Hispanic Caucus Endorses Chris Ayala For Second Term



Robert Cyr

The state’s Hispanic Democratic Caucus has endorsed the full slate of incumbents – including one controversial state representative who is facing three other Dems in the upcoming primary, according to caucus Chair Joe Rodriguez.
State Rep. Christine Ayala, who was elected to Bridgeport’s 128th district, is seeking a second term after a rocky first term battling accusations of election fraud and more than one run-in with the law. While she didn’t get unanimous support from the caucus, more than half of its 30 members elected to back her again, he said. “I think the fact that she is the incumbent and she has developed relationships already with those at the capital and has a working relationship with other Hispanic legislators was a deciding factor,” Rodriquez said. “She’s proven to be a team-player at the capitol, forging relationships with lawmakers and bringing money back to her district.”
The caucus consists of Latino religious, political and community leaders from around the state. Many members had concerns about Ayala’s legal troubles and expressed those worries during the interview process that all candidates underwent. In addition to being the focus of an investigation for election fraud by allegedly claiming an address outside of her district, Ayala was involved with a domestic dispute and a hit-and-run accident. She was later stripped of her subcommittee assignments but later reinstated, Rodriguez said. “Concerns were brought up, but ultimately people mentioned that the only thing that occurred was that her license was suspended for several months,” he said. “People felt that she did what was asked of her, and people make mistakes. We’re hoping this is behind her, and she can continue to build on the relationships she already has.”
Ayala faces political newcomer Dennis Bradley, a member of the city’s fire commission, Teresa Davidson and Chris Rosario at the Aug. 12 primary. Rosario, the city’s anti-blight chief since 2012, has already secured the endorsement of the Mayor Bill Finch’s administration. The district includes the East Side and Hollow neighborhoods.
While Rosario wasn’t available for comment, he recently told CTLatinoNews.com that he feels “empathy” for Ayala, but that her district was “in the dark while all this was going on,” he said. “I don’t feel the people in the district should pay for any of these transgressions.” Ayala did not return calls for comment.
The unique upcoming four-way primary could prove a boon to Republicans, who may be able to take advantage of the shifting support from Democrats – between Rosario locally and Ayala at the state level, said State Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. “While Democrats in Bridgeport are battling criminal investigations and each other, Republicans are working together to promote economic growth and opportunity for all of Connecticut’s hardworking families,” he said. “Bridgeport is a great city but it has been dominated by one-party rule for far too long, and the results speak for themselves.”
The Republican challenger is Ethan Book, a father of three and business owner with several years of financial management experience in the US and Latin America. Book ran unsuccessfully for US Senate in 2012.