The Warrior Ed Gomes Going Out On His Own Terms

Ed Gomes
Ed Gomes

State Senator Ed Gomes, the plainspoken warrior of city politics who lost his seat in a 2012 primary only to return in historic fashion in a 2015 special election riding the Working Families Party banner, will not seek reelection this year. He turns 82 next month. See background here. Gomes’ 23rd Senate District covers about two thirds of the city and a portion of western Stratford.

Gomes’ former legislative aide Aaron Turner is contemplating a run for Gomes’ seat. Gomes says he will support him. Board of Education member Dennis Bradley, who edged Gomes for the Democratic Party endorsement in 2016, says he’s eyeing another run. Gomes defeated him in the primary. Former Bridgeport NAACP leader Carolyn Vermont is also considering a run. Gomes has been successful in recent years without the backing of the Democratic political establishment. The party endorsement for the seat will take place in May, followed by a potential August primary.

Aaron Turner considers run.

Gomes, a no-nonsense retired steelworker who worked decades as a union steward and negotiator, told OIB he’s ready to go out on his own terms. “The problem so many people have in this business is that they don’t know when to leave. I’ll be 82, a little long in the tooth, but happy for my years of public service. It’s time to go out on my own terms.”

His primary loss in 2012 to State Rep. Andres Ayala, with Ernie Newton placing second, left a sour taste, not against his competitors but over a controversial redistricting of his senate turf while he was convalescing from heart surgery in the hospital. Senate leadership had carved his voter base in the African American strong Wilbur Cross precinct into the district of then incumbent Anthony Musto to protect Musto against a strong Republican challenger in the adjoining city-suburban district. That move would backfire. In 2014 Gomes’ former legislative aide Marilyn Moore leveraged the Wilbur Cross vote to upset Musto in a Democratic primary.

Dennis Bradley
School board member Dennis Bradley is planning another run for State Senate.

A special election was required in 2015 when Ayala was appointed commissioner of the State Department of Motor Vehicles by Governor Dan Malloy. Ayala is no longer in that role.

Gomes easily reclaimed the State Senate seat he lost in 2012 in a historic win running on the Connecticut Working Families Party line, over Democratic-endorsed Ricky DeJesus, then a city councilor and petitioning candidate Ken Moales, then a member of the Board of Education, both of whom at one time had the backing of then-Mayor Bill Finch’s political operation.

DeJesus had won a controversial nomination at the party convention, following a tie vote with Gomes, broken by DeJesus’ attorney Ed Farrow, the convention chair. Days later it was revealed DeJesus had massive back-tax issues owing the city more than $150,000 while Farrow had represented him in a contentious child-support case in which a warrant had been issued for DeJesus’ arrest.

Meanwhile, Gomes won the endorsement of the Connecticut Working Families Party, providing him a place on the ballot. Finch’s political operation that had delivered the endorsement to DeJesus, reversed its support of DeJesus for Moales hoping to block a Gomes victory. Gomes had an adversarial relationship with Finch. Moales also had his own back-tax issues involving a daycare center he operates under the umbrella of his church.

Gomes stitched together a coalition of Democratic progressives, reformers and Working Families Party operatives for an impressive citywide win, as well as the Stratford portion of Connecticut’s 23 Senate District.



  1. Ed Gomes, I want to personally thank you for leadership, wisdom, knowledge in educating me on labor and union issues when I was a young strong minded person and thought I knew everything. I could go on but I won’t. Whenever I was with Ed around a group of people I would tell Ed that when I grow up that I wanted to be just like you and Ed would say son you don’t want much out of life and we all would laugh. Aaron Turner you have my full support in running for the State Senate, Ed has always spoke very highly of you and your work ethic and your knowledge. Thanks Ed.

  2. Congratulations on your political career Ed, you’ve always been a class act and have comported yourself like a gentleman in and out of politics. I’m proud that you call me your friend. Aaron,I’ve had the pleasure to work with you and it would be my pleasure to work for you.

  3. Thank you Senator Gomes for your support and service. I’m honored to call you FRIEND. Your WISDOM and advice in politics has remained in my heart.

  4. Best wishes Ed Gomes. Thank you for your many years of service to the city of Bridgeport. It has been a pleasure working on a campaign or 2 with you.

    AAron Turner is a wonderful man and I have also had the pleasure of working with. He will make a fine candidate.

    Dennis Bradley is also an excellent candidate. Not only an attorney and a member of the Bridgeport Board of Education and a public servant, but has been involved in countless charitable events throughout the city and an awesome Emcee.

    Carolyn Vermont is also a very fine candidate. Not only a former NAACP leader but serves on many steering committees and boards. A very well respected woman within and outside of her community.

    It is nice to have 3 qualified and passionate individuals running in a district. I wish them all well.

    Again, Best wishes to Mr. Gomes. Thank you for all of your efforts and many accomplishments.

  5. Ed Gomes supported me 35 years ago and was solely responsible for my tenure as a councilwoman and president of the CC. He taught me that it’s easier to follow the law and rules of politics than it is to break them. He’s the wisest man I know with integrity and courage that is unmatched in today’s political climate. He was a tough act to follow when he served on the CC, and will be an even tougher one to follow now. He will be leaving his successor with an example of what a politician should be..

  6. Watching and listening to Ed Gomes these last few years has been worthwhile. He is a man who has lived a number of critical experiences that are brought to bear in his representation of 2/3 of Bridgeport’s residents. He is open to meet with folks where they are, and not where he happens to be at a given moment, unlike some others locally in recent years. For all his years in public life he has not seen his integrity soiled by his public service. Whether he has learned all that is possible about a certain issue, he has shown an interest in knowing all sides of those questions, and that is certainly important when it comes to governance, because sometimes things do not work out as planned and promoted and flexibility is necessary to retrieve some benefit.

    Aaron Turner has operated in the background, but that should mean a familiarity with the themes and the players in Hartford. I have reason to trust his word and he is certainly a serious individual, with enough accomplishment under his belt to be considered a worthy candidate at this time.

    Ed, I wish you a special time of health and peace as you transition from a mighty public role, where you worked for others, so that you can now enjoy a more senior role sharing your gathered wisdom where its application may continue to work for all of the people. Time will tell.

  7. I was asked Senator Gomes why does he always dress like he is going to a funeral.
    His response was “Ya never know when your time is up.”
    I guess his time is up.

  8. Ed, it’s been my very great privilege to work with you for lo these many years and to call you my friend. You’re the real deal and I wish you nothing but the best.

    Your old friend, John Soltis.

  9. ED i REMEMBER HEN YOU CAME TO cARPENTER tECH IN THE EARLY 60’S . We have been friends for many many years. Thank you for your service.
    Ed why not run for mayor? I saw yesterday that a town in New Jersey elected a 93 year old mayor. The city needs someone like you so we can get rid of that little prick thats there now. Good Luck Ed

  10. Ed should serve as an example of “real advocacy — with balls” for those aspiring, Bridgeport politician-advocates coming up after him… I haven’t always agreed with him, politically, but I have always liked and respected him…

    Ed retires with a gold star in front of his name, in my book…


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