Why Andres Ayala Is A Threat To Win The State Senate Primary

Andres Ayala
State Rep. Andres Ayala

It’s been a long time since a Democratic primary to decide a State Senate seat in the city featured three candidates all with an equal chance at victory. In Connecticut’s 23rd Senatorial Ernie Newton has been endorsed, Ed Gomes is the incumbent and State Rep. Andres Ayala should have enough financial firepower and organizational support to put himself in play to win the Aug. 14 primary. Any of these candidates can win.

Ayala brings to the table his East Side legislative base, albeit the lowest turnout area of the city in a heavily Latino district. The senate district has roughly 28,200 registered Dems comprising about 70 percent of Bridgeport and another 2,200 in the western portion of Stratford. If Democratic primary turnout trends continue, roughly 20 percent of the electorate, representing about 6,000 voters, will turn out. It means 2,000 votes can win this primary.

Ayala has established a strong foundation on the East Side. He won his State House seat in a 2006 primary taking out incumbent Lydia Martinez, the city’s queen of absentee ballots. Lydia challenged Ayala in 2008 and he thrashed her, winning 68 percent of the vote. Ironically it was Lydia who placed Ayala’s name into nomination at the party convention last Monday at Testo’s Restaurant on the night of Newton’s endorsement. Lydia may not score well on the day of an election but one thing she knows how to do is bank votes in the days before an election, even if dubiously, in the form of absentee ballots. The passion of Latino politics is the number-one soap opera in the city: break up, get back together; smooch one day, fight the next. Right now Ayala and Lydia are together. Assuming Lydia weighs in hard for Ayala she will bank absentee ballots for him.

Former State Rep. Americo Santiago, who has taken a lead campaign role in Ayala’s candidacy, also knows how to hustle absentee ballots from his base of operation in the South End. Taking this into consideration the Ayala campaign could easily bank 500 absentee ballots heading into primary day. Add those votes to what Ayala should receive on the machines in his legislative base and now he’s over 1,000 votes and more than halfway home to the magic 2,000 mark, assuming a 20 percent district turnout.

Add to this the campaign operation of Mayor Bill Finch that is supporting Ayala and now the state representative is in striking distance of winning the seat. Newton, the endorsed candidate, will run on the top line next to U.S. Senate candidate Chris Murphy. Ayala will run on the same line as Murphy challenger Susan Bysiewicz. The Finch operation supporting Murphy must educate voters about ballot position. Gomes’ name will appear on Line C.

One challenge for Ayala, the former City Council president during the John Fabrizi mayoral years, is his name recognition outside of his East Side base. He will need to introduce himself to voters unaccustomed to voting for him. Money and bodies can take care of that and he should, barring a breakdown, have both. Ayala now works for Fabrizi in the city’s department of Adult Education.

There are scenarios for both Newton and Gomes to also win the primary as OIB will examine in the coming weeks.



  1. I would think Representative Ayala would be well known outside of his district since he doesn’t live there. But that should be another plus for Andres since he doesn’t live in the State SENATE DISTRICT either.

  2. But what should you expect when you have a carpetbagger like Americo Santiago as your campaign manager? Americo still thinks he lives in Puerto Rico if you listen to him.

  3. When you based your political career on fighting the “machine” and now you are a main cog in the “machine.”
    Hypocrisy has no boundaries in the can’t beat em’ join world of Only in Bridgeport politics.

  4. *** This election has the makings of a muddy finger-pointing campaign, in which those without sin will be asked to throw the first stone, no? *** HERE WE GO! ***

  5. I hope there is something more than mudslinging in this primary. I hope the SEEC, the Feds and everybody else is watching. Santiago and Martinez are both scumbags and making cute about their absentee ballot fraud is offensive. They should be prosecuted. And by the way, Santiago lives in Puerto Rico–he only comes up here to earn some money during campaign season. Send him home along with his absentee ballot operation. Let him be sleazy someplace else.

  6. A few years ago Santa Ayala ran a primary against Lisa Parziale. Santa won the primary but the interesting thing was only 10% of the registered Hispanics voted in this primary. If Ayala is looking for a large turnout in the 138th he may have serious problems.
    I will NOT be voting for Ayala because I believe he is part of Bridgeport’s problems and not a solution. We keep recycling these same people over and over again.

    1. “We keep recycling these same people over and over again.”

      Could that have anything to do with B’port recycling the same problems over and over again?

  7. The East Side legislative base may have low turnout in elections, but people do seem to care about the community gardens. Or at least they used to until the current controversy. Halstead, who founded and ran the successful city-wide Bridgeport Community Land Trust, will be on the TV show tonight to discuss the current situation impacting the 25 citywide gardens.

    The current board members kicked him off the board, did away with elections, and some say they appoint their friends with no input from the community. The gardens provide much benefit and a rare chance for local residents to grown and eat their own food and in some neighborhoods there are no food stores, so much is at stake. Is there anyone behind the current board takeover?

  8. Andy, seeing as you will not be voting for Ayala and you don’t like Newton and you said none of those who represent your district on the state level has done anything to help your district; well, will you vote for a candidate in the primary?

  9. The precinct that can deliver some big huge lopsided margins for candidates is Dunbar school. This is the most Democratic precinct in the whole city. Just look at the 2008 election results there, Obama 2292 votes compared to John McCain 90 votes. A heavily Democratic precinct and I think Newton will win Dunbar by a wide margin. This race will be won in Stratford and Stratford is the x factor.

  10. *** donj seems to ask quite a lot from Lennie concerning precinct breakdowns and such; for someone who can only vote once and does not really work the polls for any candidate. You would think he’s writing a book on Bpt politics and; active voter breakdowns, no? *** Lennie, is it possible to get me four tickets to the next good gig at the Klein? *** WINK ***


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