Candidate Petitions Submitted, Will The Big Wave Float A Replacement?


: The deadline has passed for candidates to submit petition signatures to qualify for the Feb. 22 special election to fill the state rep seat vacated by Chris Caruso, now working for the Malloy administration. The following candidates submitted petitions to election officials today: veteran police officer Verna Kearney, former State Rep. Bob Keeley, City Councilman Carlos Silva, former city educator Joe Giaquinto and Mark Trojanowski, a Democratic town committee member from the East Side.

Challenge candidates will qualify for the ballot once 44 petition signatures of voters in the district are validated by election officials. That process will take a few days.

We’re seeing a potential collision course of various factions of the city’s Democratic party positioning for the seat. And the one guy who could be a deciding factor is Caruso himself, if he decides to get involved.

The Big Wave is popular in his former legislative district and no one on the planet knows Connecticut’s 126th State Assembly district better. The district include portions of the North End and Upper East Side.

Rev. Charlie Stallworth of East End Baptist Church received the party endorsement on Saturday aided by Mayor Bill Finch. Stallworth is a member of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, a group of clergy that wields votes in the city. The mayor wants to keep them happy in an election year. Stallworth is also a member of the city Police Commission, but police sources say Stallworth has a meager attendance record at meetings, something that could be a campaign issue.

Verna Kearney, a veteran city police officer who isn’t afraid to mix it up on the campaign trail, was a late entry. She challenged Caruso in a primary in 1998, but she and Caruso have made peace. Could Caruso support her as part of a coalition that includes State Senator Ed Gomes?

If  Caruso and Gomes can come to an agreement on supporting a candidate the Stallworth forces will have all they can handle in a light-turnout special election.

City Republicans have tapped James Keyser to run. He and Stallworth have automatically qualified for the ballot.



  1. It is unfortunate Chanel Cathey has decided not to run. Her qualifications seemed impeccable and her family has a solid reputation in her neighborhood. Wonder who The Big Wave and Sen. Gomes are going to back now? I wouldn’t be surprised if they sit this one out–neither has a vested interest in any of the other candidates who have expressed interest in running.

    On a slightly more serious note, I would vote for the guy who owns the Merritt Canteen. His platform, of delicious hot dogs at reasonable prices, speaks to both fiscal conservatism and true-blue American indulgence. (It’s up to you fellow readers, to decide how serious I am about this notion.)


  2. Lennie, how do you think a crowded field of Democrats would affect the chances of a Democrat winning over Republican James Keyser? What is the number of registered Republicans in the 126th? It’s too early for Caruso to talk to anyone–they must qualify first. Most of the possible contenders shouldn’t even bother calling Caruso. Verna Kearney is a surprise candidate to me, I find her late appearance suspicious and Lennie you may be on to something with her. If Kearney and Blunt qualify, that will make 3 African Americans and a split in that vote. I’d bet someone already talked Blunt out of it. Lennie, I don’t understand. If Sen. Ed Gomes and Chris Caruso were so tight, why didn’t Moore (Ed Gomes’ Cousin) run for the seat? She ran against Musto!

    1. Joel, the more Dems on the ballot, the better for Keyser. I’m sure you’d love the headline: Keyser Rolls Dems! With five or six candidates on the ballot perhaps 250-300 votes is enough to win with 13,000 registered voters in the district. Dems outnumber GOP 10 to 1 in the district, but also thousands of unaffiliated voters to pluck. As for Marilyn Moore, she was asked to run but decided against. She would have supported Chanel Cathey. Moore does not live in that district, although you don’t have to live in the district to run. Paging Bob Keeley. If Keeley wins he’ll have to move into the district (or find an address).

      1. Of the 1500-2000 people who would show at the polls no matter what, 2 out of 3 at a minimum are going to vote for the Democratic nominee. It’s not impossible for someone to pull enough voters to overcome that gap, but I wouldn’t want to bet any money on it.

        Check out the 23rd State Senate special election results (all the way at the bottom of the page linked below) to see how I think the baseline numbers will work out: The Democratic nominee getting 8-10x the number of the Republican nominee, then a variety of petitioning types making a dent but stalling out at about half the Dem’s number. Keeley would be analogous to Clemons in this example. The other candidates are even less of a name brand than Garcia or Martinez were then.


        1. Why bother even having an election?
          I believe Marlys just declared Ed Gomes the winner of the State Rep seat!!!
          What type of sophomoric number-crunching is this?
          I guess Merryless feels Stallworth is analogous to Gomes even though Stallworth has never held an elected position in the city, has only lived in the city for 3 years and has a congregation on the other side of town while Gomes held elected office on the City Council for over 10 years, ran twice before in the same state senate district and has lived in the city for basically his entire life.
          Let’s simply declare Stallworth the winner and avoid the cost of printing one ballot per registered voter which Merryless also fully supports.

          1. Tell me then, o toothless one, how you think the results are going to shake out.

            I was making the uncontroversial observation that Democrats win almost every election in Bridgeport. How far back do you have to go to come up with any example of any non-Democrat beating any Democrat in any race in the 126th?

            Who do you like to win, then: the carpetbagger who couldn’t bribe his way to re-election in his own district with a bucketful of public cash and a 26-year incumbency? The 400-pound city councilman who couldn’t put together half a campaign on Line A and will now be relegated to line E or F? Maybe you like the Republican, running in precincts where GOP candidates routinely clock in with under 10% of the vote? Do tell.

            Who knows, maybe Keeley will come up with the organizational prowess that he was so sorely lacking last go-round and make a race of it. Like I said–not impossible, but I wouldn’t wager any money on it.

            I don’t know this Stallsworth character and have no clue where he is on the issues I care about. Whether he wins or loses is of no interest to me whatsoever. But be for real about the city you’re living in–the reason people primary for DTC spots and fight for the party endorsement and then primary for the party nomination is because the Democratic nominee wins in Bridgeport 995 times out of 1000, and those other 5 times aren’t in the 126th. Hacks, frauds, lightweights, city employees and race-baiters, it barely matters.

            I don’t like this reality any more than I “fully support” one ballot per registered voter–it’s just a strange practical truth in a crazy world. Advocates moan about the city not ordering 100% of ballots, and so the city orders 100% to shut them up. Reformers clamor to get on the town committee, then freeze up at endorsement time. That’s life.

            If you want to misspell my handle and obtusely pretend I said Ed Gomes is running for State Rep, all while refusing to offer up a different opinion and calling me sophomoric for my trouble, that’s fine–but look in the mirror, because it just might be that you’re the same kind of charlatan you’ve made a hobby of mocking here at OIB.

  3. *** The Big Wave doesn’t need to make any more enemies by endorsing a last-minute candidate, no? He needs to concentrate on his new job & move forward with his life & helping the new governor get this state out of the “red.” Besides some of the interested candidates will probably “not” make the petition deadline as well. Good luck to all who do! *** HERE WE GO! ***

  4. Caruso can do more good for Bpt now than when he ran in anger for mayor.

    By teaming up with the proper people and backing a non-machiner, he can do good finally for this city.

    Time to get Sweetport once again.

  5. A little advice to those who are running in this special election. The people will normally vote for the name they know. But nothing beats a handshake and the ability to listen. Knock on them doors. Be humble yet demonstrate your leadership ability. When you are out walking and knocking on doors try to have someone with you (they should be able to sing your praises in situations that would make you seem full of yourself). First and foremost be for real. Oh and again KNOCK ON THOSE DOORS.

    1. donj it’s a “special election” and there can be many candidates. While 3 will be from the major parties the rest will be considered petition candidates and can be of any party or independent. By the way does anyone know who the Working Families party is endorsing?

  6. Grin, you want to drag me back into this mess? Fine. It’s too bad you don’t have a clue as to what you are talking about.
    I was taught not to make fun of the sick and as you are suffering from Terminal Dumb-Ass I will not comment further. Have a nice day. Maybe you can join Local Eyes and get a discount on the aluminum foil you need for your helmet.

    1. Good riddance. I was one of those Democrats who stuck with Joe last time when he lost to Lamont and ran as an Independent. What a mistake. It’s time for some new blood. Opens the door for SuBy.


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