Bridgeport Mayor Wins Democratic Primary

The mayor of Connecticut's biggest city on Tuesday night declared victory over a challenger from his own party in a Democratic primary election.

Mayor Bill Finch won the party's nomination to run for his second term by a margin of 3-1, upsetting challenger Mary-Jane Foster, a co-founder of the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball team and a vice president of the University of Bridgeport, spokeswoman Elaine Ficarra said.

The Connecticut Sun reports that Foster conceded a short time after Finch declared victory.

Official results were not immediately available. Finch faces Republican Rick Torres and Jeff Kohut, an independent, in an election scheduled for Nov. 6.

 The vote was delayed from Sept. 13 because of a court fight over the validity of petition signatures that ended with a state judge allowing Foster to run. Seats for the city clerk, city council and other posts also were the ballot.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said earlier Tuesday she was sending election experts to monitor voting in Bridgeport, where a shortage of ballots caused delays in determining the results of last year's gubernatorial race. Merrill has warned that local elections officials could be relieved of their duties for incompetence or failing to follow voting rules.

Like other Connecticut cities, Bridgeport has no shortage of challenges. The state Department of Education decided this summer to take over management of the troubled Bridgeport schools and replaced its education board after some city leaders, including the mayor, said the current board was too dysfunctional to run the system.

Finch, a former state senator, took office as the city's 52nd mayor in 2007.

The mayor cast his ballot with his wife, Sonya, and said he was hopeful.

"The day is going well, and I urge as many people as possible to get out and vote," he said in remarks reported by The Connecticut Post. "We're hoping for a better turnout than we've had so far. We want as big a turnout as possible. They've had two weeks more to hear from us."

Foster voted at another school with her daughter. The night before the election, she was greeted by dozens of supporters at the University of Bridgeport, where some wore purple "Knights for Mary-Jane Foster" shirts.

 "I know you come to UB because you want internships and jobs," she told the crowd. "I will create those for you."

The city is often under Democratic control, and there are 42,799 registered Democrats in the city, compared with only 4,472 registered Republican voters.
 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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