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Perez Nearing Campaign Kickoff

April 5, 2007
By DANIEL E. GOREN, Courant Staff Writer

Mayor Eddie A. Perez is expected to officially kick off his re-election campaign Monday, filling out a field of candidates in what political insiders say could be one of Hartford's most ferocious election battles in recent memory.

Perez has long been considered a candidate, having already filed papers to register for the race. He has scheduled a 5 p.m. press conference for Monday at Rawson Elementary School.

Representatives from his campaign declined to comment Wednesday, saying they preferred to wait for Monday's event.

But according to an advisory for the announcement, Perez will be joined Monday by three campaign co-chairs - Luis Caban, a resident of the Frog Hollow neighborhood and president of the Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance; the Rev. Alvan N. Johnson Jr., a resident of the Blue Hills neighborhood and leader of the Bethel AME Church of Hartford and Bloomfield; and Ted Carroll, a resident of Hartford's South End and president of the civic organization Leadership Greater Hartford.

Each co-chair represents a vital voting district that a candidate must secure to succeed, those who follow city politics said Wednesday. They also said that Perez is considered by many to be the candidate to catch in this race.

But there is also expected to be heavy political bumper-grinding on the road to the Democratic town committee's convention in July.

To date, six Democratic candidates are trying to unseat the mayor - former state Sen. Frank D. Barrows, state Rep. Art Feltman, State Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, former Deputy Mayor I. Charles Mathews, political newcomer Raul De Jesus and youth advocate the Rev. Patrice Smith.

Political insiders say Perez is seen as being at his weakest since he was first elected in 2001. That has prompted the heavy competition as he fights for his party's endorsement in July and to win the Democratic primary in September.

Critics of Perez say he has exposed himself politically by exploiting the power given to him under the city's new strong-mayor system, and by ostracizing those who disagree with him.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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