The Bubbling Battle For City Council President – Nieves Or Mack?

City Council President Aidee Nieves.

Here’s a first: Mayor Joe Ganim will serve as the master of ceremonies for Friday’s swearing-in ceremony of all elected officials, except himself, because, well….

While the odyssey of this mayoral election cycle plays out a few more months into 2024, the short term action for the key legislative leader centers on the contest for City Council president where councilman Tyler Mack is moving against incumbent Aidee Nieves. Mayoral politics is also at play in this combat.

Council insiders say this one looks tight. All council members will take the oath of office for another term on Friday in advance of the first legislative meeting of the new session on Monday. Typically the organizational meeting of the council takes place during that first session, first order of business election of the legislative leader by the 20-member body followed by the president’s committee assignments.

Mack, 27 years old, represents the 131st District covering Downtown, South End and portion of West End. He has has built a sturdy legislative resume by profession as a former aide to the senate leader in Hartford and now a community outreach manager for Congressman Jim Himes.

Nieves has appointed him to key council committees such as co-chair of Ordinance as well as Budget and Appropriations membership.

Tyler Mack

Why the challenge? Some of this is political, some personal, some opportunistic. Mack is not a Mayor Joe Ganim supporter.

Nieves and Ganim have largely been allies politically and governmentally, Nieves shepherding many of his initiatives requiring legislative ratification. But she has shown independence from the chief executive beefing up checks and balances on the executive branch of government.

One of her supporters East End Councilman Ernie Newton whom Nieves named second in command of the council, says she “has brought the council into the 21st Century” via staffing initiatives, challenging the autonomy of the City Attorney’s Office that advises the council on legal matters but reports to the chief executive, pushing back on the mayor’s budget proposals and calling for City Charter changes the mayor opposed.

This is tricky business for Ganim trying to stave off John Gomes in another Democratic primary January 23 with the backdrop of absentee ballot manipulation that caused a state judge to order a redo after Ganim had been named the certified winner by 251 votes.

Examining Ganim’s key voter support margins from the East Side 137th District that Nieves represents, in addition to the 136th and 139th Districts have kept him afloat against Gomes’ backing  in other areas of the city.

Ganim faces a fragile voter existence with Gomes. Neither side, considering the anemic turnout in the first primary and then the general election Ganim won in a tight contest, has galvanized electorate inspiration.

If Mack pulls this off, Ganim looks weak, exacerbating a brittle existence. It provides the Gomes camp a cudgel to exploit his vulnerability. Also, if Nieves is not council president does it diminish her motivation to work her constituency on behalf of the mayor?

Then, there’s also this, segueing back to government from campaigning: When the dust or snow or ice or thaw or commandment from parts unknown settles this kooky mayoral madness, whoever is mayor must deal with a council president on the cusp of budget season.

Yup. How does that sort out?










  1. Most political issues Citywide should have settled into history, but 2023 is a different year recording them in Bridgeport. Former State Rep “Jack” Hennessey has written an OPED for the CT Mirror in which he questions the seeming inattention of Governor Lamont to election practices in Bridgeport and also takes a “shout out” at Bridgeport’s DTC Chair, Mario Testa, for his continued silence as to the standing of one or more active Democrats in absentee ballot shenanigans gone so bad that “taking the fifth” keeps consequences at bay, temporarily at least.

    And this column discusses the next Bridgeport vote arriving on Monday within the City Council for the role of president. OIB, more fully than most, has assessed the incumbent, currently, Council rep Aidee Nieves, and a potential challenger, Council rep Tyler Mack, specifically and seemingly fair within the overall context of being a Bridgeport legislator, in my opinion. Who will lead the Council when the vote is complete?

    And what of the UI power lines through Bridgeport where catenary lines will be replaced with monopoles or duopoles at heights over 150 feet in places to become “safe” for people from electromagnetic forces that affect folks, and about 10 acres of City property would be subject to permanent easements (likely reducing financial values and future plans for development) reducing taxes? affecting churches and historic properties in the path? and the Governor may have open positions on the siting council? and finally what is in it for Bridgeport to remain silent or in the dark at this time on this issue?

    Yet the major issue brought to the attention of our CC on Monday evening seems to be a ceasefire in the battle between Israel and Palestine from the number of residents signed up to speak in favor of peace. I hope that those signed up will speak about peace elegantly and with passion. Guns are less welcome than our laws provide and citizens opine, but the City Council needs opinions on City issues which they adress in multiple committees and substantial Primary ballots to become complete in late January so that a path to leadership can become complete. We need to improve the voter muscle of the community to better than the 19.8% registered by all voters on November 7. Seriously? Time will tell.

  2. John, I would put Adiee in Mario/Wanda’s camp/conspiracy, considering how Gen Now feels about G2
    and their hit pieces against him.

    To be fair, I believe holier-than-thou supports Mack too. Though I believe there was a slight. It’s hard to hard to see what Gen Now is cooking to their taste the movement. JS

    Let’s see if Port’s Moses can part the CC.


Leave a Reply