My oh my, State Rep. Bob Keeley, the longest serving legislator in Bridgeport’s history, has been taken out by Auden Grogins, the blonde banshee from Black Rock.
Machine totals show Grogins a 655 to 576 winner. At approximately 11 p.m. Tuesday I spoke with Democratic Registrar of Voters Sandy Ayala who said Grogins also had a slight lead on absentee ballots. Machine totals:
Black Rock: Grogins 282, Keeley 231
Longfellow: Grogins 154, Keeley 108
Central: Grogins 219, Keeley 237
What happened? Leveraging a strong direct-mail campaign, Grogins worked hard and did a better job of defining Keeley’s lack of performance than he did defining his legislative seniority. Grogins ran close to Keeley in Keeley’s home precinct of Central by door knocking, phone calling and identifying pockets of Jewish voters underwhelmed by the incumbent’s performance. Grogins’ rabbi Israel Stein delivered. She also had an overall message that played with voters: Connecticut is too expensive and the state needs a property tax cap to keep taxes from going out of control.
Primaries are all about identifying friends and dragging them to the polls. Grogins’ operation of phone callers, pullers and drivers was superior to Keeley, first elected in 1982.
Once again Black Rock, that cozy waterfront hamlet, established itself as the highest percentage turnout area of the city, by far. Roughly one-third of registered Black Rock Dems cast ballots. Most of the rest of the city voted in the low to mid teens, following the statewide trend. A great night for District Leader Danny Roach. I wonder how much juniper was consumed at his bar last night.
It was a good night for Mayor Bill Finch, a Grogins supporter, who realized that he couldn’t help Grogins in areas where he raised taxes. The mayor picked an area where he still has standing: the West End, home to P. T. Barnum apartments. He spent the final hours before the polls closed urging P.T. voters to cast a ballot at Longfellow School which produced a higher turnout than either the Grogins or Keeley camps had anticipated.
It was not a great night for Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa who cast the deciding vote that delivered the Democratic Town Committee endorsement to Keeley. Why do I get the feeling former chairman John Stafstrom, a Grogins supporter, is feeling pretty good?
In the state senate primary, Anthony Musto held off a charge by Marilyn Moore who took the city from the endorsed candidate. Moore defeated him in the North End, including a 303-177 win at Blackham. She also took Black Rock by a close margin. But Musto ran up large numbers in Trumbull, his home town, to pull ahead by roughly 200 votes. Moore conceded to Musto before midnight. Musto will face Republican State Sen. Rob Russo in November.
Other results: Jim Himes runs up a lopsided win over Lee Whitnum. In State House races incumbent Andres Ayala easily defeated Lydia Martinez, Ezequiel Santiago won big over Chico Rivera and Sly Salcedo, and State Rep. Chris Caruso won handily over City Councilman Carlos Silva.
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