Board of Education member Andre Baker has qualified for the ballot to challenge party-endorsed Ernie Newton in an August 12 Democratic primary, setting up a contest between two candidates with East End voter bases.
Baker received word Friday afternoon he had secured enough petition signatures to challenge Newton for Connecticut’s 124th State House seat occupied by a retiring Don Clemons. Newton had the seat prior to Clemons.
“Last year Baker promised the people he would serve them on the Board of Education,” says Newton, “now he’s saying he wants to be in the legislature. What’s he running for next?”
Newton seeks a return to the legislature following his conviction on corruption charges nearly 10 years ago that forced his resignation from the State Senate. Two years ago he lost a close State Senate primary to Andres Ayala who’s being challenged by City Librarian Scott Hughes in an August 12 primary.
Two years ago in the State Senate primary Newton performed strong in his East End voter base. The State House district covers the East End of the city and runs north up close to the Beardsley Park area. Baker served the East End on the City Council for several years. He operates a funeral home in the district. Baker will now try to raise $5,000 in small donations to qualify for Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly financed races to receive a $27,000 grant.
Newton is precluded from the voluntary program as a result of a new law the legislature passed last year. Newton is raising money outside of the program.