Connecticut wants change: Incumbent mayors lose key primary races

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Luke Bronin declares victory in the Hartford primary with his son, Teo, and his wife, Sara, by his side on Sept. 16, 2015 at the Polish National Home in Hartford.

HARTFORD – It seems as though Connecticut residents are looking for a change.

Three incumbent mayors lost Democratic primaries Wednesday night, signaling an interest in a change of leadership in some municipalities.

After leading the city of Hartford for five years, Mayor Pedro Segarra fell to political newcomer Luke Bronin in the city’s Democratic primary 55-45.

The incumbent mayor called the first-time candidate Wednesday night to concede, but Segarra’s political future is now hazy.

“While I am disappointed in tonight’s results, this does not change my commitment to this campaign nor the people of Hartford,” Segarra said in a statement.

He has enough signatures to appear on the November ballot as an unaffiliated candidate, and he previously said he would make that general election run if he lost the primary, but now he’s deferring the decision.

“It’s been an intense week with the campaign, and I need to take some rest. I want to make good, rational-based decisions,” he said. “That’s going to require for me to rest a little bit, and then tomorrow, or shortly thereafter, I will be able to let you know what the next steps are.”

 

Joe Ganim celebrates his win at campaign headquarters Wednesday.

Joe Ganim celebrates his win at campaign headquarters Wednesday.

In Bridgeport, a former convict beat out the city’s incumbent mayor.

Joseph Ganim, a former Bridgeport mayor himself, served seven years in prison on a 2003 corruption conviction for steering city contracts in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts when he was in office.

“We started this journey together so many of us so many months, so many months ago, as only a dream inspired by the suffering in many ways and the disenchantment of so many people in the city of Bridgeport who wanted to only have a better quality of life,” Ganim said.

In a close race, he beat Mayor Bill Finch, who has led Bridgeport since 2007, 51-49.

Finch seemed more determined than Segarra to take on his challenger again.

“There’s no doubt Mr. Ganim is one of the most corrupt people that was ever elected to office,” Finch said. “I’m very confident in the general election, where many more people vote, we’ll put a stop to this nonsense.”

Four years ago, it was a proud moment for Daryl Finizio when he became New London’s first ever mayor. He assumed office in 2011 in the first election after the municipality switched over from a city manager system.

Passero, left, beat incumbent mayor Daryl Finizio in the Democratic primary Wednesday.

Passero, left, beat incumbent mayor Daryl Finizio in the Democratic primary Wednesday.

On Wednesday, City council president Michael Passero beat out Finizio in the Democratic primary.

“I think the city is united in the issues,” Passero, a firefighter, said. “We need to restore professional management to City Hall. We need to get all the talent that’s been pushed to the sidelines back in the game. We need to rebuild our public safety agencies. We have a lot of work to in New London, but we’re optimistic we can do it.”

In the case of New London, the incumbent was ready to hand over the reins to the man who beat him.

“This was a hard-fought race for over a year with a lot of strong feelings on both sides,” Finizio said. “But I told Mr. Passero that he would have my full support for the November election and hopefully his term as mayor.”