Voter Enrollment Cleaned Up, Dems With 10 To 1 Registration Advantage

Torres on bike
Republican Enrique Torres bikes alone on City Council.

Local election officials have cleaned up the city’s voter registration enrollment numbers reducing registered voters to roughly 57,000, down from more than 70,000 that had been maintained from the surging voter interest led by the 2008 presidential cycle with Barack Obama on the ballot.

The breakdown now is approximately 38,000 Democrats, 3500 Republicans and 15,000 unaffiliated voters. Election officials cleansed the list of duplicate, inactive and transient voters. The Democratic list from the 2008 election had swelled to roughly 45,000.

Scrubbing the list will now provide a more representative percentage turnout of general election voters for the November election that includes races for governor, as well as state and federal legislative offices. It also presents political operatives with a clearer picture of voter history to woo electors to the polls.

City voter demographics have changed dramatically in the past 20 years. In the early 1990s, the Republican registration was more than 10,000, one of the largest GOP municipal voter rolls in the state. In fact, during the 20-year period from 1971 to 1991, 10 of those years were occupied by Republican mayors Nick Panuzio, Bill Seres (who finished out the final 55 days of Panuzio’s term departing for a presidential appointment), Lenny Paoletta and Mary Moran.

The registration difference between Democrats and Republicans during that era was generally more like 3 to 1 than today’s 10 to 1, with unaffiliated voters often leaning Republican in elections. In the 1990 election for governor won by Lowell Weicker running as an independent, Republican John Rowland carried the city over Weicker and Democratic candidate Bruce Morrison.

Voter demographics took on a new look in the mid-1990s with Republican voter interest plunging in particular the past 10 years.

Currently City Councilman Enrique Torres is the lone elected Republican in the city among challenge races without minority party representation. Republican candidates need to place a premium on capturing unaffiliated and disaffected Democrats. Last November Republican Phil Blagys running with Torres in Black Rock won on the machines, but Democrat Sue Brannelly prevailed by absentee ballots.

Democratic incumbent Steve Stafstrom, matched up against Torres in the ballot lineup, lost in a close vote. Many Black Rockers say they wish Stafstrom had prevailed over Brannelly whose opposition to a government reform bill prohibiting city employees from serving on the City Council dragged down her council running mate. Stafstrom supports the reform provision. Council seats are up for election next year in the 2015 mayoral cycle.



  1. I was noticing the change also when the CT Post posted how much Democrats lived in the city. I was like aren’t there over 40,000 Democrats and over 4,000 Republicans? I was thinking the CT Post had it wrong. It is about time they cleaned up the voter list. Bridgeport had the lowest voter turnout in 2012 with only 52% of registered voters voting, I was like wtf when I saw those numbers. Anyhow I also wish Stafstrom had won that seat over Brannelly. I actually wish I had split my vote that election. Other people I know who voted for both Democrats, family members, told me they knew Torres would have won they would have voted for Torres and Stafstrom instead of the straight Democratic ticket.

  2. Nothing new here, the Republican party has not made any effort in Bridgeport to increase their membership. When “Citizens Working for a Better Bridgeport” was first forming they were getting a lot of play on OIB. CW4BB was nothing but a Republican organization and that’s okay but I noticeed those who would post about CW4BB were from Black Rock and David Walker seems to be their spokesperson so I would question him about the makeup of the organization and were there any blacks in CW4BB. Well, I never got a real straight answer but I kept suggesting they needed to reach out to others who didn’t look like them and for them to do outreach at PT Barnum apartments. I was told I was playing the race card, but I was telling Walker and really the local Republican party here is how you might be able to increase your membership. Willie Sutton gave his reason for robbing banks as: “That’s where the money is,” well the new voters for the Republican party here in Bridgeport are people of color.

    Lennie said, “Republican candidates need to place a premium on capturing unaffiliated and disaffected Democrats,” true but they are not going to become Republicans. If you look at Bridgeport by race it’s easy to see where the votes are and on the local level if Republicans say they don’t support a number of the national Republican positions and they go into their community and listen they might find some new members. Well there’s always donj, there is one black male the Republicans can sign up.

    1. Ron, you bring up some very good points. CW4BB was founded by Dave Walker. The group did come from the city. I was sneaked in through the back door by John Marshall Lee. I think it is up to the individual people to identify themselves if they are members or not. I think John Marshall Lee did a very good job of explaining how Citizens Working for a Better Bridgeport was effective in recent elections.
      I think one of the big problems with the National Republican Party is the statements they issue that include our founding fathers. I do not think they understand how that excludes a group of people who were not here as free citizens working for a better country. I believe some people have referred to statements like this as white entitlement. I have found most people do not understand or realize the statement our forefathers excludes part of our population. I certainly did not realize this until Scott Hughes was gracious enough to have a very enlightening conversation with me this summer. I find I am very ignorant about a lot of issues, and only people willing to engage in open honest dialogue can help me overcome my ignorance.

    1. donj, what is the percentage of black voters, Hispanic voters and white voters in Bridgeport? donj, once you see those numbers you will be able to answer your own question.

  3. “When “Citizens Working for a Better Bridgeport” was first forming they were getting a lot of play on OIB.” states Ron Mackey, OIB’s greatest chronicler of an organization he never really understood and therefore continues to misreport or mislabel. (Just my opinion Ron, and since you have never called me at the number I have frequently posted on OIB and have never made any arrangements to take me up on an offer to go out for a cup of coffee or some food, in any Bridgeport neighborhood, I think you like your opinion even if it does not hold up to review.)

    It is not and was not a Republican group in the first place. Yes, Walker is certainly a Republican and so is Jennifer Buchanan. But I was unaffiliated up until the primary when I switched to Democrat to participate. There were some Democrats participating actively as well including Pete Spain and former DTC members from other parts of the City.

    The point is that we attempted to create a coalition that would encourage folks to run last fall in primary and general election who would challenge the usual candidates. And they did come out. Look at our support of those running for the BOE and other offices. We did not raise buckets of money, but we vetted all who met us in locations around the City. Encouragement and talking things up are important, rather than DNA testing for the pure Democrat strain.

    And as you know CW4BB supported black and white candidates, so what is your real problem at last? Is it really the fact that your reluctance to talk with and/or meet with other Bridgeporters, who are relatively new to you, keeps those same folks from taking you seriously? If you promise to review the results for those supported by CW4BB and accurately report on it, I’ll stop responding to your misreporting. By the way, how are things shaping up in your South End neighborhood? Solar? UB building new? Marina Village move? NRZ review? Two Council members “improperly” using stipend funds as well as separately making charitable contributions with Legislative Department funds secretly (and illegally) in the 2013 fiscal year? Lots to talk about outside of Black Rock….time will tell.

    1. John Marshall Lee, I’m not talking about supporting candidates, I’m talking about recruiting members and “listening” instead of talking. I don’t care what you say, CW4BB was a Black Rock Republican organization to have Dave Walker a platform to speak from and to run for office, now JML you might have been there for other reasons and you might have had a few and I mean a very few who were not Republican but it did no outreach because their issues I wouldn’t agree with.

  4. It is great that the registrar of voters purged their roles of by 13,000 votes. The question is why was it done after the primary and not before the primary.
    Sure this city is heavily weighted in the Democrats favor and look where it has got us. No Where!!
    The minority community buys into the same old stuff. The democrats will keep giving you stuff for free and the republicans will take it all away. The lections come and democrats are elected and the same old stuff happens.
    Ron you keep talking about PT Barnum Apts. On election day the party shows up at6 PT with fists full of money which is handed out to voters.
    Ron some of the greatest gains the fire department made were under a republican mayor (Panuzio) 20 year pension, escalator clause. fully paid medical and the list goes on.
    There is only one intelligent way to vote and that was discovered by a young man named Donj. Vote for the person and not the party by doing that on a regular basis you will effect change.

    1. Andrew C Fardy, what I’m saying is the Republican Party NEEDS to go into the black and Hispanic community and LISTEN to what their issues are. I also believe in voting for the person and not the party, I have before and will again in the future vote for Republicans and encourage others to vote for Republicans. What does the Republican Party here in Bridgeport have to lose by going and listening and talking to other groups?

      Oh yes Andy, I do know “some of the greatest gains the fire department made were under a Republican mayor (Panuzio), 20 year pension, escalator clause, fully paid medical.” The late Joe DeCarlo (former head of the civil service commission, former firefighter union President and former Battalion Chief) would talk when he was my house Captain at Engine 2, and explain the conversations he had with Republicans to get things changed and that’s what I’m suggesting, Republicans you have no members so go out and talk and they might be surprised.

      1. Ron,
        The GOP has an image problem. To many people, the Republican Party is the party of wealthy angry old white men. This is exacerbated by the Tea Party. The Tea Party’s endorsed candidate to challenge Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, a state with a history of racial intolerance, was more than obviously a disciple of Jim Crow.

  5. Well Lennie, I guess the am didn’t work as intended. Moore won. Do you have numbers on purged voters by districts and precincts? That could be very revealing.

    1. Bob,
      It provided additional public encouragement for candidates in 2013 municipal races, simply put. Kind of like an extended “rave” where people, invited or not, came together to support “newbies” to elections. While Ron Mackey and you keep focusing on “CW4BB” for your own reasons, the folks who were a part of it were out working for candidates in the most recent elections, many of whom were gaining voter name recognition and others won their races like Marilyn Moore and Andre Baker.

      Do you guys have an “organization complex?” Perhaps you are suspicious or skeptical of being part of something initiated by someone other than yourself. Get over it. What is necessary in Bridgeport today is to honor open, accountable and transparent values. And that may indicate people work together towards common objectives and learn about each other while working. Basic human respect for truthful open presentation and willingness to answer questions, that’s what happened with CW4BB last year, and Ron has to continue to question the facts as presented (CW4BB was never a platform for Walker) and Bob is still looking for the results of the “rave.” Secret: look at CW4BB candidate support and look at the Win column. Pretty fair action, I suggest.

      If you thought this was about the creation of an organization for the sake of creating an organization, you missed the ballgame. Too bad. Wait for next year? Time will tell.

      1. John Marshall Lee, you found someone, David Walker, who was willing to sit down and listen to you and agree with you. The mayor and the City Council was not listening to you but Walker was. Notice it was David Walker who formed CW4BB and then you others came on board. Walker needed someone local to lead him around the power structure of Bridgeport and there was JML. The more you talk about what CW4BB was about and how it formed I’m not surprise there were so few involved. How come the candidates CW4BB cut checks for have not come out and publicly said CW4BB helped them? I know it’s hard for you to believe you were being used by David Walker so he had a platform to run for office because he never could have run for anything without CW4BB and you in order for him to run for office. You got what you wanted, someone to take you seriously and Walker got his chance to run for office.

        1. Are you serious, Ron? You have no idea what that group is about. You have never met with anyone no matter how many times you were asked.
          You have no idea about Walker either. Get first-hand experience and base opinions on those. Otherwise, this post looks like exactly what this is: just a story you spun to service whatever axe you have to grind with Walker.

          1. Mustang Sally, would you please explain to me what CW4BB was all about, thank you very much?

        2. Ron, three presidents appointed Dave Walker to head divisions of the Federal Government. I do not think CW4BB was a run for office stepping stone/platform for Dave. Here is a link to the CW4BB principles and mission.

          What one or part of this do you find to be not in line with your vision of Bridgeport elected officials?

        3. Jennifer Buchanan, let me say this and I should have said it earlier, I respect you even though I don’t know you and I’m aware Mary-Jane Foster was also a member and I have the highest respect for her and I know her heart is to do what is best for Bridgeport and I wish she were mayor. I believe those who join the group did it for the right reasons to make a change. I believe Mr. Walker is an honest man. But Jennifer, it was Walker who would do most of the talking on OIB, yes, you would join in but it was Walker who really did the talking. I never at any time had a comfort level with anything he said, the issues he talked about were issues for Black Rock and there is nothing wrong with that, in fact I would hope other districts would do the same thing. From the first time that info came out about CW4BB was on OIB to me it was only about Black Rock and Republicans, yes the group did cut checks for different candidates but as a black man I never believed the group’s interest had anything to with me, now I’m not talking about the members, it was about the issues and that’s okay.

          1. Got it. Thanks. We really are interested in citywide issues and candidates. We do believe start at the top to stop the bad practices, but we will work at any city level to listen, learn and help get honest, ethical representatives elected. Keeping groups separated by misinformation and fear is something politicians have known and used for a very long time to keep their voting blocs “in line,” something CW4BB would very much like to bring to light and unite more people in supporting good governance. We are relatively new and we learn as we grow.

        4. Ron,
          You are going to keep your opinions come Hell or high water. The world does not change. People are against you. Conspiracies abound. Ignore OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT. Everyone is in it for their own selfish purposes.
          And Ron, since you seem to be delusional on this particular subject, how can you point to me as a local helping Walker learn about the “power structure?” How would I know the “power structure” if I even bumped into it, right? I think you are so far off topic you have written comic relief for us. Was that your intent? Time will tell.

  6. Ron Mackey,
    It is time you do two things:
    1) Stop copying and pasting your message for Republicans. It’s getting old.
    2) Admit the priorities and behavior of the urban population differs from most of society.
    The Democrat party needs the urban population to stay in power. It is sad to see the way Democrats pander for votes. Should Republicans pander for the urban vote? For what?

    Perhaps you should take JML up on his offer. I’ll bet he would be glad to treat you to lunch, not just a cup of coffee, if you agree to meet with him.

  7. hope I can sell my house, thank you for seeing my point with Ron. And Tom White is right when he says stop copying and pasting your message for Republicans. It’s getting old. I agree with that. Please state new points, Ron.

  8. Ron is absolutely correct in his assertion the Republican Party, not only in Bridgeport but nationally, has not portrayed itself as a party of inclusion. They have never reached out to the black community to explain its agenda and/or why the black community should vote for them. Blacks across America and Connecticut are sick and tired of the party of our grandparents and of our parents taking our vote for granted. Give us a reason to vote for a Republican other than the Democratic party is taking you for granted, we know that!

    If given a viable alternative, who knows what we might do as a people or which party we might follow, but as of today we don’t have that viable alternative. Don’t be afraid people to talk about race because it’s just that mindset that keeps blacks in droves from supporting a Republican.

  9. Jennifer, really? Would you need Mackey or myself to tell you how to arrange a meeting with members of the white community or could you figure that out yourself? The only difference between the black community and the white community is the color of our skin.

    Is Joe Borges still around and is he still a card-carrying Republican? If so, Joe knows just about every black in Bridgeport and could be that conduit to the black community. Jennifer, understand this, RACE is probably one of the biggest issues for black people, so for you to be able to reach my people you can’t be scared to talk about race. Race is the one thing that binds the black community together.

    I know this is going to leave a lot of people hot and bothered in the comments, but it is the truth and it needs to be said so I’m saying it. White people do not know how to talk about or deal with race. Every time somebody brings up race, like right now, somebody rolls their eyes and there is always that one person who goes on a balls-to-the-wall tirade about this subject (donj, Ton White). If America doesn’t talk about race, what are the important things left unsaid and what impact is race having on modern American life, politics and culture? As JML says, Time will tell!

    1. Donald, with respect to finding black people in Bridgeport to meet a Republican candidate, few whom I have met will even consider meeting with a Republican, and I have to show I have no marks of the devil to be allowed to stay in the room once they know my political persuasion. Face it, as I have, it is difficult to find any openly Republicans in Bridgeport. I think the lack of approach for me in the past has been the assumption Democrats own this town and the vote. It is good to hear everyone (except Auerbach) is open to hearing from the other party.

    1. Thanks, Donald. I was under the impression Joe had moved out of Bridgeport, great to know his reach is across party lines! I appreciate your comments and suggestions very much!

      1. Jennifer Buchanan, what Donald Day and myself are saying is on the local level here in Bridgeport there is a lot of room for the Republican Party to attract black voters but you have to listen and talk and blacks just like any other group want to be “asked” for their vote and then tell them what it is you will do if elected. There is nobody out there saying what we are saying, Republicans need to want the black vote.

        With comments like Tom White wrote, “The Democrat party needs the urban population to stay in power. It is sad to see the way Democrats pander for votes. Should Republicans pander for the urban vote? For what?” Well Jennifer, with that mindset the hell with Republicans but Tom thinks and feels the same as a lot of Republicans, they are not open and they care.

        Joe Borges and I would talk all the time over the years about getting blacks into the Republican Party and the main problem was trust and why won’t they talk to us. Joe should have been elected to office as a City Council or State Rep. in the East End years ago. I don’t know if Joe is in the area anymore but no matter what I’ve always had trust in Joe.


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