Democratic voters overwhelmingly picked first-time candidate Luke Bronin to win the Democratic Mayoral Primary over incumbent mayor: Pedro Ernesto Segarra.
After a long day on Wednesday, Segarra opted to get rest to think about why—for perhaps the first time in history—an incumbent mayor lost the Democratic endorsement and the primary. Hartford is overwhelmingly Democratic.
Of the more than 46,000 registered voters, 35,745 are Democratic voters. About 9,500 — or 26 percent–voters turned out on Wednesday.
They wanted change.
That’s because Segarra is seemingly a “good person” led astray. His staff and his political team were not the best, some political insiders said. And Segarra and his staff brought on a lot of “additional problems” to the city, according to Hartford City Councilman Raul DeJesus.
Indeed. Segarra has been hampered by what is perceived to be an incompetent staff, several of whom he has had to demote or fire in the last two years.
Segarra replaced the former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez in 2010 after Perez was convicted of corruption. Before he was sworn in as the 66th mayor, Segarra pledged to change how city government runs.
About two years into his tenure, turmoil ensued. First, Segarra and a few staffers were caught dining on caviar at Max Downtown on the city’s credit card. Not long after, Segarra accepted the resignation of his first chief of staff: Jared Kupiec. Kupiec was arrested by the Hartford Police Department and accused of driving a city vehicle more than 1,000 miles after work hours.
Most recently, Segarra accepted the resignation of his Corporation Counsel Saudra Kee Borgues and demoted the lead counsel Catherine Freeman. The corporation counsel and her staff failed to realize that inaction toward legal matters—that can be avoided– only serve to deplete the city’s coffers.
David Medina, the Hartford Board of Education communications director, retired from his duties. Before retiring, Medina had failed to realize that all of Hartford residents need to be informed.
The city needs a strong mayor, who is competent enough to surround himself with a strong team. Perhaps Bronin, 36, got lucky despite his thin political resume because of Segarra’s “unfortunate string of misfortunes” since 2010.
After the mayor rests up, he will have to consider whether he as an unaffiliated candidate can win the general election in 2016 by garnering those voters he and his staff mostly ignored : small business owners, marginalized Hartford residents and Independent voters—the kind of voters Bronin worked to secure for a victory over what was a formidable incumbent.