Bill Sarno CTLatinoNews
For Latino leaders around the state, the announcement that the governor’s former top legal aide Luke Bronin is challenging incumbent Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra for the Democratic nomination is raising red flags as to where the governor’s loyalty lies. Not because of Bronin they say, but because of Governor Malloy’s current stance of not getting involved in this race, which is being viewed as a quiet nod to his friend and as a betrayal to the state’s Latinos.
The CT Hispanic Democratic Caucus is challenging the governor’s silence on the matter and it seems the gloves are off. Its chair, Joseph Rodriguez, said, “We just had a tough statewide election and were successful because we rallied behind the governor, as did the mayor. It will be unfortunate and a slap in the face to Mayor Segarra, if the Governor chooses not to partake in this primary.”
Speculation about how the governor would handle Hartford’s mayoral race has been brewing since it became known that Bronin was interested in the job. CTLatinoNews’ attempts to clarify Malloy’s position were referred by the governor’s staff to state party leaders who said that it is too early to comment on a possible primary that it is nine months away. “At this time, the governor is focused on governing Connecticut. And when the time comes, the State Party will support the Democratic candidate for mayor,” said Michael Mandell, executive director of the Connecticut Democratic Party.
Rodriguez and other Democratic Latino leaders adamantly dismiss the official statement. The notion that the governor can’t support a candidate at this time is “simply untrue”, Rodriguez said. Adding, “He gets involved when it benefits him. Recently, he supported William Tong, his good friend who had not been endorsed for the nomination, but was a Democratic candidate in the primary.” Malloy also supported then, Senator Harp before the primary. While she was the party’s nominee, there were three other democrats vying for that seat. This tells me the governor picks and chooses the municipal Democratic elections he wants to become involved in.”
As the ‘de facto’ head of the state’s Democratic party, Rodriguez said, Malloy’s silence, is fueling the rumor mill. “We’re concerned because as Democrats, we are in the Democratic universe chatter and we are hearing from those high up and in key positions in the party. We are being told the governor will not be getting involved to help Segarra.” Rodriguez would not offer any specific names as to who is making these statements. Adding only, “They preach often about how we need to support our incumbents; Segarra is an incumbent”
The issue for many Hispanic officials, such as Rep. Minnie Gonzalez (D-3) of Hartford, is broader than the Hartford mayoral race nor is it Bronin himself. She said, “Segarra was out there for him (Malloy) but it seems the governor is not supporting our mayor,” said Rep. Minnie Gonzalez (D-3). A member of the House since 1997, Gonzalez said she wants to know why, adding, “It was Latinos that got him elected four years ago and again last year.” She said, even though Latinos got more key positions under Republican Gov. John Rowland than under Malloy.
Malloy’s perceived lack of support for Segarra’s bid for second term was a hot topic at the CT Hispanic Democratic Caucus meeting this past Saturday which drew 40 Latino elected officials and other Latino Democratic leaders from around the state. Rodriguez said, “Lots of folks are not happy.”
While Bronin has stated he will not seek Malloy’s support, Latino Democratic leaders question why he would resign as the governor’s legal counsel to run for mayor without some sort of understanding with his ex-boss.
Although the primary is several months out, Rodriguez said, the governor can make this all go away by publicly saying what he said prior to the November election. ” He said many times publicly that Segarra is doing a great job in Hartford, so yes, as chair of the state wide Democratic Hispanic Caucus, I expect him to come out and support an incumbent Democrat.” said Rodriguez.
As for Segarra , it is clear how his campaign is viewing a Malloy endorsement. In response to CTLatinoNews’ inquiries on whether the mayor is seeking and expecting the governor’s support, the answer from Patrick Romano, Segarra’s campaign manager was clear, his answer to our question; “Yes on both counts.”