Winners And Losers, Bridgeport Kingmaker (maybe), Debicella’s Lame Strategy

On a day a whole bunch of souls made it to the polls, who were the goats and who were the toasts?

Yes, Bridgeport can lay claim, especially if Dan Malloy’s guber win holds up (expect the GOP to contest in court) to be a kingmaker. The city produced, including State Rep. Chris Caruso and former Party Chair John Stafstrom who had an uneasy, but effective, short-term alliance supporting Malloy in both the primary and general election.

The Big Wave and his election-day admiral Bill Garrett organized a mighty pulling operation in precincts such as Blackham, Winthrop, Wilbur Cross, Read and Hooker, loaded with 70 campaign workers. Caruso and Stafstrom engaged in detente on Malloy’s behalf. How long will this love last? Gee, next year is a mayoral election, let the fighting begin!

Loser: The Bridgeport Register of Voters Office. Enough said.

Winner: Congressman Jim Himes. Jimmy ran a solid campaign in the ‘burbs and his GOP opponent Dan Debicella flopped strategically in the city and suburbs. The Debicella campaign had a model that included winning 16 of the 17 communities in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District and losing Bridgeport. Dan and Campaign Manager Jason Perillo puffed their chests openly about it. (Translation: we’re smart and you’re stupid.) There was a problem on the way to executing the roadmap. It didn’t make sense! Win Norwalk and Stamford? Spend money there? Himes won 60 percent of the vote in both cities. And oh gee, Himes won Westport and Weston and ran close in Fairfield and Trumbull and several other suburban towns, and then croaked Debicella in Bridgeport.

Meanwhile the Debicella campaign said screw Bridgeport, we won’t campaign there except in GOP-strong Black Rock, even though I was born in Bridgeport, my dad was a city police officer, Bridgeport put food on my family’s table. When you have an opportunity to connect with voters on a personal basis you do it, especially if you have the money and Debicella’s camp had plenty of dough. Strategy flawed, strategy failed. If it’s one thing I cannot stand it’s arrogant intellectuals who run from their roots.

Winner: State Senator Anthony Musto who was true to his gentleman’s agreement–no negative campaigning–with GOP opponent David Pia.

Loser: Pia for breaking the agreement with his last-minute ambush.

Pending: Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa. Hey Mario, even though you supported Ned Lamont in the primary, rejoice, feel good, take credit for Bridgeport’s turnout. Tell the world Bridgeport delivered. Make peace with Malloy even though you can’t stand Stamford pols. Turn the page. Invite Dan for a bowl of pasta fagioli. Beans, baby, it’s all about beans. (And if Foley becomes governor do the same with him.)



  1. From the Hartford Courant:

    “It is unacceptable that the chief elections officer on election night — when we have maybe thousands of citizens who were turned away and told they cannot vote — sits there and says, ‘I have nothing to do with this; it’s the local registrar,'” McKinney said.

    Reporters had asked Bysiewicz earlier in the day whether she believed that she bore any blame for the Bridgeport snafu. “I do not,” she said at a press conference in her office. “I lay it squarely on the shoulders of the registrars of voters” in Bridgeport.

    She added: “It has been the directive of our office to order 100 percent of ballots — in other words, one ballot for every registered voter, plus extras, in case ballots are spoiled. That has been our directive to them.

    Does this mean that once a directive is relayed, the job of the person given the directive is done? Is it too much to expect that someone see to it that the “directive” is implemented or followed? The top brass shall never pass the blame when things go wrong under their command. Surely, the Bridgeport Registrar of Voters share in the blame. But, where was Bysiewicz and others when former Deputy Republican Registrar of Voters Theresa Pavia raised some concerns about how the BRV had been conducting their daily activities?

    1. Seems Ms. Pavia’s problems in the BRV’s office had to do with her own party, who did not back her bid to run for Borges’ spot. Didn’t she get canned for changing someone’s voter affiliation??? Any complaints to the SOS from her were most likely sour grapes. As for the directive, the Registrar’s office was given one. Even though it was their job to follow the directive, they chose not to. If your boss gives you tasks and then has to follow up on each and every one to make sure it was done correctly because he/she cannot trust you to do so, then you are incompetent and do not deserve to hold the job. Personal responsibility and all that.

    2. Message to Joel:

      Once you’ve intentionally amputated your own finger, you’ve lost credibility questioning other people’s judgment.

      OIB readers should know you’ve become a Republican in recent years as this might cloud your political perspective and make fairness difficult.

      Bysiewicz’s territory includes the whole state and not just Bridgeport–she’s an administrator not a baby sitter. McKinney & Gonzalez, take note.

  2. America, a remarkable place. We’re having two great wars, thousands killed, millions spent, to give these people “Democracy” and the right to vote; remember the Iraq vote was above-the-fold news for a week.
    Then there is Bridgeport … with sections looking like a bombed-out Iraq. A city government with a combined IQ approaching room temperature. A mayor … forget him! A right to vote? … you might as well forget that too!

  3. Right now, I am standing in the lobby of the Federal Court House in New Haven where 15 to 20 lawyers representing a political party are heading to the clerk’s office with a fistful of filings. Don’t know if they are Republicans or Democrats just that there are a lot of them. What’s up?

  4. This is shameful. Election officials not working to preserve everyone’s right to vote. Mr. Caruso and I hope Councilman Walsh should continue this charge–that the ROV immediately resign their positions. In fact, they both should be removed from the office at this time. Just think at what they could be doing to “cover up” their blunder. And candidates who have worked for over 2 years to get elected are losing votes because of the incompetence of these two officials.

  5. Just a thought, but wasn’t Rick Torres saying this all along?

    I don’t know if he would do it again, but with his evangelical supporters, someone should sit down with him and convince him to run. I saw him at the beginning of his campaign, and again at the end. Night and day. To his credit, he became much more polished. You have an Obama Presidential campaign coming in two years. What do you think the turnout will be then?

    P.S. Have you ever had his wife’s meatloaf @ his store? Now that’s eating!


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