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Special Election Fever In Winter, Line Of Potential State Senate Candidates Growing

December 31st, 2014 · 23 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, State Politics

East Side City Councilman Richard DeJesus, former leader of the Greater Bridgeport NAACP Carolyn Vermont, outgoing State Rep. Don Clemons and former mayoral candidate Carl Horton are among the candidates considering a run for the expected special election in Connecticut’s 23rd Senate District when incumbent Andres Ayala becomes commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Ed Gomes, who occupied the seat before Ayala defeated him in an August 2012 primary, has announced he’s in the race.

Governor Dan Malloy’s announcement he will appoint Ayala as DMV chief has set off a scramble of potential candidates that could also include State Rep.-elect Chris Rosario and fire commissioner Dennis Bradley.

When the Connecticut General Assembly convenes January 7, it will officially end Ayala’s first term in the State Senate. He won a second term in November running unopposed. His DMV appointment will trigger a call for a special election that will presumably take place in late February. Fire up the SUVs and snow plows. Good luck going door to door.

But first, party conventions to endorse respective candidates will take place. Democrats will use the same 50-plus delegates who endorsed Ayala at the May convention. Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa chose the Bridgeport delegates, a collection of party insiders and some newcomers who won seats on the Democratic Town Committee in March. The senate district covers about two-thirds of Bridgeport and portion of western Stratford. Stratford has five delegates as well.

Challengers can petition their way onto the ballot. They can also participate in Connecticut’s Citizens Election program of publicly funded campaigns. But the condensed process places a premium on organization to qualify for the labor-intensive public cash.

Will Mayor Bill Finch’s political operation play or stay out of it? Gomes, considered one of the leading candidates, and the mayor are not politically aligned. Finch folks must decide if it’s worth backing a candidate to take out Gomes as the mayor segues into his own reelection campaign in 2015.

Horton, a mayoral candidate in 2003 who failed to petition his way onto the ballot in the Democratic primary, is the husband of city Health Director Kristin duBay Horton.

DeJesus has a strong working relationship with Finch. Rosario, the city’s blight czar, has the closest relationship with Finch’s political organization among the potential field of candidates. For Rosario it would be a free run. He takes his oath of office for the State House and then can run in the special election. Will he? Rosario defeated Christina Ayala in an August primary in a field that included Dennis Bradley.

State Rep.-elect Andre Baker had also toyed with a run, but has told several political operatives he will not run if Ed Gomes is in the field.

Vermont, the former NAACP chief, has also been making calls gauging support.


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23 Comments so far ↓

  • Maria Pereira

    Isn’t Richard DeJesus the city council member on whom Angel DePara filed an extensive SEEC complaint alleging he listed his business as his residence and has illegally voted from this fraudulent address?
    Carolyn Vermont was the president of the Bridgeport chapter of the NAACP when the charter was revoked due to allegations of financial malfeasance, and she received a no-bid contract with FUSE for $10,000, however she was paid over $11,000 in violation of the contract.
    Don Clemmons, who was instrumental in bringing in Dr. Perry to open another charter school next year and whose daughter will serve on the board of Dr. Perry’s Charter School with Kenneth Moales, Carl McCluster and Reverend McCullough.
    Carl Horton who completely supports charter schools and serves on the Board of the millionaire- and billionaire-funded Excel Bridgeport. The same organization that spent $100,000 in support of the charter referendum to take away our right to vote for BOE members.
    Chris Rosario who is a taxpayer-funded henchmen who hasn’t served a single day as a state rep. and is already considering higher office.
    And last and definitely least, Andre Baker. Is there any office Andre Baker doesn’t want to run for? As most of us already know, it doesn’t matter what Andre has told anyone, his word means absolutely nothing. Didn’t he tell many people eye to eye he wasn’t running for state rep.? I don’t care if it is ten degrees below, I will work like a piranha to make sure he is SOUNDLY defeated in Thomas Hooker.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    All the candidates listed as interested in this senate seat are Finch toadies except for DeJesus and Gardner. Rosario has not served one day in elective office, I suggest he try to be a state rep first. DeJesus, stop listening to people blowing smoke up your ass and stay where you are. Clemons, you have done nothing. Stay home on the couch. Vermont, learn how to manage an organization before running for office. Just how many candidates know the area covered by this senatorial district? I would consider running but I am scheduled for a sharp stick in the eye on election day. I will be voting for my friend of more than 50 years, Ed Gomes.

    • Maria Pereira

      DeJesus is 100% a Finch puppet and I did not see Gardner identified as a potential candidate???

      • Local Eyes

        Maria Pereira is upset because Chris Rosario has options, which is the trait of winners. Should he take the oath and serve or should he take the oath, run and serve? He didn’t create the political void but it’s a nice problem to have. I’m happy for him.
        Who has the most to gain and the least to lose? Answer: Ed Gomes, my tablemate from the 2010 Democratic dinner at Testo’s, where Mayor Finch was MC and Dan Malloy was candidate for Governor.

  • DavidDanielsIII

    Welcome to Bridgeport!!!

  • Maria Pereira

    Local Eyes, I am not upset about Chris Rosario. In Thomas Hooker there is a strong anti-Finch sentiment. Chris Rosario is a Mayor Finch appointee. His direct link to Mayor Finch makes my work in Thomas Hooker that much easier, not harder.


    Happy New Year to the People of OIB! I would like to express my many thanks to the 9-12 people who have provided me with a another full year of negative, worthless, fun-filled, anti-Finch bullshit. As we close out another corrupt year and as we look forward to further increases in the Park City debt, keep up the good work, regarding that old, dirty, corrupt, rundown City you call Bridgeport.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    When the city offers amenities and such to people working in Bridgeport then maybe they will stay. If we offered an improved school system, people may move here. After the next reassessment next year more people will be leaving. How many city employees including BOE employees live here?

    • Ron Mackey

      Andy Fardy, some good points. If the City gave preference to hiring those who pay the salary and benefits of City employees by allowing only those who reside in Bridgeport to take the exams for City jobs, these employees could move out “if” they want after they are hired but hopefully they will stay.

  • carolanne curry

    Your inventory may be accurate, but it is not productive at this point. Because YOU lay out no message of motivation or persuasion to voters in BPT.
    We expect you have a plan at the end of the day.
    Perhaps a dynamic woman, who knows and who needs now to act.
    Timing is everything Maria. You don’t get these opportunities too often. Ask Carman if I’m right or wrong.
    And, you’re not going to get a funded campaign in Bpt that will not attract the “ept” and the inept.
    Have you made any kind of alliance with CW4BB?
    You know a single issue could wrap this election up for somebody good.

  • Maria Pereira

    Carolanne, why do YOU think it is appropriate for YOU, a Westport resident, to advise me on what type of message I should or should not “lay out” to voters in Bridgeport?

    I am unclear as to what exactly you are trying to articulate.

  • carolanne curry

    That’s a pretty immature response, Maria. I gave you more credit than that.

    • Maria Pereira

      Whether it is immature or not, that is my response. The reality is every political campaign I have been involved in has been victorious, therefore I must be doing something right.

      You cannot make the same claim. Didn’t you recently run for office and lost? If so, isn’t it you who needs to do a better job of crafting a message of motivation and persuasion, not I?

      • carolanne curry

        Maria Pereira // Jan 2, 2015 at 7:40 am
        To your posting.

        At the acknowledgement of your immaturity, there’s not much else one can say to a person who doesn’t accept the reality that if you win the Democratic Primary in Bridgeport, you literally win the general election.
        If you lose in a district as a first-time Democratic candidate where the majority party of registered voters is not your party by 4, 5, 6 to 1, and the opponent is a 14-term legislator, you’ve done something for the health of your party, which is strategically the right thing to do under those circumstances.
        What you do as a Democratic candidate under those circumstances, you drive home the message of the Democratic Party as best you can wherever you can. You run even though the seat has never been held by a Democrat, you run because you are a Democrat.

        When you go to the Women’s Campaign Campaign at Yale University as many other Bridgeport women have done, these are some of the nuances of election campaigns you may not have had the circumstances to experience. Bridgeport campaigns are markedly their own style.

        • Maria Pereira

          Carolanne, I have no idea what these ramblings you have been posting are all about. I don’t know who these many Bridgeport women are who have attended the Women’s Campaign at Yale, however I do know the recent campaigns you have been heavily involved in have failed. I also know after what you did to John Gomes to the benefit of Mary-Jane Foster says you cannot be trusted, therefore I would rather be known as immature instead of being known as a traitor and dishonest.

          • carolanne curry

            You know so little, it’s harmful …
            John folded and he doesn’t have the balls to admit why. I’m thinking you project a little too much, Maria. Understandable when you are in the dark about some of John’s problems.


    Notice John Gomes’ name was intentionally left out once again, after all he did text OIB he was interested, the bias rears its ugly head again.

    • LennieGrimaldi

      I wrote about John Gomes’ interest in a prior story. John had an excellent opportunity to be elected to the City Council in 2013 when all endorsed candidates for school board and City Council were defeated. He declined to run. Then he decided to run for a seat on the Democratic Town Committee last year and lost. So how is John going to wage a credible race for state senate? I’m listening.

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