Primary Election Complete with Mixed Emotions

August 18, 2014 at 15:18


Councilman Shawn Wooden Losses primary to Coleman. Photo by Merle Davis

Councilman Shawn Wooden Losses primary to Coleman. Photo by Merle Davis

Elections: Primary Election Complete with Mixed Emotions

Hartford – (By Andrea Comer – Inquiring News) – North Hartford voters resolved two political questions last week: Who would represent the Democrats in the 2nd Senatorial District? And who – barring a Republican miracle – would be the State Representative for the 7th Assembly District?

In some ways, both races reinforced existing wedges in our community, and in others created new ones. In the Senate race, Eric Coleman was a 10-term incumbent with a fiercely loyal crew of supporters. Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden, who launched a run for the seat more than a decade ago, was back to challenge Coleman, this time with the backing of former Mayor Thirman Milner, current Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and a majority of the Hartford town committee who made up the 2nd Senatorial District. Coleman, however, had the backing of the Bloomfield Town Committee, not to mention a virtual alphabet of unions, including AFL-CIO and SEIU.

Windsor seemed to be the municipality in question, although that town also had a candidate in Lenworth Walker. Ultimately, it was Coleman who won the August 12th primary, with 3,211 votes. Wooden came in second with 2,852 votes, and Walker was a distant third with just 151 votes. While Coleman dominated Bloomfield 1004-620, the Council President won Hartford with just over 100 votes. Coleman returned the favor in Windsor, beating Wooden by a little more than 100 votes. Coleman will face a challenge against Republican Theresa Tillett in November.

“I’ve been very pleased by the kind of support I received from 2nd District voters throughout my tenure as Senator, and very happy that the constituents believed I was worthy of their support,” Coleman said. “I believe among the reasons for that support was the number of years I’ve served in the Senate. I think although that was portrayed as a negative, seniority is a great asset in the legislature. There are only six people with more seniority in the Senate, and this gives me the chance to compete for the position of Majority Leader. In that role I can focus on the issues that are important to the people of the 2nd Senatorial District, and I would be the first person of color to assume that role.”

Coleman also spoke to the suggestion that his time at the legislature had been too long. “Obviously I can be disappointed by things that people say. People get very caught up and go to the extreme to bring about the best possible chance for their candidate. What I’m hoping is that going forward, we can work together so those animosities can be minimized for the benefit of the community. Whatever conflict or factions have occurred can be healed and mended so we can go about doing what’s best for the community.”

Wooden also said he was committed to moving forward to better the community. “I’m proud of the campaign we ran, which focused on the issues and the future of our community. As City. Council President, I look forward to continuing to focus on jobs and economic development, public safety and our schools,” Wooden said.

In Hartford’s 7th Assembly District, incumbent Doug McCrory easily beat newcomer Donna Thompson-Daniel, winning by more than 700 votes (948-237). Thompson-Daniel, who is known in the community not only as a school crossing guard but also for her efforts on behalf of her community, plans to challenge as an independent in November.

McCrory, who will serve his seventh term as State Representative if victorious in November, welcomed the challenge. “Blue Hills is my home. It’s where I was raised and where I’ve chosen to live with my family,” said the assistant principal and longtime educator. “This community knows me and they know what I stand for. This election gave me an opportunity to confirm that, and to keeping doing what I have always done, stay connected to my neighbors.”

While both incumbents claimed victory in Hartford, Bridgeport was another story. Former State Senator Ernie Newton, who had served more than eight terms before a well-publicized fall from grace, hoped to restart his political career with a 697-430 primary win over Bridgeport Board of Education member Andre Baker, according to the Secretary of the State.

Baker, a former City Council member, did have thumbs-ups of his own, however. Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, a one time opponent, endorsed Baker, as did House Speaker Brendan Sharkey.

As both communities look to November, one question remains: How long will it take for the rifts these races reinforced in our communities to mend?

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