Ayala Qualifies for Public Financing, Newton Says He’s Ready, Gomes Struggles

State Rep. Andres Ayala now has more than $91,000 for his primary race against fellow Democrats incumbent Ed Gomes and party-endorsed candidate Ernie Newton for the 23rd state Senate district that includes nearly three-quarters of Bridgeport. The blog OnlyInBridgeport.com reports that Ayala qualified for public financing. Newton says he is ready to submit the paperwork to qualify while The Hanging Shad has learned that Gomes is struggling to meet the threshold.

Sen. Gomes said he doesn’t have much to say about the effort to raise $15,000 in donations of $100 or less from 300 residents of the district. He did say it’s a difficult task, particularly in an urban district like his. He said he continues to work to qualify and hopes to get Senate Democratic caucus leadership involved. “They [Senate President Don Williams and Majority Leader Marty Looney] know my performance. I’ve been a loyal colleague and I’ve been there for my city…If nothing else, I brought honesty and integrity back to the job.” The last comment was a reference to Newton who is seeking to regain his old senate seat after serving five years in prison for corruption.

Newton secured the Bridgeport Democratic Party’s nomination over Gomes and Ayala. Gomes didn’t want to comment specifically about Newton but he spoke hypothetically about what he thinks about the situation. “I’ve been a leading advocate for ex-offenders. Everybody deserves a chance to get their life together and get a second chance,” Gomes said. “But, if someone works at a bank, steals money, gets caught and goes to jail, that person is entitled to another chance when he gets out. But you don’t send him back to a job in that bank,” he said.

Newton has said on the record that his campaign his preparing to submit his paperwork for public financing. At his sentencing, he famously called himself, “the Moses of my people.”

The Shad has heard nothing but good things about Ayala—he’s said to be bright, hard-working and a pleasure to work with. I don’t know him but I was the communications director for the Senate Democrats when Newton was arrested by the feds and when Gomes succeeded him in a special election. The primary is August 14th.

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