2018 is shaping up as an extraordinary election cycle featuring two Bridgeport candidates for governor, Democratic Mayor Joe Ganim and Republican David Walker, the former U.S. comptroller general, in a wild field on both sides of the political spectrum. This is also a state legislative year as candidates position ahead of May endorsement sessions followed by expected August primaries.
First up, however, March primaries to settle Democratic Town Committee slots that will impact the near future of Ganim and major booster Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa. DTC members conduct party business and endorse candidates for public office. They also choose a chair that selects the delegates to the state party convention. That, at least, is the way it works in Bridgeport under Testa’s control. Ganim needs 15 percent delegate support at the state party convention to qualify for the August primary for governor. The Democratic field for governor is a work in progress.
The DTC features 90 members across 10 districts. Primaries are expected in at least five districts. We’ll learn more in the upcoming week as various slates emerge for winter campaigning comprised of party regulars and insurgents seeking to take control.
Meanwhile, we await the ruling by the Connecticut Supreme Court regarding Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis’ decision to order a third Democratic primary in the City Council’s 133rd District after former State Rep. Bob Keeley challenged the results not once, but twice. The judge ordered new primaries based on questionable absentee ballots. If the Supremes side with Bellis representation in the North End district will not be decided until spring, at the very least.
Many moving parts are underway for state legislative seats. Incumbent State Senator Ed Gomes has announced he’ll not seek another two-year term, tapping his former legislative aide Aaron Turner as his preferred replacement. School board member Dennis Bradley, who lost a Democratic primary to Gomes in 2016, says he’ll run again. Former leader of the local NAACP Carolyn Vermont is also poised to get in. Any other takers?
Shante Hanks, former district deputy director to Congressman Jim Himes, is eyeing the seat of incumbent State House member Charlie Stallworth. Does a Democratic primary loom?
Other primary battles could take shape as well.
A lot of what happens this cycle could impact the 2019 mayoral race depending on the pieces in play. If Ganim’s long-shot effort for governor fails, he has $200,000 already banked for his mayoral reelection next year. The most prominent potential Democratic primary challenger is State Senator Marilyn Moore up for reelection this year with no formidable opponent so far.
Strap in, it’s gonna be a wild ride.