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Judge orders new Democratic primary in disputed Bridgeport race

After weeks of recounts and court hearings, a judge ordered Bridgeport to redo a razor-close Democratic primary on Tuesday. But it’s not clear when – or even if – a new vote will actually happen.

News 12 Staff

Oct 4, 2022, 2:01 PM

Updated 651 days ago

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After weeks of recounts and court hearings, a judge ordered Bridgeport to redo a razor-close Democratic primary on Tuesday. But it’s not clear when – or even if – a new vote will actually happen.
The primary has been in limbo since Aug. 9. After 18 years in office, state Rep. Jack Hennessy lost to Bridgeport City Council Member Marcus Brown by just two votes in a hand recount. But in his ruling, Judge Barry Stevens tossed out a handful of absentee ballots.
“Because these four voters did not sign their applications for absentee ballots … they were not entitled to receive or acquire their ballots,” he wrote.
The primary has been marred with mistakes. At one point, city election officials couldn’t find nine absentee ballots. During the second recount, officials found the missing votes mixed with ballots from other races.
Stevens’ decision left campaigns and registrars scrambling with just a month to go before the general election.
The secretary of the state is asking for a new primary to be held Oct 18. But that may be in hold. Bridgeport leaders say that might not be enough time to organize the election, and Brown’s campaign wants the Connecticut Supreme Court to review the ruling.
"Every vote counts, when they're counted,” said Brown.
If the Supreme Court upholds Stevens’ ruling, Brown believes he can win – even if turnout is lower.
“I think we can make a compelling argument to them that we need to now double-down on that effort,” said Brown.
Meantime, Hennessy campaign manager Maria Pereira thinks more time will mean more votes for them.
"Jack Hennessy was the winner on Aug. 9,” she said. "We're just going to use those as we go door to door and talk to voters about the lack of integrity demonstrated by Marcus Brown and his campaign operatives."
During a later afternoon hearing, Stevens said he may issue further guidance on Wednesday. If the case moves to the state Supreme Court, it’s not clear how soon they would hear the case or issue a ruling – leaving November’s ballots in doubt.


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