In Hartford Primary, Reform Candidates Say They Have Weakened Perez's Support
By STEVEN GOODE
March 04, 2010
The dust has yet to settle on Tuesday's Democratic town committee primary and probably won't for at least a few days until a recount is completed Friday in the 4th District.
But regardless of the outcome, reform-minded candidates appear to have made some inroads on Mayor Eddie A. Perez's support on the town committee.
In the 5th District election, all 12 of the town committee seats went decisively to a reform slate running against a pro-Perez slate that featured three family members of Abraham Giles, a longtime Hartford political operative and Perez ally.
That gain was offset in the 7th District, however, where 13 seats went to a group composed of longtime Perez supporters.
Perez also has strong support from most of the delegates from the 4th and 6th districts, which have nine and 13 seats, respectively.
If he had complete control of those districts, Perez would have a 35-vote majority, enough to control the 66-member Democratic committee. But there are pockets of resistance that could make the 4th District results essential to maintaining a majority.
Nine spots are at stake in the 4th District. If the tally from Tuesday's election stands after Friday's recount, the pro-Perez slate led by state Rep. Kelvan Roldan would take eight of the nine seats.
The other seat would go to Luz Sullivan, who on Wednesday said she intended to support the reformers, including Bruce Rubenstein, a city lawyer who is seeking the town committee chairmanship currently held by Sean Arena, a Perez supporter.
"All I'm saying is we need a change," Sullivan said. "As much as I like Sean, I'm not voting for him."
Rubenstein said Wednesday that he believed the primary results and the small pockets of resistance in pro-Perez districts would give him the 34-vote majority he needs to unseat Arena and take away the mayor's rule on the committee.
"The result weakens his base," Rubenstein said Wednesday.
Arena, who has not announced whether he will seek re-election as chairman, disagreed, saying Wednesday that Perez has support throughout the committee and across all six districts.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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