Bill Sarno CTLatinoNews.com
Whether Latinos will go to the polls today in sufficient numbers to play an influential role in the state’s elections and expand their power base was not clear in the first few hours of voting.
The day started out with problems in Hartford where lack of printed voting lists delayed and frustrated some voters, including Gov. Dannel Malloy. The problems took place reportedly in “more than a few” voting sites according to a representative of the Secretary of State.
The state Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission was among those monitoring the situation in Hartford.
“Because of delays and other problems at Hartford polling locations, we are filing a complaint in Hartford Superior Court asking that voting hours be extended to accommodate voters who were unable to vote or were discouraged from voting this morning,” said Mark Bergman, Malloy’s campaign spokesman.
In Bridgeport, voter turnout in the morning was light according to a Republican official sent from Hartford to watch over the voting in precincts which could play a key role in the gubernatorial election like they did four years ago when the urban vote gave Malloy a narrow victory over Tom Foley
The importance of the Latino community in this the election is underscored in the 5th Congressional District where it was crucial two years ago in electing Democrat Elizabeth Esty. Today, Esty’s schedule is dominated by visits to polling places in Danbury, Meriden, New Britain and Waterbury, cities with large Hispanic populations.
Today’s voting will not only decide who will be governor the next four years it will be an opportunity for Hispanic candidates from both parties to retain and even expand their historic representation in the state Legislature.
Several Hispanic House candidates knew going into Tuesday’s vote that their issue was not re-election. These Democrats were either unopposed or faced token opposition. However, some of their political stature would hinge on getting the vote out for other party candidates, most notably Gov. Malloy.
The uncontested incumbents included Angel Arce (D-4) of Hartford and Juan Candelaria (D-95) of New Haven and Sen. Andres Ayala (D-23) who represents Bridgeport and part of Statford.
Here are 17 legislative contests of special interest to the Latino community:
District 23 Bridgeport and Stratford
Democratic incumbent Andres Ayala is unopposed.
District 27 East Stamford and part of Darien
Two-term incumbent Democrat Carlo Leone is challenged by Republican Eva A. Maldonado.
District 33 Lower Connecticut Valley
Incumbent Republican Art Linares of Westbrook is up against Emily Bjornberg of Lyme and Green Party candidate Colin Bennett,
3rd District Hartford
Incumbent Democrat Minnie Gonzalez seeks to retain the seat she has held since 1997, defeating Republican Sweets Wilson and petitioning candidate Victor M. Luna Jr.
4th District Hartford
Democratic incumbent Angel Arce is unopposed
6th District Hartford
Incumbent Democrat Edwin Vargas is running against Republican Michael Lupo.
8th District Columbia, Coventry, Tolland and Vernon
Democrat Anthony Ortiz of Columbia, the son of a farmer from Puerto Rico, is challenging two-term Republican incumbent Tim Ackert of Coventry.
9th District Manchester and East Hartford
Democratic Incumbent Jason Rojas takes on Richard Lion, Libertarian, to keep the seat he has held since 2009
25th District New Britain
Incumbent Democrat Robert “Bobby” Sanchez is running against Republican Edward Colon, petitioning candidate Alfred P. Mayo and Green Party candidate Paul Gobell.
72nd District Waterbury
Four-time Democratic incumbent Larry Butler vs. Republican Ruben Rodriquez. Luis Fontuña, the former governor of Puerto Rico, campaigned for Rodriquez three days before the election in the largely Hispanic district.
75th District Waterbury
Democrat Victor Cuevas is seeking a second term in a district that is 45 percent Hispanic, against independent John F. Alseph who he soundly defeated two years ago.
83rd District Meriden and Berlin
Incumbent Democrat Catherine Abercrombie faces Pablo Soto, a Republican who also ran against her two years ago. Soto is a member of the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission and the Republican State Central Committee
84th District Meriden
Democratic incumbent Hilda Santiago is challenged by Green Party candidate Matthew Went. The District is 41 percent Hispanic.
95th District New Haven
Juan Candelaria (D-95) is unopposed for the seat he has held since 2003.
100th District Middletown
Democratic incumbent Matt Lesser, who is of Argentine descent, faces Republican Angel Fernandez
128th District Bridgeport
Democrat Christopher Rosario takes on Republican Ethan Book and Angel Reyes of the Peace and Progress Party. Rosario knocked off incumbent Christina Ayala in the Democratic primary.
130th District Bridgeport
Three-term incumbent Democrat Ezequiel Santiago faces Republican David Goodman and Joel Gonzalez of the Peace and Progress Party.