Christine Cohen Avoids Primary Challengers for State Senate Seat

File PhotoDemocrat Christine Cohen’s campaign for the 12th District state Senate seat is in full swing for the November election, with the news last week that there won’t be a primary challenge in August.

Cohen received the Democratic endorsement to fill the vacancy left by state Sen. Ted Kennedy, but two candidates were collecting signatures to force a primary run-off.  However, Westley Jackson and Andy Gottlieb, both Guilford residents, learned last week that neither had collected enough verified signatures to have their names on a primary ballot.

Each candidate would have needed a total 1,014 signatures from registered Democrats in the six towns that make up the 12th District— Branford, Guilford, Madison, North Branford, Killingworth, and Durham. The signatures were first verified by the local Election Registrars in each town and then sent on to the Secretary of State’s office for the final verification and tally.

With a possible primary out of the picture, Cohen is setting her sights on November’s general election. She has already been busy going door-to-door and meeting with small groups of residents.

“I think overall that the platform of the campaign really deals with the budget crisis because that is what I’m hearing about when I go door-to-door,” Cohen told the Eagle in an interview.

Cohen said solving the budget woes is really part of a comprehensive plan. “I would like to see a focus on small business, including transit-oriented development. We must build a revenue stream to repair our aging transportation infrastructure and work towards expansion to enable working families to get to the jobs that we create,” she said.

“These things need to happen as part of a larger, big picture plan that includes the protection of our valued assets in the 12th District, such as education and the environment. Stimulating growth, while preserving all that is wonderful about Connecticut, will attract families and ensure that our aging population can stay here to enjoy their retirement years.”

Cohen, the owner of Cohen’s Bagel Company in Madison, lives in Guilford with her husband and three children, and serves on the Guilford Board of Education.

Primary Contenders

Gottlieb, 24, who has worked as an intern for U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, announced he will now endorse Cohen in her run for the state senate.

“I know she’ll serve the people of the 12th District with honor, integrity and compassion,” Gottlieb said in a prepared statement.

“While my own campaign is ending, I’m confident that the ideas and concerns that motivated me to run will find a home in Christine’s campaign,” Gottlieb said. “She and I share a strong commitment to moving Connecticut forward, and I’m excited to see her succeed in that noble mission. I urge all my supporters to rally behind Christine now and in November. This election will be critical for future progress, and her victory will be our victory.”

Cohen said in a prepared statement that “Andy is an important member of the Guilford Democratic Party, and I am honored to have his support.  I look forward to working with him on the important issues facing our state, including fiscal stability, economic development, and access to affordable healthcare, the environment and public education.”

Jackson, who works at a bio-pharmaceutical company, announced on Facebook that although he did not have enough signatures to qualify, he would continue working for a better state and country.

“So how do I tell people I’m giving up on an opportunity to make change when we now have even more work to do to shape the state, the country and the world that our children deserve. So I’m not. What I’m going to do is find other opportunities and ways to shape our state for the better,” Jackson wrote on Facebook.

Cohen will face Republican-endorsed candidate Adam Greenberg of Branford in the November General Election.  A potential Republican challenger, Jerry Mastrangelo of Branford, initially considered collecting signatures for a primary, but he later changed his mind.

Greenberg is the founder and CEO of LuRong Living, a nationwide health and wellness company. He was a former Major League Baseball player who was seriously injured when he was hit in the head with a fastball in his first appearance playing for the Chicago Cubs. He later played minor league baseball in Bridgeport and wrote a book about his life in baseball, “Get Up: The Art of Perseverance.”

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