Political Footsies In The ‘Port, Moore Supporters Say It’s “Payback” Time–(Careful What You Wish For)

Tony Barr with Marilyn Moore in 2019. Barr says it’s payback time.

City politics just went from crickets to campaign clash. Alberto “Tito” Ayala and East End activist Wanda Simmons are the latest to join the State House sweepstakes filing the paperwork to forge Democratic primaries in August, joining former State Rep. Bob Keeley and former City Councilman Bob Halstead trying to wage district primaries.

Tito Ayala pulled petition sheets in the 130th State House District to challenging incumbent Antonio Felipe. Downtown businessman Kelvin Ayala has also announced his candidacy in the district. If it happens, that would be a confusing configuration–two Ayalas on the ballot against Felipe.

Simmons is going after incumbent State Rep. Chris Rosario in the heavily Hispanic 128th District. She ran for City Council in 2017 losing to Ernie Newton. Simmons doesn’t live in the district, but that’s not required. The only requirement is moving into the district upon receiving the oath, but Simmons advancing against Rosario would be like Donald Trump parachuting into the East End screaming vote for me! Good luck with that.

If that’s not enough former Democratic Town Committee member Tony Barr is circulating petitions to challenge incumbent Charlie Stallworth in the 126th District.

It’s possible six of the city’s eight-member legislative delegation could have primaries.

What’s the impetus for this? Incumbents who didn’t openly back Marilyn Moore for mayor could have primaries. State Rep. Andre Baker openly backed Moore and State Senator Dennis Bradley did enough of a dipsy-doodle dance to avert a primary, so it seems.

Moore, according to several pols, is playing political footsies with Keeley to forge primaries across the city as payback. Keeley and company including Halstead think a common ballot line with Moore will help them. Be careful what you wish for. What was shaping up as a sleepy primary season has now raised the temperature of pols who may be hustling votes such as State Reps Steve Stafstrom and Jack Hennessy who have lots of experience turning out votes.

This could benefit Marcus Brown, the party-endorsed Democrat against Moore, who will be on the top line with Stafstrom and Hennessy if they have primaries.

“This is payback time,” says Barr who supported Moore for mayor. “There’s a coalition of us working together.”

Except it’s a rag-tag coalition of pols who haven’t won much of anything lately.

A Democratic Town Committee slate in March, backed by Moore, was shellacked by the slate that included Brown who has an eager group of activists backing him, including mayoral aide Tom Gaudett who campaigns has hard as anyone.

The State House challengers need roughly 300 certified signatures to qualify for the August primary. In the next two weeks we’ll find out who’s successful or collapses during the process.

In some cases incumbent state reps didn’t back Moore for mayor for a very good reason. She didn’t ask them for support.



  1. The 2020 primary is going to be the lowest-response election in the history of Bridgeport — just when we need to make a huge electoral point on the state and national scene (since we are in one of the worst positions in the nation to weather the COVID PANDEMIC-DEPRESSION…). We will increasingly need massive aid and attention from the federal and state government to survive the COVID Pandemic-Depression as any sort of livable municipality. We will need a competent, energetic/aggressive GA delegation to advocate for us in Hartford…

    And the Bridgeport electorate is largely (a couple of exceptions, notwithstanding) being offered only lack-luster recycles and unexciting/unsuitable, challenge-candidates across the gamut of federal and state electoral offices during this absolutely critical electoral season…

    To focus on our 22nd-District State Senate offerings: Senator Moore, while unquestionably a decent person and good citizen, has accomplished far less than needed and to be expected for her considerable time in Hartford… She has served Trumbull well — just by maintaining their status-quo, parasitic relationship with Bridgeport… The brand-new, regionally-contraindicated, massive, residential developments in Trumbull, on the Bridgeport border, that she never flagged her Bridgeport constituents in regard to, much less attempt to mitigate such development and the infrastructure/environmental stress-damage, resulting from such development, to Bridgeport, are testimony to her cluelessness about her job in Hartford. It is no wonder that she received 0 Bridgeport delegate votes at the recent nominating convention… So, in Senator Moore, we, in Bridgeport, have a State Senator that has done less than NOTHING for us — that has actually harmed us by her de facto approval of further parasitism of Bridgeport by her Trumbull-constituency/Bridgeport “neighbor”… (Her Lake Forest constituents are already experiencing increased flooding/watershed and traffic problems…) She needs to be voted out of her senate seat and replaced by someone of energy that has a clue about the needs of the state’s largest city… She needs to retire…Bridgeport is too important to have such lack-luster representation in Hartford…

    And Marcus Brown (whom I don’t know personally): He was an absolutely lack-luster CC member. Why should we expect him to do a better job in Hartford for us?! And he apparently doesn’t use a legitimate voting address… AND — HE IS A COLLEGE STUDENT (junior) AT THE UNIVERSITY OF M-A-S-S-A-C-H-U-S-E-T-T-S!… How is a full-time, OUT-OF-STATE college student supposed to serve as State Senator for the state’s largest city while he seriously pursues his studies (out of state)?!

    Truly: The Bridgeport Democratic Party is serving up nothing but “refried left-overs” and otherwise only unpalatable “microwavable” fare to represent us in Hartford — at a critical time… Let’s pray for some, intelligent, committed, energetic, fresh faces to pop up as viable independents in time to challenge the lack of offerings from the parties in this (to reiterate) critical election season… So far, there is little reason for Bridgeporters to bother with the GA offerings presented to us by the D’s and R’s this election season…

    And the WFP? Have they folded their tents completely or are they waiting for an opportunity to present some fresh faces after the primaries? Let’s hope that the WFP has regrouped after last year’s fiasco-finish in Bridgeport and that they will have competent people backing a slate of competent, energetic, aggressive, Bridgeport-centric fresh faces for Bridgeport’s GA seats…

    1. @JeffKohut

      I make no bones about my opposition to Brown, BUT he does live at 2625 Park Ave Unit 10N with his partner Gaudet. In fact before choosing 10N he attempted to rent 8G owned by my wife.
      He may be a college junior at UMASS but he is 29 years old and either junior is as far as he got or he is taking minimum credits remotely while living and working a part-time gig in Bridgeport.
      His partner, a Ganim employee in City Hall has arranged a shot at another part time paycheck for Brown as a puppet for Ganim/Testa.
      Moore received no Bridgeport delegate votes because she dared to challenge Ganim last year and this is her punishment. She had won the nomination twice out of three elections without the party endorsement but by winning the primary and then twice defeating the Republican white candidate from Trumbull.

  2. In the end,especially with the way the voting process will happen this year(mail in ballots),Mario will once again control the process,just like always.Let’s just hope Marcus Brown can handle the job..

  3. *** Bpt. politics never changes long towards the better, before returning back to its dismal past that only serves those whom are willing to pay to play, so to speak, no? *** Everytime you get a good working political representative, local, state or federal government, along comes a new or past wannabe to try & knock them off their platform for selfish reasons. Typical Bpt. 1-step forward, 2-steps back, line- hussle with all the participants & followers off-step! ***JUST-SAYING***


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