City Librarian Scott Hughes who won a seat on the Democratic Town Committee last month as part of an insurgent slate has formed a candidate committee to challenge freshman State Senator Andres Ayala in an August Democratic primary. Both state senators representing Bridgeport, Ayala and Anthony Musto, face primaries. Musto is being challenged by political activist and health care professional Marilyn Moore.
Connecticut’s 23rd Senatorial covers roughly two thirds of Bridgeport and a small piece of western Stratford. Ayala won the seat in 2012 following a primary against the endorsed candidate Ernie Newton and incumbent Ed Gomes. Ayala had the backing of the city’s political establishment including the political operation of Mayor Bill Finch.
Following last September’s primary drubbing of all endorsed candidates for school board and City Council, neighborhood insurgents have been eying challenges of incumbents for legislative seats. Newton has decided to seek his old State House seat occupied by Don Clemons. Ayala is expected to be endorsed for another two-year term when delegates meet at the state district convention in May at Testo’s Restaurant.
The big question for Hughes: how quickly can he raise $15,000 in donations between $5 and $100 to qualify for an $83,550 grant under the state’s Citizens Election Program of publicly financed races.
Hughes was part of a slate that won six of nine seats on the Democratic Town Committee in the 138th District on the Upper East Side. Despite winning a town committee seat, this is new territory for Hughes who’s never run for state office. Raising the money and recruiting field operatives are key for him waging a competitive primary battle. The senate district includes the central and eastern portions of the city as well as Downtown and the South End featuring heavy African American and Latino voting areas.