Tuesday's primary for 22nd District pits City councilman against a three-term incumbent senator

The Democratic primary for the state’s 22nd Senate District comes down to a newcomer and a three-term incumbent, both of whom say they are taking nothing for granted.

Marcus Brown, a 29-year-old two-term city councilman, took the Democratic nod for the 22nd State Senate District away from incumbent Sen. Marilyn Moore at May’s party nominating convention. The district includes all of Trumbull and parts of Bridgeport and Monroe.

Brown, a junior at the University of Massachusetts, is an employee relations specialist at The Workplace Inc., a regional nonprofit job center. He said he felt good about his chances heading into Tuesday’s primary. Still, he said he was taking nothing for granted.

Marcus Brown

Marcus Brown

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“I think a lot of people feel like it’s time for a change,” he said. “People are saying, ‘He’s young and energetic, let’s give him a chance.’”

Campaigning has been unusual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown said. In speaking with voters, he said the virus has consistently been at the top of their concerns. And their concerns extended beyond the illness itself to the potential economic fallout from the quarantine’s effect on the economy.

Hearst Connecticut Media made several attempts to reach Moore. During a brief phone conversation Friday afternoon, she said she was focused on working with municipal leaders to expedite power restoration to tens of thousands of residents still in the dark.

“That’s where my priority has to be now,” she said.

Marilyn Moore

Marilyn Moore

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Moore, 73, and a lifelong Bridgeport resident, is the deputy president pro tempore of the state Senate. She is the Senate chairwoman of both the Human Services and General Bonding committees and vice chairwoman of the Committee on Children.

Last summer, Moore narrowly lost a mayoral primary to Mayor Joseph Ganim.

In previous coversations with Hearst, Moore said she prided herself on her work ethic in the Senate.

“I go to Hartford every day with the intention of lifting people up without hurting anyone else,” Moore said. “I missed only one vote in six years. I stand on my reputation.”

On another hot-button issue — the recently passed police accountability law — both candidates agreed the changes were long overdue, and a good start toward the ultimate goal of ending racial disparities in law enforcement.

“After months of protests demanding accountability for police, we finally passed legislation that seeks to bring concrete reform to police departments in Connecticut,” Moore said in a written statement after the senate approved the bill. “It's long overdue and there are still many systemic issues we need to address including police accountability, but I'm proud that the voice of activists and organizers across the state and in our community were heard.”

Brown also noted the protests that had led up to the vote, and expressed disappointment with those who had voted against the bill.

“Legislators from almost every city and town showed their support and held signs” during the protests in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing by Minnesota police, Brown said. “Now is the time to prove to us that you believe Black lives matter.”

In addition to being the party’s endorsed candidate, Brown was recently named a 2020 Gun Sense Candidate by the group Moms Demand Action. The distinction means the group recognizes him as a candidate who will govern with gun violence prevention in mind.

“Growing up in a neighborhood plagued by gun violence and grieving over one senseless shooting after another in this country, this issue is close to my heart,” Brown said.

Staff writer Michael P. Mayko contributed to this story.