Declaring the “success of Bridgeport, Trumbull, and Monroe are inextricably linked,” City Councilman Marcus Brown on Monday declared his candidacy for State Senate challenging Democratic incumbent Marilyn Moore in an August primary.
Brown, 28, made the announcement before the Trumbull Democratic Town Committee where the underdog needs to combine messaging and organization to gain traction against the familiar Moore who defeated incumbent Anthony Musto in a 2014 primary.
Balancing the interests of this multi-town district is key, a theme Brown focused on. “A vibrant Trumbull and Monroe has a positive impact on Bridgeport, and a thriving inner-city, better schools, and a better quality of life in Bridgeport also makes places like Trumbull and Monroe more attractive places to live,” he said.
Connecticut’s 22nd District covers all of Trumbull, the north and west portions of Bridgeport and the southern part of Monroe, as one of the most diverse districts in the upper chamber.
Brown has the backing of Mayor Joe Ganim and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, both of whom faced a surreal 2019 reelection in which Ganim squeaked a primary win over Moore, won a court challenge brought by her supporters and the inexplicable failure of the Moore camp to petition onto the general election ballot as a Working Families Party candidate that relegated her to long-shot write-in candidacy.
Brown, who says he will file his official candidate paperwork on Thursday, will raise money to qualify for Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly financed campaigns. He must raise about $16,000 from at least 300 people donating between $5 and $270. If he succeeds he’ll have roughly $100,000 to spend in the primary.
Moore, as she has done since 2014, will also participate in the voluntary public money program.
Given his establishment support in Bridgeport Brown should be in play for the party endorsement. Moore won primaries in 2014 and 2016 without the party endorsement. Two years ago she was endorsed with no primary opponent.
Moore would just need 15 percent delegate backing – this would come from Trumbull where she has support advantage – for a ballot spot. In lieu of that she can petition onto the ballot via signatures. The party endorsement will take place in May.
Marshall Marcus, a member of the Trumbull Democratic Town Committee, attended Brown’s announcement. He says, speaking for himself, he’s supporting Moore. He shared this in the OIB comments section:
The TDTC is not really interested in Bpt city politics and infighting. We need to focus on unseating the three Republicans who represent Trumbull in the State House of Representatives, The last time D22 had a primary and some of us backed Tom McC(arthy), he got destroyed, time and money was wasted and the Republican candidate carried Trumbull. There is little to gain by getting involved in this contest. I like what we have and see no reason to change.
Legislative incumbents are difficult to take out in primaries given their profile, franking privilege mailers and goodies delivered to the district in an election year. In his presentation to the Trumbull Dems Brown contrasted the district’s lack of resources from Hartford while highlighting council initiatives such as reform of predatory foreclosure practices in the Water Pollution Control Authority, passage of a expanded property tax relief program for senior citizens and a ban on the sale of tobacco products to those under 21 years of age.
Moore must remind voters what she has brought back to the district, Brown must focus on what she has not and what he will do.
Brown is also engaged in a March 3 Democratic Town Committee primary in which his nine-member slate is opposed by Moore backers.
Here’s an except from Brown’s Monday night announcement.
My name is Marcus Brown. I am the President Pro-Tempore of the Bridgeport City Council, serving in my second term representing Brooklawn and the West End of Bridgeport. In addition to some part time work in real estate, my full-time job is with the Workplace where I assist the long-term unemployed with job placement. Tonight, I am announcing that I am a candidate for State Senate in the 22nd District.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to address the Trumbull DTC and to meet with some of you individually to talk about the issues that are most important to Trumbull residents. What’s amazing to me is how remarkably similar the issues are in Trumbull to those that I hear as a Councilman in Bridgeport every day…
–Property tax relief,
–and the desire to build a successful regional economy in the Greater Bridgeport area.
So allow me just for a minute to tell you about myself and why I believe that I’m
the candidate that can best tackle these issues in the State Senate.
I am the son of a single Italian mother who raised three black children in the Marina Village Housing project in Bridgeport’s South End. My mom worked really hard–two jobs at a time–to not only take care of us, but also to make that extra pot of spaghetti so that the other kids in Marina went to bed with food in their stomachs too.
When my mother’s job was outsourced to Mexico, we ended up homeless for over a year. And yet, through even those toughest of times, my mother made sure that we were taken care of. Her resilience and strength has shaped the man that I am today.
As a candidate for office, I have the advantage of knowing first-hand what it’s like to be poor, to live in public housing, to be homeless, to attend underfunded, underperforming public schools, and to be a taxpayer.
These experiences are the reason that I was compelled to run for public office in the first place. Now, when I expressed interest in running for City Council in my district in 2017, I was told that it wasn’t my turn and that I had to wait in line. But I knew that a message of bringing new perspective and fresh energy to the problems that my constituents were dealing with would resonate, and it did. I beat the incumbent, endorsed candidate who held the seat for over 10 years. I did that by working hard, asking every voter for their vote, and promising that I would bring results.
Then I took office, and I got to work. For years, people in Bridgeport were victims of predatory practices of the WPCA that allowed lawyers to profit greatly off of others’ misfortunes and led to many unnecessary foreclosures. Elected officials had complained about it for years, but nothing tangible had been done.
As a chair of the Ordinance Committee, I led the investigation into the WPCA’s practices, subpoenaed the lawyers involved, and led the effort to bring about a resolution to this problem. After a lot of work, we implemented a mediation program for rate-payers, capped attorney’s fees for outside counsel working on WPCA cases, and brought justice to an issue that had raged in Bridgeport politics for a long time.
That’s just one example of what I’ve been able to accomplish. I can talk at length about other successes on the Council, including the passage of a Senior Tax Relief program which gives property tax rebates to some of our most vulnerable seniors, or the passage of Tobacco 21, which made Bridgeport the second city in CT to ban the sale of tobacco sales for those under 21 years old.
These are the kind of results that I want to deliver for the 22nd District in the State Senate. I want to leave you today with three important thoughts as you consider my candidacy.
First, is what I just mentioned. I’m going to fight for the district and I’m going to be the guy to bring dollars back to the district. For whatever reason, the 22nd District has really gotten nothing substantial out of Hartford in terms of legislation or major state investments. And while Hartford got an over $500 million bailout and Waterbury got a more than $7 million increase in ECS funding, it’s really difficult to watch as our district got little to nothing. I want to change that.
…Second, I recognize the challenge of engaging Trumbull voters in a primary in August with two candidates from Bridgeport. But I want you to understand the importance of this election. Because of the party make-up of this district and because it’s a presidential year, this election will most likely be decided in the primary. The people of the 22nd need to decide in August who they want their state senator to be. By time the general rolls around, it will be too late.
And while both candidates are from Bridgeport, I want you to know that I care about your issues. That’s why I am here tonight. The way I view things, the success of Bridgeport, Trumbull, and Monroe are inextricably linked. A vibrant Trumbull and Monroe has a positive impact on Bridgeport, and a thriving inner-city, better schools, and a better quality of life in Bridgeport also makes places like Trumbull and Monroe more attractive places to live.
So, I need your help this summer to engage Trumbull voters and let them know
why this election matters.
Finally, this is a big election year, with elections for state offices, Congress, and President. Now more than ever, the Trumbull DTC has the opportunity to get Democrats elected to the General Assembly. I commit to you that no matter what happens, you have my unconditional support and help as we go into the November elections to ensure that Sujotta and whoever you nominate for the 134th District gets elected. I will be here on the ground, knocking doors with you to make this happen. And you can ask those that have worked with me, I am not afraid to campaign and help get Democrats elected.
Although I am just starting out, I am pleased to say that I have already received commitments of support from many in Trumbull, including some of the influential members of this Trumbull DTC. As this process moves forward, I want to hear from as many of you as possible and get the opportunity to earn your support.
I believe that we can do better for the 22nd District, and that’s why I am running
for State Senate.