Will City Librarian Scott Hughes Shelve Ayala? Pondering State Senate Primary

Scott Hughes
Scott Hughes

City Librarian Scott Hughes, who recently won a seat on the Democratic Town Committee from the Upper East Side, is considering a run for State Senate against Democratic incumbent Andres Ayala. If Hughes challenges Ayala in an August primary, it certainly would make for an intriguing race.

Hughes says he’s giving some thought to running against Ayala, who won Connecticut’s 23rd Senate District seat following a close primary win over Ernie Newton and incumbent Ed Gomes two years ago. A State Senate run would be new territory for Hughes who was part of coalition in 2009 that led a successful referendum to bolster library revenues, now requiring one mil be allocated toward the library budget.

Andres Ayala
State Senator Andres Ayala

Rather than face Ayala again this year, Newton has decided to challenge Don Clemons who occupies Newton’s old State House seat.

Hughes joined an opposition force against political veterans in the 138th District that won six of nine seats on the Democratic Town Committee in March. It is the home district of Maria Pereira, who resigned a few days ago as Bridgeport chair of the Connecticut Working Families Party in a dispute over the WFP leadership’s support of Governor Dan Malloy. Pereira campaigned on behalf of the insurgents.

The Senate district Hughes is considering covers about two thirds of Bridgeport and a small portion of Stratford. If Hughes runs he’ll try to qualify for campaign funds under the state’s public financing system. He says he expects to make a final decision within the next week.

Following last September’s thrashing of all endorsed Democrats for school board and City Council, political insurgents are trying to field candidates against the political establishment.



  1. Public libraries are a most special PUBLIC service. About ten years ago, City budgets annually flatlined library funds. Three of four satellites were in sad physical shape including Black Rock that was closed. (The City found State LOCIP funds finally for Black Rock.)

    The Library system has its own Board where members are selected by the Board, though the City Council gets to approve. The Board is clearly non-partisan (non-political, a reason a judge in the CT system is able to be a member). Another personal observation is the Library Board has the most educated (in terms of college and post-graduate degrees) and most varied vocational experience volunteer public service group in the City while still maintaining responsibility for providing serious representation to the diversity that is Bridgeport.

    Scott Hughes had previous library experience out of state and understood some peculiarities of library funding that were present in statutes. He introduced the idea for a referendum and was opposed by the administration. Community support from people who use the libraries won a victory. It has not made it any easier to operate libraries where interaction with City departments can hold up professional appointments for too many months. The Library system has also therefore left “money on the table” each year, not receiving the full 1 Mil. Whether those “savings” have flowed to a “Library reserve” fund is not clear in the latest CAFR, but 10-15% of their budget is a significant number and would certainly allow the development of East Side and East End services, something that has not proceeded smoothly and rapidly although the economic plan of the Library Board contemplated that three years ago.

    I am not in that Senatorial district so I do not follow Andres Ayala’s legislative activities closely. And I have no idea how he balances his education vocation in Bridgeport with his duties as a Senator in Hartford. Scott Hughes would be in a similar position in some ways, but as a relative newcomer to the City itself and the East Side specifically, building relationships and name identity is critical.

    As a regular visitor to several City Library properties, I find them well used, especially after school hours. And I am pleased to see the attempt to be partners in neighborhood interests and pursuits for all people as well as an increase in the hours they are open. People seem positive on levels of service, no easy responsibility in frugal times. New hat in the ring? New ideas to assist Bridgeport citizens with their heaviest burdens? Time will tell.

  2. Scott Hughes is a breath of fresh air! I wish him success and hope he decides to run. He is just what we need. Smart, thoughtful and NOT POLITICALLY connected. I will help him any way I can!

  3. This is Hughes news. It’s a Hughes lift in the quality of candidates especially in the field of minority candidates. I have my checkbook in hand. So far I’ve contributed to Dave Walker for Connecticut (R), Timothy M. Herbst (R), and Denise Moore (D). I’m waiting to see who else steps up to the plate. Beam me up, Scotty!

  4. If Scott Hughes decides to run against Ayala, my wife and I will work like hell to get him elected.
    Andres Ayala is a zero, he is the best fence rider in Bridgeport. You will never get a commitment from him on most subjects unless the mayor gives him the order.
    Andres Ayala has been around politics long enough, it’s time for him to go, try doing your job with the BOE.


  5. This is just great!!! I’m glad he has decided (hopefully) to run for public office at any level. A very talented, gifted and smart man who has the skills to listen. This has nothing to do with race, all one has to do is meet and talk to Scott Hughes to judge for themselves.

  6. Maybe, just maybe we are seeing people of quality step forward and run for public office. Scott Hughes’ entry into the senate race is a breath of fresh air.
    It’s up to us to keep track of what’s going on in this upcoming run. If you don’t think Finch and Company are not going to come after Scott, think again.
    We need people like Scott to step forward and it is happening, we have to continue to show people we will stand behind new candidates who want to oust the good-old-boy do-nothing elected officials we have had rammed down our throats. Go get them Scott, and hang tough.

  7. I heard some really great things about Scott Hughes while he was running with Melanie Jackson for the DTC. I am certain if he becomes a candidate, people will definitely listen. Voters are beginning to get tired of the status quo. Some people are natural leaders, others are sycophantic followers. My gut tells me a new breed of youthful, apolitical leaders will emerge in this city who can and will win elections, bypassing the Town Committees if necessary. Bridgeport is ripe for new, untainted talent, individuals who are not related, attached or beholden to tired, uncreative, non-productive career politicians.
    Andres Ayala is a very nice guy. He is intelligent and eloquent. There is nothing wrong with competition for a coveted position that can improve our city. I hope Scott Hughes runs. May the best man win. The Democrats in the City appear to be very splintered. The conversations I have daily attest to this. The next few elections will be very, very interesting. I will enjoy being a spectator.

      1. In the words of John Marshall Lee, time will tell. I am open to all candidates and will listen with respect until I decide and then, well Joel you know the drill. We have worked together on campaigns. Once decided, well … my gut tells me we will most likely not be working on the same campaign. I could be wrong.

  8. Steven,
    Reasonable observations about the playing field at the moment.
    I just want to remind you when you term yourself a “spectator,” remember to share with folks you, as a taxpayer, are a “paying spectator.” You fund your seat for the show that is Bridgeport and have no special benefit like a job, a contract, a special preference from a “friend” to make your ticket burden lighter. How many on the City Council can make that statement? Time will tell.

    1. JML. Am I my brothers keeper? In the words of Pope Francis, who am I to judge? I can assure you of only one thing, when I decide, the voters of this city who cross my path will know. All of them.


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