To Cast Votes For 1 Mayoral, 1 Treasurer And 6 Council Candidates
By JENNA CARLESSO
September 09, 2011
HARTFORD —— City Democrats will head to the polls Tuesday to choose six city council candidates, one mayoral candidate and a treasurer candidate.
In a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of 18-to-1, the primary is a good predictor of November's general election. Candidates said they are hoping for a high voter turnout despite low turnouts in previous primaries.
Mayor Pedro Segarra's campaign said it has visited some 35,000 city homes so far to talk with constituents and encourage them to go to the polls. The campaign has also made 3,500 to 4,000 calls to residents on some nights, said Phil Sherwood, Segarra's campaign manager.
"We've knocked on doors throughout the city multiple times over," he said. "The mayor has been to most neighborhoods in the city."
Although Segarra is heavily favored and received the endorsement of city Democrats at their nominating convention in July, Sherwood said the mayor isn't taking the primary for granted.
"There's a lot at stake in this particular election," he said. "There's a new council slate, an opportunity for the mayor to establish his own administration. We feel we're in a position of strength, but we're not taking anything for granted."
Segarra is being challenged by Edwin Vargas, a member of the planning and zoning commission and former teachers' union leader. Vargas said Friday he feels confident, having led a strong grass-roots campaign that connected with thousands of voters.
"People want change," he said. "Some people feel that city hall is not responsive to their concerns. It seems like city hall has been more into public relations and creating an image that everything is OK in the city, but people don't feel that at the neighborhood level."
The six Democrats endorsed for city council are council member Kenneth Kennedy; Kyle Anderson, an employee in the state Department of Consumer Protection; council member Alex Aponte; Raul DeJesus, who ran against then-Mayor Eddie Perez in 2007; David MacDonald, chairman of the city's board of education; and Shawn Wooden, a city lawyer.
A four-candidate challenge slate will also appear on the ballot Tuesday. In that slate are city residents Valerie M. Allen, Ashley J. Johnson, Shaquasia M. Goldsby and current city council President rJo Winch, who was not endorsed by the party.
Winch said she included three women in the slate because the Democratic town committee didn't endorse any women at its convention.
"I was livid about that because I know and women know there are issues that men are not going to address — not because they don't want to but because they don't understand them," Winch said.
Adam Cloud received the endorsement for city treasurer. He is being challenged by Lawrence Davis, a former member of the city's internal audit commission.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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