Republican candidate for mayor J. Stan McCauley says Eddie Perez has a surprise coming in November
By DANIEL D'AMBROSIO
October 18, 2007
Republican mayoral candidate J. Stan McCauley is planning a November surprise — an electoral victory that will bring Hartford its first Republican mayor in nearly four decades.
McCauley and campaign manager Kevin Brookman, who is a volunteer, have nothing to base their optimism on except gut feelings and what they say is a whole lot of positive feedback from voters. The McCauley campaign can't afford to pay for polling to confirm their suspicions.
"We don't want to telegraph this too much, but they're going to be blindsided," promised Brookman of the Perez camp in the upcoming election.
The way McCauley sees it, Perez's victory in the Democratic primary — traditionally considered the only election that matters in Hartford given there are about 1,900 registered Republicans and about 32,000 registered Democrats — was "by no means a mandate."
Although Perez received 49 percent of the vote, easily outdistancing I. Charles Mathews in second place with 29 percent of the vote, McCauley points out that Perez's winning majority was made up of only 3,750 votes.
Theoretically that leaves a tremendous number of Democratic voters up for grabs, along with Independents and McCauley's natural base of Republican voters. Of course, McCauley himself estimates that of the 1,900 Republicans, only 400 to 500 can be expected to vote.
In fact, Brookman points out political contests in outlying communities like Avon, Bloomfield and West Hartford typically draw more voters than elections here in the big city. In the 2005 municipal election in West Hartford, for example, 16,861 out of 38,617 voters went to the polls, for a turnout of 44 percent. As the highest vote-getter in the majority Democratic Party, incumbent Mayor Scott Slifka won reelection with 10,516 votes.
Compare that to the 7,590 votes Perez received when he was re-elected in 2003, with a total of 11,106 voters going to the polls, an abysmal turnout of 25 percent.
"People say, 'Nobody listens, why should I vote?'" said Brookman of the feedback he and McCauley receive when they campaign around the city.
Lean and youthful, McCauley, 47, looks like he's 35 years old — tops. He has been chief executive officer and executive director of Hartford Public Access Television since 1999.
McCauley has also had a show on the station, called Light Source Victory Television Live, for the past 20 years, which he describes as "using news of the day to communicate ways to live your life by using the Bible as guidance."
"I want to talk to people at the end of the day," said McCauley.
"I'm out every day knocking on doors," said McCauley. "At the end of the day, when you're representing the people of Hartford, every voice is important."