It’s a whole new race as a potential Democratic candidate for the 102nd State Representative seat decides not to pursue a primary challenge.
Adrian F. Bonenberger (pictured above,) a Branford native and former infantry officer, will announce on Facebook this morning that he is ending his campaign. His decision comes on the eve of the deadline for filing required signatures for a primary race.
That means Robin Comey, who was endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee (DTC) May 29, will not have to face a primary challenge in August. Comey is hoping to succeed Democratic State Rep. Lonnie Reed, who decided not to seek re-election after serving the 102nd District for 10 years.
A third potential candidate, John Prins, a longtime member of the Board of Education, entered the State Rep race late in the game. He announced he would seek a primary but changed his mind last week.
Comey, who is a member of the Representative Town Meeting, earned 35 votes at the DTC convention, Prins took 13, and Bonenberger took 8 votes.
Unendorsed candidates can petition to have their names on a primary ballot by collecting enough signatures before tomorrow’s deadline of June 12. Prospective candidates would have to collect about 270 signatures from registered Democrats in the five districts comprising the 102nd District. Branford has seven voting districts, the other two districts are served by State Rep. Sean Scanlon (D-98th Branford and Guilford), who is running unopposed.
“I Gave it a Good Try”
Bonenberger spoke with the Eagle about why he decided not to pursue a primary. “I gave it a good try,” he said in regard to the signature-collection pursuit. “I met a lot of great people.” But he said there simply wasn’t enough time to hit the target number of signatures before Tuesday.
Although he was reluctant to withdraw his name from consideration, he said he is heartened by the quality of Comey’s campaign. “I will do anything I can to help her out,” he said.
Bonenberger, who describes himself as a progressive Democrat, said he was inspired and surprised by how many people were willing to listen to progressive ideas. “It was an honor to run and a great experience,” he said. Bonenberger was nominated by Chis Sullivan, minority leader of the RTM, and a former DTC chair.
Bonenberger, who works in the communications office at Yale Medical School, was seeking his first political office.
Comey, who lives in the Short Beach neighborhood, announced last week she met the fundraising goal to be eligible for a Citizens’ Election Program grant of $25,000 from the State Elections Enforcement Commission. (SEEC)
“I am excited to have received donations from a wide variety of Branford residents, many of who told me it was their first time donating to a local campaign. I am particularly proud that there were many others who reached across party lines to show their support,” she said in a prepared statement.
In her acceptance speech, Comey said she plans to focus on building Connecticut’s economy; developing a comprehensive transportation system; boosting the middle class; providing “cradle to career education;” making Connecticut a “climate leader of tomorrow;” fighting for women’s rights and disability rights, and providing economic opportunity for all people.
She has been endorsed by Reed and Scanlon.
The Republican candidate or State Rep. for the 102nd District in November’s general election is Robert Imperato, who received his party’s unan-imous endorsement last month.
State Senate Primary?
Democrats may still face a primary Aug. 14 for the 12th District Senatorial seat, which is being vacated by State Sen. Ted Kennedy. The district includes Branford, Guilford, Madison, North Branford, Durham and Killingworth.
Kennedy announced in February that he would not run for re-election.
Reed, Kennedy and Scanlon have all endorsed senatorial candidate Christine Cohen, who gained the 12th District Democratic endorsement May 21. Cohen, who resides in Guilford with her husband and three children, is a member of the town’s Board of Education.
When Cohen announced her candidacy, she said there needs to be a holistic approach to Connecticut. About a month after announcing her candidacy, she succeeded in raising enough funds to qualify for a Citizens’ Election Program grant.
Two other Guilford Democrats are going door-to-door to collect signatures to force a primary — Wesley Jackson and Andy Gottlieb. It remains to be seen if they can collect the required number of signatures before Tuesday. Both describe themselves as progressive Democrats.
Prospective primary candidates in the 12th Senate District would need about 1,114 votes from registered Democrats in any of the six towns in the district.
On the Republican side, Adam Greenberg of Branford won the Republican endorsement for the senate seat May 14. His opponent, Jerry Mastrangelo of Branford, briefly considered a primary challenge, but quickly changed his mind.