HARTFORD— Mayor Pedro Segarra swept to victory Tuesday in the Democratic primary, defeating Edwin Vargas 4,137-1,506.
Vargas conceded the race at 10 p.m., said his campaign manager, Jorge Cabrera.
"It's one step closer to another [term]," said Segarra, who garnered the Democrats' endorsement at their nominating convention in July. "I am relieved. I look forward to devoting more time to the challenges we have."
Segarra said he earned the support of voters by running a positive campaign and putting his mayoral responsibilities before his candidacy.
"I continued all along to make running the city my primary business," he said. "I was working as mayor each and every day."
Vargas said that he felt good about the campaign he ran.
"I think it's been a very assertive campaign," said Vargas, a member of the city's planning and zoning commission. "What I wanted to do was communicate with as many voters on a personal level as I could."
"I feel very good about it. I feel I reached a critical mass of supporters."
In an overwhelmingly Democratic city, the primary is a good predictor of November's general election. Democrats outnumber Republicans 18-1, so Republican mayoral candidate Michael McGarry and any petitioning candidates will face long odds in November.
The Democratic registrar of voters, Olga Vazquez, said that about 17 percent of registered Democrats turned out to vote in Tuesday's primary.
Resident Jeff Capelle said he voted for the mayor because the city has become a "much more positive environment" since Segarra took over.
"I think he's doing an excellent job, and I want to see him continue to do that job," said Capelle, who lives on Gold Street. "Things are getting done."
Glaisma Perez Silva, another Segarra supporter, said that the mayor has brought stability to city government and raised morale in the community.
"He had the courage, the knowledge and the strength to bring the assurance of leadership," Perez Silva said. "Definitely, you can see the impact."
Norman Neal, another city resident, said he supported Vargas.
"I just feel like he's for the people," Neal said.
In the city council race, all six endorsed candidates won their primaries with overwhelming margins against the four-person challenge slate put together by city Council President rJo Winch, who did not receive the party's endorsement.
The endorsed candidates are Councilman Kenneth Kennedy; Kyle Anderson, an employee in the state Department of Consumer Protection; Councilman Alex Aponte; Raul DeJesus, who ran against then-Mayor Eddie A. Perez in 2007; David MacDonald, chairman of the city's board of education; and Shawn Wooden, a city lawyer.
The challenge slate consisted of Winch and residents Valerie M. Allen, Ashley J. Johnson and Shaquasia M. Goldsby.
City Treasurer Adam Cloud, the endorsed candidate, defeated Lawrence Davis 3,389-1,351.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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