Moore defeats Brown for Democratic nod in 22nd District

Candidate for Bridgeport mayor Marilyn Moore chats with a supporter outside the polls at the Bassick High School in Bridgeport on Nov. 5 2019.

Candidate for Bridgeport mayor Marilyn Moore chats with a supporter outside the polls at the Bassick High School in Bridgeport on Nov. 5 2019.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

The race may be over, but the work has just began, according to Bridgeport City Councilman Marcus Brown.

Brown, 29, conceded defeat in his primary against three term incumbent Marilyn Moore, 73, for the Democratic nomination in the State Senate’s 22nd District.

Brown had won the party’s nomination in May, but Moore garnered enough delegates to force a primary, where her popularity among city voters carried her to the win.

“Now that almost all of the ballots have been received and counted, our campaign has now come to an end,” Brown said in a written statement Thursday, nearly two days after polls closed and as election officials were still counting late arriving mail-in ballots.

“This was an incredibly close race, with our campaign winning over 3,500 votes despite facing a number of challenges in this unusual election year against a well-established incumbent who had just come off of a mayoral race last fall. While this campaign is now over, our work continues on,” Brown stated.

Moore was not immediately available for comment.

The district includes all of Trumbull, most of western Bridgeport and a small part of Monroe. Unofficial results on Election Night showed Moore with a lead of about 200 votes. That number grew to nearly 500 after officials tallied the mail-in ballots that in some districts accounted for nearly 2/3 of the vote.

Both candidates took a wait-and-see approach to declaring a winner, citing Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive order that mail-in ballots postmarked by Aug. 11 must be accepted and counted if they are delivered by Aug. 13.

But by Thursday afternoon, with Trumbull having received only 46 more Democratic ballots on Wednesday and none on Thursday, the outcome was clear even if ballots were still being counted in the city.

Still, Brown said he has no intention to fade from the scene.

“Now more than ever we need our leaders to fight for investment in our schools, job opportunities, affordable housing and a comprehensive plan to help our working families and small businesses recover from this pandemic,” he said. “I’m proud of what my team accomplished on this campaign, and, as a lifelong resident of this community, I’m ready to continue our work to make it a fairer, more just place for all.”

Moore’s win over Brown was the third time she has defeated a party-backed primary opponent. She unseated incumbent Anthony Musto of Trumbull in a 2014 primary, then beat back a challenge from Tom McCarthy of Bridgeport in 2016.

Seemingly reveling in her underdog role, a rare situation for a three-term incumbent, she chalked up her unpopularity with the city’s Democratic leadership to her independent streak.

“I’m not under the control of anyone but God,” Moore said.