Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin announced Tuesday that he will seek reelection to the office he first won in 2015.
“We’ve got a lot of work left to do,” Bronin, a Democrat, said of his intention to seek reelection. “We’ve got momentum.”
Bronin’s victory in Hartford in 2015 was his first foray into public office. He previously served as legal adviser to then-Governor Dannel Malloy. He also worked for the Department of the Treasury under President Barack Obama.
He inherited a fiscal crisis, with years of structural deficits and unfunded liabilities projected long into the future. His office negotiated a bailout with the State of Connecticut, which has state taxpayers supporting the Capital City with tens of millions every year to assist with debt payments.
He described that agreement as a, “long overdue partnership,” between the city and the state.
Bronin also oversaw the completion of Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the minor league baseball stadium which saw a myriad of construction issues.
“We fought to bring this city from the brink of bankruptcy to stability,” he said. “And in the years ahead we’re going to moving this city from stability to strength.”
Hartford is a Democratic stronghold. Registered Democrats far outnumber Republicans, which means the real race for mayor happens in the Democratic primary, as opposed to the General Election.
In 2015, Bronin raised more than $900,000 in the run up to the September primary where eventually defeated incumbent Mayor Pedro Segarra. In 2019, Bronin is hoping to raise a similar sum of money ahead of the primary, but it’s not clear whether he will have a credible opponent.
NBC Connecticut has learned that Hartford Rep. Brandon McGee and State Sen. Douglas McCrory have each expressed interest in challenging Bronin, and have not ruled anything out.
Bronin’s record in Hartford is not without some bumps in the road, which could lead to those primary challenges.
He saw some contentious negotiations with organized labor groups over concessions. He also explored a run for governor last year, just two years into his stint as mayor, which never gained traction.
When asked about whether that poor calculation could come back to hurt him, Bronin said, “When I was exploring that run for governor, I didn’t see anyone that was in that race talking about the issues that mattered to the city of Hartford or communities like Hartford and I think that needed to be part of the discussion.”
He said after speaking more with Gov. Ned Lamont, he felt those issues would be addressed, and added, “I’ve tried to make every decision based on what I think is going to move this city forward and I hope people see that I work my heart out every day and I’m going to continue doing that every single day.”