Field operatives are fanning across neighborhoods for signatures to help candidates petition onto the August 9 Democratic primary ballot for state office.
The featured races include State Rep. Jack Hennessy challenging party-endorsed City Councilman Marcus Brown, Pierre d’Haiti versus party-nodded Fred Gee in the 126th State House District and Juliemar Ortiz trying to qualify against party backed Herron Gaston and incumbent State Senator Dennis Bradley who’ll be on trial this week defending federal charges he manipulated Connecticut’s public finance program during his run for state office in 2018. Bradley received enough support at the party convention to wage a primary.
Hennessy, d’Haiti and Ortiz must secure validated signatures from five percent of registered Democrats in the respective districts. For Ortiz that’s roughly 2,000 signatures. Connecticut’s 23rd Senate District represents about two thirds of Bridgeport and a piece of western Stratford. Hennessy’s 127th District largely covers the North End and piece of the West Side. Incumbent Charlie Stallworth is not seeking reelection in the 126th District so it is an open seat.
June 7, 4 p.m., is the deadline to submit signatures.
Political eyes this week will be on Bradley’s trial which is expected to last well into June. He’s charged with multiple counts of wire fraud centered on his 2018 campaign announcement at Dolphin’s Cove in the East End. The government asserts Bradley manipulated donor cards and campaign finance reports in an attempt to receive roughly $180,000 in public dollars. Former school board member Jessica Martinez, who served as his campaign treasurer, has also been charged with multiple counts of wire fraud as well as providing false information to a grand jury and federal investigators.
Martinez’s effort to sever herself from this trial, claiming Bradley maneuvered her to cover up his own misconduct, was rejected by U.S. District Judge Victor Bolden. The government is expected to call more than 30 witnesses from a cross section of political figures, election officials and campaign workers.
The verdict in this case will determine Bradley’s relevancy for public office: lose and his political future is dampened; win and he’s emboldened to press on and likely for a mayoral run in 2023.