Primary Winners: Nieves, Valle, Pereira, Gen Now–Losers: Lydia, Ricci

It was a night of take that! A night of surprises. A night of a little bit of everything with a lot on the line.

Let’s get right to it:


City Council incumbents Maria Valle and Aidee Nieves.

City Council President Aidee Nieves and council partner Maria Valle. This victory is one for them to savor given the circumstances and personality backbiting from City Clerk Lydia Martinez whose handpicked opponents got slaughtered. In the early days of the campaign the thought of Lydia’s historic absentee ballot operation seemed to weigh heavily on Nieves. The heaviness translated into passionate motivation to raise money, recruit supporters, work her own absentee ballot operation and bang on doors. Mayor Joe Ganim also campaigned in the district on her behalf. She and Valle doubled up the opponents. On the East Side Lydia is no longer queen of the court.

Now it’s all moot but let’s examine the what-ifs had Nieves lost her seat. The odds-on favorites to replace her as legislative leader, according to a sampling of council members, were Ernie Newton and Marcus Brown.

Pereira, belly dancer
Maria Pereira danced to a mega win.

Maria Pereira. Love her or loathe her, when it comes to protecting her turf in the Upper East Side the piranha of city politics bites down harder than all the jaws in the Amazon basin. Two years ago she ran with Samia Suliman to win a council seat after years on the Board of Education. She had a falling-out with Suliman and recruited Michele Small to run with her. Zap. Suliman is out and Small is in. How long will her relationship last with Small? Who knows, it’s Maria. The larger question: can Pereira extend her mighty neighborhood base to a larger coalition? If so, makes her even more dangerous to institutional forces. There’s still a general election upcoming. Where will Maria play next?

Callie Heilmann, left, co-founder of Bridgeport Generation Now Votes and Gemeem Davis, leader of the civic group, below, had a strong night.
Gemeem Davis

Bridgeport Generation Now (Votes). Five of seven candidates it endorsed won, including Nieves and Valle for whom they received some heat for backing establishment pols. Police reform is among the activist group’s central issues and they cite Nieves’s effort to bring them to the table to have a say on public safety issues. Bridgeport Generation Now Votes is the sister advocacy organization of Bridgeport Generation Now. Its leadership and affiliate organizations have gotten into the business of municipal campaigning. Gemeem Davis and Callie Heilmann were out in the streets Tuesday putting in the grinding work of election-day turnout. They’re not going away.

Pereira and Gen Now will likely be engaged in future fireworks given their respective enmity, but that’s another story.

Aikeem Boyd. He ran alone against two party-endorsed candidates in the North End 133rd District and beat both. Incumbent Jeanette Herron finished second to Boyd to retain her seat.

Tyler Mack. Backed by both Gen Now Votes and Connecticut Working Families Party, he was the lead vote producer among walk-in voters finishing ahead of incumbents Jorge Cruz and Denese Taylor-Moye in the 131st District. Absentee ballots pulled Taylor-Moye within a recount. Now hear this: the 131st District, once an organizational lock, is no more. Paging Seaside Village in the South End that votes at Batalla. Paging young reform-minded Downtown residents that vote at City Hall, once a sleepy, throw-away precinct. No more. Youthful voters are having a say at the City Hall precinct. Downtown is a growing neighborhood of voters inclined to look away from establishment interests.

Wanda Simmons, left, is a winner pending recount, here with Victoria Majewski, her running mate, both of whom will also be on the WFP line in November.

Wanda Simmons. Wanda doesn’t quit. She stays after it. She came close to winning a City Council seat several years ago and now, barring a recount overturn, will join the council in December representing the East End with incumbent Ernie Newton, assuming he prevails in the general election against WFP-backed Victoria Majewski.

Working Families Party. Three of their candidates won or are awaiting recounts leading. They are also backing school board candidates in the general election looking to run ahead of Republicans for minority-party seats.


State Senator Dennis Bradley with his political godmother City Clerk Lydia Martinez.

City Clerk Lydia Martinez. Can’t wait to hear Queenie’s excuses for this shellacking by City Council President Nieves and council partner Valle. Nieves didn’t bow down to Lydia so she decided to “teacher her a lesson” by recruiting two primary candidates. Oh can’t ya just hear it now, “Well, I really wasn’t trying to beat her, just wanted to send a message. The candidates were on their own.” Yeah, right; so throw them under the bus for a narcissistic venture while recruiting other pols to help your cause. Genius strategy.

In the days leading up to the primary word had spread from even inside Queenie’s camp that her absentee ballot operation was a dysfunctional mess. Couple that with Nieves and Valle pitching serial absentee voters she normally works and it amounted to an embarrassment both with the walk-in and AB presence.

Former Public Facilities Director John Ricci. Scorned for the way he was shown the door following Joe Ganim’s reelection in 2019, the long-toothed political operative has been like a little kid with matches and gasoline, starting or joining political skirmishes. He knocked on doors against Nieves calling her a bully, a this and a that. He raised and donated money as well against council incumbents he wanted to take out with Nieves in his primary scope. Ricci’s personality battles often transcend political pragmatism. He’s not the most clear-headed strategist. It was Ricci in 2018 who opined oh yes, Joe Ganim can beat Ned Lamont in a gubernatorial primary. Meanwhile Ricci’s lining up support from district leaders to be mayor in case lightning struck. Oh yes, Joe’s gonna beat Marilyn Moore by thousands of votes. Oh, we’re gonna take out Nieves. We got this. Who’s Ricci’s mayoral candidate in 2023?

Newton, Martinez
From 2019,  Ernie Newton and Eneida Martinez.

Eneida Martinez. She has a recount with Wanda Simmons but hard to see her overcoming 13 votes. When you operate an illegal joint during a pandemic, leading to arrest, and a man is shot dead, it’s not exactly a credential even in a forgiving community appreciative of her devotion to constituent work. Ricci will try to claim this as a consolation prize for helping to finance Simmons’ race but this was all about Martinez’s baggage and Simmons putting in the work. Dozens of voters split their votes between Simmons and incumbent Ernie Newton, the leading vote producer among four candidates. Who knows, maybe Eneida tries again in two years.



  1. Lennie, let me address your point about Maria Pereira first, you said, “the larger question: can Periera extend her mighty neighborhood base to a larger coalition? If so makes her even more dangerous to institutional forces. There’s still a general election upcoming. Where will Maria play next?” NO WAY, there are two women who I know, trust and respect who also know Maria and they like her but Maria won’t take their advice on turning down the heat on how she does these personal attacks. Maria could have so much power and make real change in the City but she doesn’t know how to form a coalition because she doesn’t know “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” like Dale Carnegie does in training classes and books. I dont think Michele Small will be in Maria’s corner to long.

    1. Lennie, why are you keaving Ethan Book off the hook? Don’t you agree that he’s the biggest loser of the primary? What position can he run for and actually win? At least Lydia gave them a scare and scored the endorsement of her candidates. What about the ghost losers, like the elected officials who played blind, death and mute as far as the 137th primary went. At least Senator Bradley (and his father) made it clear they were backing team Martinez. The 137th. gets it right. District leaders Ford, Robles and Martinez fall short. Congratulations to Aidee Nieves, Maria Valle, Jeanette Herron and Wanda Simmons.

      1. Loser, you talk about loser, well, that’s Ethan Book, this guy got so much coverage on OIB from his post, more than any other candidate running for any other elected city elected postion. More than likely Ethan getting ready for the rally on Saturday in support of those who got arrested on Jan. 6th.

  2. Interesting outcome. The political dynamic in the city is changing in tandem with the population/demographic changes. But this is still “Bridgeport.” The socioeconomic fundamentals are still the same. We’re still Connecticut’s bastard-stepchild largest city that the Gold Coast wants kept chained to the radiator in the back-bedroom in their Fairfield County house.

    While Gen Later may have gotten lucky in this four-round, exhibition bout against an aging slate of election-fighters that hasn’t done anything smart to maintain their political strength and agility, per enlisting new “personal trainers” and ‘coaches,” they (Gen Now) still don’t have a handle on the pulse of the city. Shouting “Corruption!” and “Reform!” hasn’t gotten any strong, political entities elected, ever, in Bridgeport. It really has only been through the brute, political force of repeated door-knocking/personal contact of carefully targeted voters that has won elections in Bridgeport. Usually, it is the well-financed efforts, with paid campaign staffers/outreach workers that win — reformer or status quo… And Bridgeporters generally respond best to outreach from fellow Bridgeporters/neighbors…

    The (institutional) Democratic Party in Bridgeport hasn’t maintained any real effort to reach out to the thousands of new citizens that have replaced their former, reliable, but now relocated constituency… They haven’t done anything to motivate political involvement at the neighborhood level from which they might recreate a reliable constituency from Bridgeport’s significantly-changed population/demographics…

    The situation in Bridgeport at the present time indicates that the Old Guard of the Democratic Party is being pushed aside, even before they can be allowed to step aside. They have not taken the steps to maintain any sort of continuity in “their” Party. There is a vacuum which Gen Later is trying to fill, albeit with an approach/vantage point that will not translate into real power in Bridgeport.

    Bridgeport is slowly coming to realize that it is its place in the pecking order of the region that makes life suck for most of the population. By regional design, we have no real tax-base. Our imposed, regionally-designated development consists of disrespectful, quality-of-life destroying, environmentally classist-racist, jobless, low-value development in over-populated/over-developed neighborhoods (e.g., our only development for the past 50 years has been tax-payer subsidized, failed entertainment-infrastructure ventures, and obtrusive, polluting, tax-base devaluing power plants/power infrastructure — and tax-negative workforce housing to service the huge, rich tax-base/lifestyle of the Gold Coast…).

    Bridgeport will only truly become politically healthy and viable when candidates that love and respect the city and its people, who are determined to restore the city to prosperity and its rightful regional primacy, are offered and supported and elected to the Mayoralty, City Council, and State Delegation to take the reins of the city and lead it to the high ground in the necessary fierce, political-socioeconomic battle with the Connecticut oligarchy which seeks to maintain the status quo in Fairfield County/the State.

    Generation Now is of the Gold Coast and is run by the Gold Coast for the Gold Coast and will not take this City where it needs and deserves to go. Generation Now is simply using Bridgeport as a training-ground/launching pad for the achievement of bigger and better personal political goals that don’t include Bridgeport. We have seen that with the political courtship of Bridgeport by Greenwich Ned and Gold Coast Dan who promised us everything and then forgot that we were part of Connecticut once they got elected with Bridgeport votes and support.

    No. We don’t need the interlopers, Gen Now. We need OUR Democratic Party to get its act together and field/support some strong, smart, Bridgeport-centric candidates for all offices, that will wage the good fight for our city. The current Democratic Party is not swimming with the current in the evolving city of Bridgeport. If the Old Guard is still wily and energetic enough to change, they had better retool and alter their approach to the political management of the Democratic Party of this city, or they will be swept out of the political back door by the interlopers and their misguided followers/supporters…

    So Lydia and Company, if they want to remain in play, had better do some analysis and take the necessary steps to correct their personal political failings and the systemic failing of the Party in its (presumed) mission of Bridgeport prosperity/well-being… They need help. Lots of help…

  3. Lennie,
    Can you reach out to Aileen Boyd, Tyler Mack and, to a lesser degree,
    Wanda Simmons and ask them to write a bio / issues statement to
    give the readers a bit more background on the new council reps.
    I would include Small but that would require permission from Maria.

    1. Bob, good suggestion, their voting handouts had that information listed. FaithActs has this listed in their ad above:
      About Aikeem
      Aikeem’s grandparents moved to Bridgeport in the 1940s and his family has been here ever since. When he was a child he used to walk over to City Hall to watch the City Council meetings. At that time he wanted to be the President. He graduated from John Winthrop Elementary and Central High School. After serving for five years in the U.S. Navy he earned a degree in Political Science from Fordham.

      We’ve known he would be in politics since he was three years old.

          1. LE, Maria’s political career is on the upswing, please, Maria can’t win any elected position outside of the 138th district, in fact she can’t even get elected as the 138th district leader out of their 9 members where all she needs is for 4 other members of the members to make her the district leader.

  4. Local Eyes
    Newton 274
    Majewski 191
    Dunbar 178 Newton 120 Simmons 80 machine. count
    Remember its the Two top Vote getters! remember she’ll be running against her on Partner lol on a third line.


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