I love the strategic dynamics of primaries. They’re so much different than general elections, especially a high turnout presidential cycle when you know people are voting. You can have more votes than the opponent on primary day and still lose. You can catch the opponent napping, you can out hustle him with a stronger vote-day operation.
We’re just six weeks away from primary day Aug. 12 and we have a whole bunch of them taking form, from congress, to state senate to state representative.
One year ago at this time, Bill Finch was working party pols to line up votes for endorsement by the Democratic Town Committee that walked away from John Fabrizi because they feared arch-enemy Chris Caruso would win the mayoralty and powerwash the political establishment into the Pequonnock River. Finch’s polling showed him 10 points behind Caruso. Donors threw money at Finch because they were terrified of the prospects of a Caruso mayoralty. Finch outspent Caruso two to one, and it was just enough to squeeze past Caruso’s myopic message: I’m honest and the other side is corrupt … education, taxes, economic development be damned. In the end Caruso was preaching to the choir–he already had the so-called reform votes–and needed to persuade, just a little, voters suspicious of his message. In the end, Caruso lost. Finch didn’t win.
I don’t expect Caruso to have much trouble defeating City Councilman Carlos Silva on Aug. 12. Caruso is super popular in his legislative district, as results showed in his race against Finch. Caruso had voter issues in other parts of the city. I don’t expect Jim Himes to have much trouble defeating verbal slinger Lee Whitnum, the winner to face Congressman Christopher Shays. I’m more interested in the kind of race the Himes campaign runs such as alliance building leading up to the primary.
But there are a number of races to watch, including the battle royal pitting State Rep. Bob Keeley and former City Council member from Black Rock Auden Grogins. Both are working hard, both are strong personalities and both provoke strong opinions.
On paper the Democratic primary between endorsed candidate Anthony Musto, the Trumbull town treasurer and Marilyn Moore, former legislative aide to State Sen. Ed Gomes, is advantage Musto. Moore is from Bridgeport. Can she build coalitions outside the party apparatus supporting Musto to take advantage of the city’s Democratic registration advantage over Trumbull and Monroe? Both are busy raising money to spend heavily in the final weeks.
Other races for state representative to watch include State Rep. Andres Ayala trying to fend off party endorsed Lydia Martinez, who had once occupied his seat. And then there’s the trifecta battle in the lower half of the city. City Councilman Eze Santiago has most of the seasoned pols supporting him and is the favorite to carry the district. But party veteran Chico Rivera, who knows the area well, and unorthodox newcomer Sly Salcedo, who fought the government’s war on drugs in the Navy and says it’s a sham, are mounting spirited challenges.
Get ready everyone. Here come the candidates.
It’s called power of incumbency. A news release from Christopher Shays.
Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Act Clears Full Committee with $1.5 Million for Fourth District
Projects for Bridgeport and Stamford
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Christopher Shays (CT-4) announced the Fiscal Year 2009 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Act, which cleared the full House Appropriations Committee June 25, and includes $1.5 million for key projects in the Fourth Congressional District. Funding will support work in Bridgeport and Stamford and is supported by the Mayors in each City.
“This is a great next-step for improvements throughout our District,” Shays said. “These projects will help us improve security and after-school programs in the district. The appropriations process is a long one and I will continue to work to secure this funding.”
“I thank Congressman Shays on behalf of all Bridgeport residents for these important funds for our lighthouse after-school program and the Fresh Start Re-Entry program,” stated Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “Our Lighthouse after-school programs keep kids safe, help working families and improve academic achievements. These federal funds will help the children of our city continue to be active in these vibrant programs and provide important resources for ex-offenders to re-enter the workforce and community life.”
“In a post 9/11 world, the interoperability of emergency response systems is critical to ensuring public safety,” Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy said. “Stamford is grateful to Congressman Shays for his leadership on this issue.”
Lighthouse After-School Program: $500,000
For operating support of its summer and after-school program that will include a partnership with the State Department of Environmental Protection under its “No Child Left Inside” program. Between 2005 and 2008, we have secured $912,550 in funding for this program.
Fresh Start Community ReEntry Program: $300,000
To fund creative employment and training solutions for ex-offenders returning to the Bridgeport Community. The funding will also fund the research component to identify exemplary employment and training practices for ex offenders. We have received a total of $450,000 for this program since 2003.
Fresh Start provides pre-release planning, post-release community support, housing, and creative employment and training solutions for released prisoners.
Yale University is currently evaluating the effectiveness of the pilot and to further ramp up Fresh Start Enterprises, the Delancey Street Foundation-like business development entity that is creating ex-offender employment through micro-businesses.