Colin McEnroe: Primary plots with slashed tires, stolen cars and double agents
(In)frequently Asked Questions about the upcoming municipal primaries.
When are the primaries being held? Tuesday, Sept. 10. There are Democratic primaries in 11 cities and towns and Republican ones in 14. If you are an unaffiliated voter you cannot participate.
Which primary involves tires being slashed? Many of you probably guessed Bridgeport, and you should be ashamed of yourselves for reverting to such an obvious stereotype, even though, yes, you are correct. The weird thing is that it happened to a Republican candidate. Ethan Book is one of three Republicans running for mayor. He is also a one-man limo company, and recently, when all four of his limo tires were slashed, he said it was “probably politically motivated.”
Absolutely any human activity that has ever been contemplated in the world can happen in Bridgeport, but it doesn’t really make sense to slash tires in Republican primary given that the eventually victor has no chance of becoming mayor.
Not counting Bridgeport, which race has been characterized by the most bitter vitriol? I’m going to say bucolic Somers, a tiny place where the most explosive issue in this campaign has been the construction of a Henny Penny gas station. Nonetheless, Linda Louise LaCasse is locked in a heated struggle with incumbent Republican First Selectman and proud thesaurus owner C.G. “Bud” Knorr, Jr., who has said LaCasse “should be ashamed of herself for this farcical smear” and that her “derisory and absurd attack is laughable.” This is all in response to LaCasse’s claim that Knorr has a house in Arizona and cannot be in two places at once.
LaCasse runs for some office or other in every election cycle. She has recently compared herself to Abraham Lincoln, the biblical figure Nicodemus and the Scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz.”
Would this kind of thing ever happen in England? This week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn a “chlorinated chicken” and appeared also to address him as “you great big girl’s blouse.”
Which primary has become embroiled in tales of a (possibly high speed) multi-Tesla chase? In lovely Hamden, the incumbent mayor Curt Balzano Leng faces a challenge from fellow Democrat Lauren Garrett. This is a very complicated story, but let me boil it down. On a recent Saturday night, at the end of a long day on the campaign trail, Garrett met her husband and kids for sushi. The Garretts have two Teslas, and when they came out of the restaurant one Tesla was being stolen. They pursued in the other, with husband Daniel at the wheel.
They appear to have called the police while trailing their car. They may have tried to box in the stolen car at which point the thief banged into them with their own Tesla. Their stories conflict a little bit on this point although Garrett said her husband’s version (which included the boxing-in tidbit) “was infused with testosterone and bravado.”
Garrett is upset that the Hamden police issued a statement tsk-tsking people who engage in vehicular pursuits with their kids in the back seat — a pointed way of showing her up and taking the mayor’s side. Me, I take no side, but if you’re ever in Hamden, go to Testosterone & Bravado and try their cannelloni, made on the premises. Mwah!
Which campaign is rattled by charges of espionage, using a famous philosopher as a nom de guerre? In scenic West Haven, there are three candidates seeking the Democratic mayor nomination, although led me add that there are roughly 60 different names on the Democratic primary ballots in West Haven. I don’t know what that’s all about. Our story concerns incumbent mayor Nancy Rossi and one of her challengers, Debbie Collins. The Collins campaign was alarmed to discover that “John Locke,” one of its young volunteers, had previously been photographed amid the campaign entourage of Rossi. The college student volunteer, real name Mark McDermott, said he had worked both sides on his own initiative, just trying to learn more about politics. But if he wasn’t playing favorites, why didn’t he enlist with Rossi as Soren Kierkegaard?
Which campaign most resembles a directorial project by Quentin Tarantino? That would be Bridgeport’s Fightin’ 138th. Three candidates vying for one of the district’s two seats are incumbent Karen Jackson, Maria Pereira and Tony Barr. Barr served 20 years in prison for charges arising from his days as a drug gang enforcer and, on one occasion, appears to have fired a machine gun at an undercover policeman. More recently, he was arrested for allegedly threatening to blow Mayor Joe Ganim’s head off. I’m comfortable saying it would be an enormous mistake for any political opponent to address Barr as “you great big girl’s blouse.”
Pereira, meanwhile, has been arrested at least three times in recent years. She also, last December, filed for a civil protection order against Barr and recently goaded longtime Bridgeport politician Ernie Newton into making pee-pee for a drug test. She did the same. They both came back clean. In 2016, the Bridgeport superintendent of school quit, citing the bullying and harassment by Board of Ed member Pereira as the primary cause.
I feel like I might be leaving a few things out. I’m hoping to audit “Maria Pereira: Issues in Criminal and Civil Jurisprudence,” a Yale Law School seminar taught by my friend and colleague Brian Lockhart, although currently no such course exists.
Meanwhile, Jackson, the incumbent, has been accused by Pereira of violating the residency requirement when she was evicted from her home, although if I were Jackson I would probably arrange to be evicted just so I could go somewhere safe.
That’s all. There are also very important primaries in Hartford and New Haven, but, unfortunately, they are nowhere near as entertaining.
Colin McEnroe’s column appears every Sunday, his newsletter comes out every Thursday and you can hear his radio show every weekday on WNPR 90.5. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up for his newsletter at http://bit.ly/colinmcenroe.