The Burn Of Absentee Ballots–Pereira’s Endorsed Dems In Upper East Side Drop Out

UPDATE: Endorsed candidates in 138th District drop out. What’s the big deal about the solar eclipse? Mountain ranges of absentee ballots have blocked the city sun for decades and, guess what? They’re available this week for the September 12 primaries featuring Democratic contests in 9 of 10 City Council districts.

In recent years districts 130th, 132nd, 137th and 138th have led the absentee ballot action and so far that seems to be the case, although other districts play as well. Most of the activity centers on districts with public housing and senior citizen buildings.

The Town Clerk’s Office that oversees the processing of absentee ballots brings in seasonal election help to ensure the heavy crush of ballots are accommodated. The majority of elector requests are precipitated by campaign operatives who provide serial absentee voters applications. The ballot is mailed by the Town Clerk’s Office and the most detailed pols follow up with their peeps. Did ya mail in your ballot? Some of the most unscrupulous push the envelope, assisting with ballot help, even though state law essentially limits the touching of a ballot to an immediate family member or caretaker. When it comes to Bridgeport absentee ballots, next of kin takes on a whole new meaning.

The only early form of voting available to Connecticut electors is via excuse-only absentee ballot, three weeks out. Electors may also fill out an absentee ballot on the spot at the Town Clerk’s office.

Hundreds of absentee ballots will be mailed to voters this week with hundreds more each week prior to the primary. It’s possible that a few districts may actually experience higher volume AB voting than those electors who make it to the polls, that’s the nature of the beast in sleepy contests with turnouts 10 percent and less. Some city pols love banking ABs as a safety net. And it sometimes forces the competition to do the same for fear precinct turnout won’t measure up. And so it goes.

Meanwhile on Monday the endorsed council candidates in the Upper East Side, Timothy Bassey and Michele Small, recruited by 138th District Leader Maria Pereira who controls the endorsement, notified the Town Clerk’s Office they’ve dropped out of the race. That means no candidates will appear on Line A for voters at Hooker School and JFK Campus. A back ailment so far has sidelined Pereira from active campaigning. She vowed to defeat incumbents Anthony Paoletto and Nessah Smith who appear on Line B. Karen Jackson and Samia Suliman appear on Line C. Three challenge candidates for Board of Education that Pereira was backing, JoAnn Kennedy, Eric Stewart-Alicea and Helen Losak failed to achieve the necessary petition signatures to qualify for the primary. It’s unclear if Pereira’s health will allow her to be a factor in the council primary. Jackson and Suliman would become her default candidates to support. They were also supporting Pereira’s school board candidates, featuring them on literature.

Here’s the line up for September 12, the first two candidates are endorsed running on Line A.

130: Scott Burns and Rowan Kane; Line B, Christina Smith and Pete Spain.

131: Jack Banta and Denese Taylor-Moye; Line B, Jorge Cruz.

132: Evette Brantley and Rolanda Smith; Line B, Marcus Brown and Kyle Langan.

133: Jeanette Herron and Michael DeFilippo; Line B, Bob Keeley and Anne Pappas Phillips.

135: Rosalina Christy and Darrett Evans Moss; Line B, Mary McBride-Lee and Richard Salter.

136: Alfredo Castillo and Maria Zambrano-Viggiano; Line B, Joe Casco.

137: Aidee Nieves and Maria Valle; Line B, Hector Diaz and Milta Feliciano.

138: Line A, no candidates; Line B, Anthony Paoletto and Nessah Smith; Line C, Karen Jackson and Samia Suliman.

139: Eneida Martinez and James Holloway; Line B, Ernie Newton, Line C, Wanda Simmons.

The two City Council candidates with the most votes in each district go on to the general election.



  1. Come on Lennie. This deserves more than an UPDATE. What’s going in here? Jobs to buy off candidates?
    I don’t know that son but this sounds like something the old man would pull off.

    1. No, Troll, not about jobs to buy off candidates. From what I’m picking up more of a strategic bait and switch in which there was an effort to align the candidates Maria Pereira was supporting for school board and City Council. Bassey and Small may have simply been short term show horses, not her preferred candidates. Jackson and Suliman lit featured the three school board challengers. In the end Pereira’s school board candidates failed to make the ballot.

      1. So this reads like it was more of a failed political move. The signatures campaigns may have been hindered by her absence but looks like that failure had a domino effect. Why not just pick those other candidates from the beginning?

        1. Because it would mean they’d be on the same top line as the endorsed school board candidates Pereira opposes. Pereira controls the endorsement for her district but not citywide. In the end a strategy that did not materialize.

      2. Maria Pereira is not the political guru that a few people may think, even with her back problem Maria could have played the sympathy card. If her support is as big as she leads everybody to believe Maria could text, email, phone calls, mailing to get voters out to the polls. If Maria had a coalition of BBOE or of others who are able to get voters out. Remember Maria is one of ten district leaders in the DTC so she should but no, Maria is a island onto herself. be able get support

    2. Talking about “the old man”. Did anyone see the old man on a horse wearing an I love Puerto Rico shirt, riding around the 137th district yelling “THE AB’S ARE COMING?”

  2. Bob. This sounds like the issue is more the absence of Maria. Highly unlikely her candidates step aside for jobs. I think this is more a case of not having Maria’s full time input. Like her or not she knows how to run a campaign and has the results in her district to prove it. This election would have been a lot more interesting with her at full strength.

  3. Well let the Game Began Yesterday down at Newfield Park Someone tried to get real slick with the ABS applications but we so it coming. I told my VOTERS If Anyone comes to your House or sees you on the STREET trying to get you to VOTE BY abs and you are able to go to tyhe polls GET THAT PERSON”S NAME. WE have written STATEMENTS from VOTERS on what happen at NEWFIELD PARK YESTERDAY. MYb staff is checking to see if they turn them IN.MY PEOPLE ARE WATCHING!

    1. You can tell it’s going to be a typical Bpt. Political Dog-fight, once candidates & their campaign workers start telling on each other & the opposite political side. It’s who can tell on the other first & show proff of an elections violation! Good advice for both sides is to make sure you pay your workers, no?

  4. LOL @ Ernie….Word of advice Ernie,don’t use the term “steal” in any of your speeches or comments here.It reminds people what a thief you are..

  5. Day and Ron. I actually agree with you. That’s what makes the other comments on this thread ridiculous. For get about JML’s red boots or Waders bust out the diving suit because the bullshit is getting deep. LOL Is anyone going to address the fact the Mario, the DTC chairman, candidates, (Anthony and Nessah) lost to Maria’s candidates for the DTC endorsement? From what I read two nobodies who dropped out. That’s not a Machiavellian strategy to get Anthony and Nessah reelected. Unless it was for Anthony to lose some weight by collecting signature and I doubt that because being big and Italian is a thing. There’s some deal cutting going on.

  6. Sorry Len but that still doesn’t make sense. Her aldermanic candidates were on the top line. The party endorsed candidates for BOE were on the top line. So why not vote for no endorsement and lock out everyone from the top line.
    At least that way she has a chance of getting her candidate, both BOE and City Coucil on the same line. This ends up being a lose lose situation

    1. Troll, I agree with your strategy. Maria apparently saw it a different way. My sense is she envisioned some sort of element of surprise. Prop up two endorsed candidates. Her preferred candidates file their primary signatures first, ending up on Line B with the school board challengers. Once they qualify for the ballot, her endorsed candidates drop out. Paoletto and Smith were the first, however, to submit and qualify for the ballot placing them on Line B. Maria’s school board slate didn’t have enough sigs, in the end, to qualify. So, if that’s the case, her strategy falls short either way.

  7. If Maria could have come up it the votes to endorse her “nobody” candidate for CC. Then why couldn’t she also come up with the votes for her BOE candidates. The only surprise was her candidates won the nominations. Lennie how would have that plan worked out if her BOE candidates won the nomination also?

  8. Robert,

    As Lennie stated the strategy was to put up 2 shadow candidates to block the nomination for Anthony and Nessa, who controlled the Fonsecas’ and Figueroa’s proxies.

    The plan was to fill a Row B with anti-establishment candidates (i.e. the 9 CC races going on now.) Much to our chagrin Paoletta/Smith secured their signatures in one day. From what I understand they went to 725 Palisades Ave and “duped” the residents into signing their ballot petitions. Anthony handed in their required signatures on the Wednesday after the Convention.

    We found out that the incumbents had a 24-hour turn around towards the end of the two week signature campaign.

    To answer your question regarding trying to earn the DTC endorsement…Do you really think that the (non)resident bigot would endorse folks that he could not control?

    JML is on to something when he gives his financial breakdowns. There are so many “hidden” jobs in the BOE. When was the last time a civil service exam was given? Did you know that the custodian position is a civil service position? They fill those spots, but not through the civil service process.

    It was a tough slog to get the signatures we did. Some things didn’t go our way, but I learned things on the fly, I made some new allies that I will work with in the future. If I decide to jump into politics again, I will definitely have the support, and partnerships to be successful.

    1. Eric Alicea, C’Mon Man, with all respect, please stop the spinning. There are those in the 138th district who allowed Maria to control their campaign and depending on her to get them elected. Maria doesn’t have it like but Eric you got it right when you wrote, “It was a tough slog to get the signatures we did. Some things didn’t go our way, but I learned things on the fly, I made some new allies that I will work with in the future. If I decide to jump into politics again, I will definitely have the support, and partnerships to be successful.” Eric, your words would help Maria but no way, it’s all about Maria.

      1. Ron,

        I have recently moved out of the 138th. I have already wished most of my DTC members over there well. I’m sure there will be changes in the 138th; I hope they stay independent of the Machine.

    2. Control is the key word. If anything this was to send a message to all candidates You can lose the DTC endorsement. There’s was a person, including Maria who thought her candidates would win the DTC endorsement over Anthony and Hessah. There was no reason for them to drop out of the race after willing because of which line someone is one. REALLY. SMH

  9. Eric I commend you for the effort you put into a very arduous process, and in particular your positive almost philosophical response. While anyone entering into a political contest goes in with the hope of winning, there’s never a guarantee of that happening. As we’ve witnessed in the 138th district, something out of everyone’s control occurred and tilted the playing field. Keep trying and you’re a winner. You’ve already demonstrated you can accept that with dignity; take what you learned along the way to make the next time easier. In three weeks we’ll know the results of these contests, some may change, maybe none will change, but everyone involved and engaged should be commended.

  10. Absentee ballots are the weight used to swing elections in Bridgeport. Jim Himes, Dannell Malloy, Richard Blumenthal, Chris Murphy, et al, owe their offices to Mario Testa’s AB operation. It ain’t ethical but it is ruthlessly efficient.


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