Giles Wins Democratic Endorsement For State House Seat
By DANIEL E. GOREN | Courant Staff Writer
May 24, 2008
Abraham L. Giles, a North End politician whose business dealings with the administration of Mayor Eddie A. Perez have drawn the interest of a state grand jury, has been endorsed by his district's Democratic town committee to run for state representative.
Giles, 81, is seeking the seat of Marie Kirkley-Bey, the incumbent in the city's 5th House District. Giles was one of several people the party endorsed Thursday, including candidates for the city's other state legislative offices and for registrar of voters.
Giles beat Kirkley-Bey for the 5th District's endorsement by a vote of 8-5. Kirkley-Bey, deputy speaker of the House, has said she will gather the necessary signatures to be on the ballot for an August primary against Giles.
Giles served eight terms as a state representative from the North End, from 1973 to 1988. In the mid-1970s, his peers ranked him as the worst legislator in the General Assembly, with a reputation for missing votes vital to constituents. However, Giles had a distinctly different reputation on the streets of his district, where he was known for being a tireless advocate for people with everyday needs.
More recently, his parking lot management business and its dealings with the Perez administration has drawn the interest of state criminal investigators who are looking into possible corruption at city hall. The investigation has not been limited to Giles, but investigators have been interested since at least February 2007 in a no-bid parking lot deal between the former legislator and the city.
Giles' daughter-in-law, Olga I. Vazquez, also won the party's endorsement Thursday for registrar of voters, beating incumbent Shirley Surgeon in a tight race. The first set of ballots cast for the two candidates resulted in a 34-34 tie. A second vote swung Vazquez's way, giving her the party's endorsement, 35-33.
Despite losing the endorsement, Surgeon said Friday that she plans to be on the ballot for the party's primary. It will be the second time the two candidates have faced one another in a primary. In 2004, Surgeon beat Vazquez, who was then the incumbent.
The party also endorsed other candidates, none of whom faced a challenge for the party's backing.
State Rep. Kenneth Green was endorsed for the city's 1st House District; state Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, for the 3rd House District; state Rep. Kelvin Roldan, for the 4th House District; Hector Robles, for the 6th House District; and Doug McCrory, for the 7th House District.
Both of the city's state senators, John Fonfara of the 1st Senate District and Eric Coleman of the 2nd Senate District, have won the party's endorsement. Fonfara will probably face a primary challenge from Edwin Vargas, who has announced his intention to run for the seat.
The Republican Party also endorsed candidates for office this week, backing J. Stan McCauley, known for his recent bid for mayor, to run in the 4th House District; Barbara Ruhe, a Wethersfield lawyer, to take on Fonfara; Veronica Airey-Wilson, a Hartford city council member, to take on Coleman; and Salvatore A. Bramante for registrar of voters.
Bramante won the endorsement over a challenge from Republican Kevin Brookman.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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