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Democrats To Endorse Mayoral, City Council Candidates

By Jenna Carlesso

July 19, 2011

HARTFORD -- Mayor Pedro Segarra will almost certainly garner the Democratic Town Committee's endorsement during its nominating committee Thursday, committee members said.

Segarra, who took over after former Mayor Eddie Perez resigned last year, is seeking his own term. Perez left office a week after he was convicted on felony corruption charges.

"There's overwhelming support for Pedro Segarra to receive the nomination of the Democratic Town Committee," said John Kennelly, a member of the committee. "The support comes from all corners of the city. I feel he will be very soundly endorsed."

Segarra, a Democrat, has been considered the frontrunner in the race, especially since his strongest opponent -- city lawyer Shawn Wooden -- announced late last month that he would drop out and instead support Segarra. Wooden said his decision came after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy encouraged him to put his "differences aside" with Segarra.

"I know he has support in every single district," state Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, D-Hartford, a member of the town committee, said of Segarra. "He's going to get the nomination, no doubt."

Mayoral candidates Edwin Vargas and J. Stan McCauley, both Democrats, said they would wage primaries by collecting signatures if they don't get the endorsement on Thursday.

"The convention tends to favor the incumbent," said Vargas, a city commissioner of planning and zoning. "I'm planning on collecting signatures for both the Democratic primary and the election."

Several members of the town committee said the treasurer race would be highly contested. Four candidates have joined the pool -- current treasurer Adam Cloud, city tax collector Marc Nelson, state Rep. Kelvin Roldan, D-Hartford, and Lawrence Davis, a member of the city's internal audit commission -- though political insiders said that Cloud and Davis have the most support.

None of the candidates has enough support yet to get the endorsement, sources said.

The committee also will endorse six candidates for city council. Candidates with strong support include Kenneth Kennedy and Alexander Aponte, who both currently serve on the council, as well as Kyle Anderson, an employee for the state Department of Consumer Protection, Raul DeJesus, who unsuccessfully ran against Perez for mayor in 2007, and Kathleen Kowalyshyn, a city attorney, political insiders said. Other candidates with support include Wooden and Andrea Comer, a former Hartford Board of Education member.

Comer, however, wrote on her Facebook page Monday that she has withdrawn from the race. She could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Sources said that if the candidates with the strongest support get endorsed, it would change the Democrats' traditional representation of two Latinos, two African-Americans and two white members on the council. That racial makeup has been in play for years.

Gonzalez, who is a proponent of the "two-two-two" makeup, said it should stay that way.

"Why give more power to one community versus another?" she said. "Everybody has the same representation and I think we should stick with that and work with that."

But Julio Concepcion, another town committee member, called the makeup "outdated."

"I understand why it was implemented," he said, "but I think the city is in a place where it needs the six best candidates regardless of their race."

The Democratic Town Committee's convention will be held Thursday at Bulkeley High School, 300 Wethersfield Ave. It will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Reprinted with permission of the CityLine blog of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the CityLine at http://blogs.courant.com/cityline/ and the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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