Gomes was in his hospital bed recovering from heart surgery, Democrats in Hartford realigning Connecticut’s 23rd Senatorial, as part of a state legislative redistricting plan, moved a piece of Gomes’ district into Musto’s to guard against a difficult Republican opponent in the multi-town district that includes all of Trumbull and portions of Bridgeport and Monroe. Ironically, in an effort to protect Musto in a general election, this could pose a problem in a primary. He’s new to the territory while a number of political operatives lining up for a possible Moore candidacy such as Newton and Gomes know it well.

Anthony Musto
Anthony Musto, no gusto from Ernie Newton.

The Wilbur Cross precinct falls within the City Council’s 135th District that includes the Trumbull Gardens Housing Project and the enclave known as Whiskey Hill. If you talk to Gomes about the boundary changes he’ll make prehistoric noises about Hartford redistricting leadership screwing him to save Musto. Newton, for another, says he believes he would have won the Democratic primary for State Senate last year won by Andres Ayala had the Wilbur Cross precinct not been gerrymandered.

Voters in the Wilbur Cross precinct blew out incumbent City Council members Warren Blunt and Richard Bonney in the September 10 Democratic primary tsunami that swept away endorsed candidates.

Moore served as the campaign manager for the three victorious challengers for school board. She lost a squeaker to Musto in a Democratic primary for State Senate in 2008.

Musto has drawn the ire of Bridgeport government reformers for killing a bill co-sponsored by State House members Jack Hennessy and Auden Grogins to enforce Bridgeport’s City Charter prohibiting city employees from serving on the City Council and eliminating conflicts of interests such as councilors approving their own wages and benefits. Musto feared alienating Bridgeport’s political establishment that opposed the bill.

Newton and supporters
Newton, the Moses of his peeps, with his peeps last year.

Musto was also chief architect, in his role as chair of the legislature’s Government Administration & Elections Committee, of watering down Connecticut’s landmark campaign finance reform, permitting additional special-interest money to flow into elections. Musto was one of just two state senators to support public disclosure of images of slaughtered Sandy Hook children in defiance of the wishes of victims’ parents.

The city-suburban 22nd Senate District includes all of Trumbull, part of Monroe and western portion of the city including the higher turnout Black Rock, Brooklawn and North End neighborhoods. The number of registered Democrats in the Bridgeport portion of the district is roughly double the suburban registration.

Newton says Musto is among the targets of an activist coalition unhappy with the direction of the city and representation in the state  legislature. “If you keep chopping at a tree,” Newton says, “the tree will fall.”

Before he can chop away at Musto, however, Newton, the self-proclaimed Moses of his peeps, must overcome his own legal issues. He faces state charges accusing him of manipulating $500 in campaign contributions that triggered an $80,550 grant from the state’s Citizens Election Program that funded his campaign. Newton denies the charges. His lawyer has a filed a motion to dismiss the case with the court. A trial date has not been set.



  1. *** Right now any candidate, male or female, black or white, and as long as they have a heartbeat and a pulse, would be perfect for running against and beating Mr. “empty suit” Musto! Knowledgeable voters are tired of this wrong-way, do-nothing copycat, wannabe career politician, no? *** IT’S TIME TO “DUMP MUSTO!” ***

  2. Be careful what you wish for. If Moore, without a track record, beats Musto in a primary and runs in a November election without Obama’s coattails, it opens the door for a Monroe or Trumbull Republican (Tim Herbst?) to win the seat.

    1. WittyUserName, in the election this month who did Anthony Musto support, what council candidate or what BOE candidate did he support? We all know whom Ms. Moore supported, she work and supported ALL of the WINNERS, now whom do you think they will support? Stop trying to scare voters.

    2. Hmmm Tim Herbst would be bad because? Trumbull is not complaining. I do not think it matters who Mr. Musto supported for the Board of Ed. I am glad Marilyn Moore supported row B as did I, but that is yesterday’s news. I guess Mary-Jane Foster is not even under consideration? I think Mayor Finch would be best served by having a supporter at the state. I am assuming he will win reelection, he needs to have a team on the same page, no? Time will tell. lol lol. Btw … To Marilyn Moore, tapping me on the leg as you were leaving the North End library last week saying “there’s your man” referring to Musto. First, a simple hello and how can I get your vote would have been more appropriate. Musto is not my man. I do not know him. Right now, I would want to give the Mayor his team to get stuff done for Bridgeport. Is there any word on MJF? My vote is up for grabs. I account for more than one vote and I never vote politically, I vote for what I feel is best for the City.

      1. Steven Auerbach, there is a thing called “Big Mo” momentum, the climate has been set, the anger, plus voters are pissed off at those in office who have done nothing and who support nothing. Marilyn Moore tapped into the anger and got candidates to run for office and helped to get them elected. Now what did Anthony Musto do, nothing. What did Mayor Finch do, he fought but got his ass kicked by Marilyn Moore. Keep on hating, Steve.

        1. Hating? The big No will not carry over to the next election and the BOE that seems to have taken over this blog is pretty much forgotten in the real world. I am not hating. I am no different than anyone else. The candidate who supports my agenda gets my vote. What is your candidates’ agenda? An obstacle for Finch? Her platform is what? Anti Finch? Her experience? I appreciate you are her supporter. I would say you are a Musto “hater” and you have your work cut out for you. It all comes down to Steelepointe. Musto will definitely milk this as well as Finch and Duh, that is huge and will get bigger and bigger. In fact Ron, Steelepointe is going to become such big news you and Bob Walsh are going to suffocate with news ad nauseum.

  3. Witty: Being a Republican is not a disease. Party-line voting for the sake of the party is not healthy for any government. Party-line voting for the sake of advancing one-party control actually spits in the face of democracy. This City and this State need balance. And yes, I am a registered Democrat. Besides: Musto Suckso.

    1. Sally, only in Bridgeport is being a Republican considered a disease. Just a point of interest, every state with a Republican governor is cutting taxes and ending the year with a surplus. Every state with a Democratic governor is raising taxes and running with a deficit. Go figure. BTW for anyone, how has the city done under decades of Democratic leadership?



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