Turner, Vermont Push Primary Against Bradley In Open State Senate Seat

Aaron Turner

Lots of pols scouring various districts to secure sufficient petition signatures to forge an August 14 primary, among them Democrats Aaron Turner and Carolyn Vermont seeking a challenge of party endorsed Dennis Bradley for the 23rd Senate District seat of a retiring Ed Gomes. Turner and Vermont can start that process Tuesday (today), according to the state election calendar. The deadline to submit petitions is June 12. So they have two weeks to hustle roughly 1,500 verified signatures from district Democrats.

Connecticut’s 23rd Senate District covers roughly two thirds of Bridgeport and a portion of western Stratford. It has historic underpinnings dating to 1980 when a determined funeral home director Margaret Morton, a transformational figure in city politics, wrangled the seat from incumbent Sal DePiano in a tight primary, becoming the first African American woman elected to the Connecticut State Senate. In succession the seat has been served by Morton, Alvin Penn, Ernie Newton, Ed Gomes, Andres Ayala and Gomes, once again.

Carolyn Vermont

Two years ago Bradley won the endorsement, but was defeated by Gomes in a competitive primary. The young lawyer won a Board of Education seat in 2015 running on Joe Ganim’s mayoral line. He has butted heads with school board member Maria Periera over education issues. Pereira, former leader in the 138th District, is supporting Turner, an ex legislative aide to Gomes. Jessica Martinez, a school board member elected last year, is supporting Bradley.

Expect some charges and counter charges in this race. Turner has filed an SEEC complaint against Bradley accused of an inappropriate financial overture to a Stratford mayoral candidate. Bradley denies the charges.

Vermont has been active in a variety of nonprofit and social service organizations for years, including as ex head of the Greater Bridgeport NAACP.

Absentee ballot operatives for Bradley and Turner, assuming a primary, will be working this primary hard, for every advantage. These primaries tend to be low-turnout affairs, with a premium on identifying friends and dragging them to the polls, with a serious dose of absentee voting particularly from senior citizen housing complexes.

Bradley acceptance speech

Turnout for this race will be juiced if Ganim himself qualifies for a Democratic primary for governor against party endorsed Ned Lamont. Ganim operatives are fanned out across several Connecticut cities trying to bag more than 15,000 verified signatures from Democratic electors. While the deadline to submit primary petitions is June 12, Ganim will not learn ballot approval until notification by the Office of the Connecticut Secretary of the State by June 19. The Ganim campaign operation is looking to submit roughly 20,000 signatures to the respective local registrars combined, as a cushion, to allow for a 20 percent or so fail rate for invalidated signers.

Bradley, Turner and Vermont are participating in Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded races that infuses $84,450 in a primary for qualifying senate candidates in a party dominant district. They must raise $15,000 in donations of $250 or less to trigger the grant.

Ganim and Lamont are not participating in the program. Lamont, a wealthy entrepreneur, is self funding his race to the tune of millions of dollars while Ganim is raising moolah under the requirements prior to passage of public financing because he’s precluded from participation as a result of his 2003 public office felony conviction. If Ganim takes it to primary day he will be outspent heavily, but the money Lamont and Ganim spend will influence turnout of other primary races.



  1. How in the hell will things ever get better in Bridgeport when the endorsed candidate is accused of inappropriate financial dealings where he is bribing his way for a position for a $5000 donation. How in the hell can the people that endorsed this fool be satisfied with their choice, thinking, feeling and believing that this is the best choice for Bridgeport. Has things in the city slipped this low that an individual that tried to bribe his way into a position is being considered as a viable candidate? You wonder why people tend to look at Bridgeport like it’s the laughing stock of Connecticut.

    To those individuals that endorsed this bribing fool you need to be ashamed of yourselves and should you decide to get your head out of Mayor Ganim’s ass you’ll see the world from a new and honorable perspective.

  2. Don, not only is fool Dennis Bradley is accused of inappropriate financial dealings where he is bribing his way for a position for a $5000 donation but he also bully the Bridgeport Board Of Education into a boycott of BBOE meetings and preventing the business of the education of the 21,000 students in Bridgeport. Below is from Only In Bridgeport.

    “Chaos On School Board, Chairman Dennis Bradley And Others Refuse To Attend Meetings Until Pereira Resigns–Pereira: No Way”

    September 12th, 2016

    Asserting “we as a group have agreed that we will no longer regularly attend Board of Education meetings until such time as Ms. Pereira resigns her position,” several Board of Education members including Chairman Dennis Bradley announced on Monday they will boycott regular school board meetings until Maria Pereira leaves, charging dysfunction on the board and “harassment” by Pereira who on Monday filed a lawsuit in Superior Court challenging Mayor Joe Ganim’s appointment of Annette Segarra-Negron to fill the vacancy of Dave Hennessey. Pereira says she’s not resigning.

    Bradley kicked out this news release Monday afternoon announcing the cancellation of a school board meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Geraldine Johnson School.

    Bridgeport Board of Education Chairman Dennis Bradley today announced that tonight’s scheduled Board of Education Meeting has been cancelled due to a lack of quorum of board members present for the meeting. A number of Board of Education members including Chairman Bradley and members Joe Larcheveque, Annette Segarra-Negron and Kevin McSpirit are refusing to convene any further board meetings until BOE member Maria Pereira resigns, citing recent dysfunction on the board and harassment by Pereira against other board members, Board of Education staff, and the interim Superintendent of Bridgeport Public Schools.

  3. I spent 4 hours canvassing on Saturday and 51/2 hours canvassing on Sunday. My back was pretty sore but I survived.

    I promoted Aaron but took the opportunity to educate each voter why they should not support Ganim for governor. I convinced 90% of voters to vote for Ned Lamont and got every voters phone number except two.

    My friend just came over and told me Tyreke Bird was circulating Ganim petitions at my neighbors house. I went over and told my neighbor that Tyreke Bird plead guilty to Reckless Endangerment after running over two little boys on their bikes and left them laying in the street after he left the scene of the accident. I explained he is on probation and was rearrested recently for driving without a license and insurance.

    Tyreke took off when he saw me approaching and yelled out I was slandering him. I made it clear that everything I stated was available on judicial.gov.

    Andy stated people were circulating petitions on our street already. If someone else circulates the petition on our street isn’t it a duplication of many of the same signatures???

  4. *** This young man “Aron Turner”,seems to have political promise that the Bpt. legislation has been lacking for some time! *** Bpt. needs a shot of unity, youth & energy to get some Ct. capitol respect, not left-over political sympathy like in the past & present.***

  5. Aaron Turner is by far the best of the rest. But that being said he had better plan on being in a dog fight. The incident in Stratford shows that Dennis Bradley will do anything and everything to win.
    Do not take anything for granted Aaron. Do not assume anything.
    And most of all, do not count on Denise Merril’s Office doing anything to help.

  6. Here is a topic that was posted in Only In Bridgeport concerning Carolyn Vermont and the NAACP.

    “Reorganization Of Local NAACP On Monday Night”

    April 21st, 2013 · 3 Comments · News and Events

    A reorganization of the Greater Bridgeport NAACP will take place Monday 7 p.m. at Messiah Baptist Church, 210 Congress Street, according to branch President Carolyn Vermont. Scot Esdaile, Connecticut NAACP State Conference president, will chair the meeting ordered by leaders of the national civil rights organization. The National Board of NAACP ordered “all elected officers and executive committee members be removed” and the local branch reorganized including an election of new officers following dissension within the ranks of the local branch as well as accusations of non-compliance processing financial information.

    Roger Vann, Chief Operating Officer of the national NAACP, sent a certified letter dated March 11 to Vermont who’s been embroiled in a dispute with several officers and executive committee members of the local chapter including Board of Education member Bobby Simmons over access to financial records. The memberships of Simmons and branch officers Keith Williams, Jeff Baldwin and Delores Crawford-Carey were suspended by the national headquarters for directing People’s United Bank to remove Vermont and the Treasurer Errol Earle as signatories of the branch bank account, in violation of NAACP policy.

    Simmons, who is appealing the suspension, insists he and the others were within their rights to remove Vermont and Earle as signatories because “Vermont and the treasurer repeatedly refused to release the financial information” requested by the group.

    “I certainly think that the measures undertaken by the Branch’s Executive Committee were appropriate in view of verifiable accusations that fundraisers were being held in the name of the Bridgeport NAACP Chapter; however, no reporting as to the receipts collected were disclosed and reported to the Branch’s Executive Committee and General Membership by Vermont and/or the treasurer,” Simmons, a certified public accountant, wrote to OIB several weeks ago.

    Vermont disputes Simmons’ assertions, saying she is compliant within her responsibilities as president.

    3 Comments so far:

    Mojo // Apr 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    *** This organization locally and on the national level is in dire need of positive change from top to bottom. They want to expand their minority membership across the nation yet after one pays their membership fee, you get one letter or email of thanks and never hear anything again concerning the party except sometimes during an election period. This is far from what the NAACP overall agenda should be if they intend to continue being a force in the advancement of minorities in general, no? *** STILL WAITING ON MY RENEWED MEMBERSHIP I.D. ***

    Ron Mackey // Apr 21, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Mojo, I hear you; but with any organization it is only as good as those who attend and those who attend make the decision. I am a member of the NAACP but I never attend any meetings.

    Mojo // Apr 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    *** Ron, without any info, communications, etc. about meetings or anything period, one cannot get involved or attend meetings, no? *** ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN ***

  7. Ron and Mojo,
    Thank you for indicating a communications gap. The GREATER BRIDGEPORT NAACP BRANCH 2002 was reorganized several years ago under the leadership of George Mintz. Re-building, under the auspices of State President, Scott Esdaile, and National Administrators, stretches timelines and communications at times.

    However regular meetings are scheduled for the 4th Thursday of each month at the Burroughs Community Center on Fairfield Avenue in Black Rock. Executive Board session at 5:30 pm and general meeting scheduled at 6:30 PM until 8:00 PM. I have been on the Board for a couple years and acknowledge Freedom Fund dinners, activity on individual grievances on human rights issues, the publication for two years of a quarterly newsletter, and several other activities around criminal justice system, housing and education.

    If you are in doubt on current membership status, a contact with local membership officials may help. Lifetime membership contracts are handled through NAACP HQ in Baltimore. Most other memberships are annual and must be paid every 12 months to be current.

    And as someone said above, if you are not at the meetings, volunteering to assist or contribute in a serious manner, things are not likely to improve, all on their own. Time will tell.

  8. JML
    Andy Fardy asked a question about Caroline Vermont and Ron answered it. (Wasn’t there some problems with Caroline Vermont and the NAACP).
    You turn it around and tell us about the wonderful things YOU are doing on the board and critize them.
    What does one thing have to do with the other.

    1. Bob,
      Actually Ron threw up some headlines from the past as well as some OIB comments. Did they seem to answer all of what was implied in Andy Fardy’s question? So I took the opportunity to change a “history lesson” that may or may not seem fair to Carolyn Vermont or others whose name was raised, and shared the current status of NAACP.
      By the way, when folks can only spout history, perhaps they are not current? And it is an opportunity to communicate that I was seizing upon to “show the flag” so to speak. There is grievance activity in pursuit of civil rights being pursued in this Branch by people of the four town region.

      So, if you read below, and can connect the dots about rendering history and currency, you can see Ron proudly holding up his current opinions of community members. But it is not fair to the broader community for this historically notable organization standing up for civil rights of blacks to deny the opportunity to the current NAACP organization to represent its honorable, active, and credible present. People still reach out for redress. Where are you, Ron and Don, to take on an active role in this regard?

      You guys are my neighbors but make things so personal, it’s humorous. Donald Day keeps repeating his mantra, ad nauseam, about what he portrays as my feelings, though he has never sought to inquire about same. Ron Mackey avoids meeting with me, that can be a learning experience for me (and teaching experience for him) as if it would be a toxic experience for him. And Bob as troll, can only see “critize” activity? Time will tell.

      1. JML, what I post on OIB was publicly published and if there are incorrect information then Ms Vermont should correct if there is something that’s false. The Firebird Society of Bridgeport is a lifetime member as a organization and I was a member until the local NAACP lost it’s charter and my membership expired because there was no local NAACP chapter. Because of all the infighting I refuse to rejoin. I totally understand the history and the need for the NAACP but we bought some issues to Ms Vermont that we had concerns about but she did absolutely nothing. There is no way that I will renew my membership.

        1. Ron,
          Thank you for sharing an up to date version of Ron Mackey and NAACP. I met with Darrien Penix, Firebird President to prepare an article for the NAACP February 2018 newsletter. The one hundred or so members of the chapter (active and retired) engages in charitable work as well as support of training and professional development for others in the face of discrimination. Mr. Penix and his family are Bridgeport residents, but I did not learn about an NAACP lifetime membership from him. Thank you for contributing your knowledge of such history.
          You speak of membership expiry, no organization and infighting? All history, Ron, and grievances and discrimination will continue as long as people refuse to learn from history rather than become partisan and stay divided, in my opinion. We are neighbors with common concerns that need to be addressed by elected leadership. While there is breath available, I will pursue that path. Success looks like what? Time will tell.

          1. Really, why should Ron or anyone else listen to your bloviating BS. Aren’t you the person that described Ron and me as the OIB’s guardians of colored issues. What a demeaning choice of words from a supposed member of the NAACP executive board. Did Penix know that you referred to black’s as colored? Would you address the membership of the NAACP as colored people? Hell no you wouldn’t and yet you felt justified in referring to us as such.

            What’s next from your sorry ass, are we going to be described as YOU PEOPLE?

  9. You’re absolutely correct Bobby, one had nothing to do with the other. He feels a need to always show he’s the smartest person in the room, ad nauseum.

  10. “State takes over local NAACP chapter
    State chapter takes over Bridgeport branch as arrest widens internal rift within civil rights organization”

    By Keila Torres Ocasio Updated 12:33 am, Tuesday, April 23, 2013


    (Below is a portion of the article above.)

    The incident comes just three months after Vermont phoned Police Chief Joseph Gaudett during a meeting to charge Winston with harassment. She claimed he was being disruptive and talking over her.

    The rift between Vermont and Winston provides a window into how the state takeover came to be. The two are on opposing sides of a larger battle brewing within the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People over control of financial statements and membership information.

    Winston and other members say Vermont has failed to provide annual reports or regular updates on the funds raised by the organization, accusations she says are not true.

    Their discontent with her presidency came to a head in November when four of the organization’s executive committee members sent a letter on NAACP letterhead to People’s United Bank, removing Vermont and treasurer Errol Earle from the account. The board members made first vice president Keith Williams the assigner instead.

    But both moves were against the NAACP bylaws, according to letters sent from the national NAACP office to the four individuals.

    In identical letters dated Feb. 25, national NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous informed Williams, second vice president Jeff Baldwin, secretary Delores Crawford-Carey and committee member Bobby Simmons that their memberships had been suspended.
    “This action is taken to protect the NAACP from the danger of irreparable harm,” Jealous wrote.

    The following month Vermont was notified of plans for the state branch to take over. Scot X. Esdaile, state NAACP president, declined to comment Monday, as did a spokesman for the national NAACP.

    1. Let me say this about first vice president Keith Williams, second vice Jeff Baldwin and committee member Bobby Simmons, these three men are three of the most respected, honest and trustworthy men that I’ve ever known and to have had the pleasure to know and to work along with in trying to make things better for the black community.


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