As potential candidates await the scheduling of a special election to fill the State Senate seat of Andres Ayala, the new Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner, newly sworn in State Rep. Chris Rosario is pondering a run for the seat. Rosario says “I am weighing my options. It is an honor to be mentioned as a candidate.”
Rosario defeated Christina Ayala in an August primary on his way to a general election win. He’s the director of Anti-Blight and Illegal Dumping for the city with close ties to the political operation of Mayor Bill Finch. If he runs for State Senate it’s a free run; win or lose, he’s still a member of the Connecticut legislature. If he runs for State Senate and wins, a special election would take place to fill his State House seat.
Rosario is also politically tight with Andres Ayala who represented Connecticut’s 128th State House District before defeating Ed Gomes in a Democratic primary for State Senate in 2012. Gomes says he will try to regain his seat.
Rosario is known as a relentless campaigner. If he runs and is backed by the Ayala/Finch fundraising operation he’ll likely qualify for public financing that comes with a $70,000 grant for a special election if he raises roughly $11,000 in donations between $5 and $100 from 225 residents in Bridgeport and Stratford combined. The district covers about two thirds of the city plus a piece of western Stratford.
If he runs he’ll also be the beneficiary of Andres Ayala’s mighty absentee ballot operation that will come in handy in a low-turnout winter election that will likely take place last week of February or first week in March.
Gomes, a top-tier candidate, has been working the phones trying to secure support from Democratic delegates who will endorse a candidate. Depending on the candidates who enter the field, no one appears to have a lock on the endorsement.
Several other potential candidates have expressed interest including former mayoral candidate Carl Horton, former State Rep. Don Clemons, City Councilman Richard DeJesus, local Sierra Club organizer Onte Johnson, former president of the Greater Bridgeport NAACP Carolyn Vermont and school board member Ken Moales.
If multiple African American candidates are in the field, a candidate such as Rosario could leverage his Latino base into a win.