A busy season for Democratic primaries

The main bouts are Linda McMahon vs. Chris Shays and Chris Murphy vs. Susan Bysiewicz, but those Senate primaries are only two of 24 intra-party fights to be settled Aug. 14, with contested nominations in congressional, General Assembly, registrar and probate races.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill released a primary roster Tuesday showing that Democrats have 19 primaries and Republicans have five, with 16 races for nominations in the state House and Senate, three in Congress, two for registrar of voters and one for probate judge.

Overshadowed by the crowded and expensive Democratic and Republican primaries for the open 5th Congressional District seat is a lower-key contest for the GOP nomination in the 2nd District between the endorsed candidate, Paul M. Formica, and Daria Novak.

The winner faces U.S. Rep. Joseph Courtney, the three-term Democratic incumbent.

In the 5th, where the candidates collectively have raised $8 million, the Democratic field is House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan of Meriden, former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire and Dan Roberti of Kent. The Republicans are state Sen. Andrew Roraback of Goshen, Lisa Wilson-Foley of Simsbury, Justin Bernier of Plainvlle and Mark Greenberg of Torrington.

Democratic primaries

Democratic primaries are tantamount to election in urban districts, but there are relatively few urban primaries this year: three in Hartford districts, two in Bridgeport, one in Waterbury and none in New Haven.

There are three Democratic state Senate primaries, including two for seats left open by the retirements of Sens. Edith Prague, D-Columbia, and Eileen Daily, D-Westbrook. The third is in Bridgeport, where convicted felon Ernest Newton II is trying to recapture the seat held by Sen. Edwin Gomes.

State Rep. Tom Reynolds of Ledyard and First Selectman Catherine A. Osten of Sprague are competing to succeed Prague, while state Rep. James Crawford, D-Westbrook, and Mary Ellen Klinck are vying to succeed Daily.

In Bridgeport, Gomes faces a three-way race with state Rep. Andres Ayala Jr. and Newton, who resigned from the Senate in 2005 as he pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges. Newton, who was released from prison in 2010, is the party-endorsed candidate.

Hartford has three state House primaries.

Rep. Minnie Gonzalez is facing a challenge from Victor M. Luna Jr. in the 4th Assembly District, which she has represented for 16 years. Rep. Hector Robles, who was fired by the Hartford Police Department and accused of fabricating time cards, is waging a primary in the 6th after losing the endorsement to Edwin Vargas, a retired teacher and union activist.

In the 5th District of Hartford and Windsor, the Democratic primary pits endorsed candidate Leo Canty of Windsor against Brandon McGee of Hartford and Donald Trinks of Windsor. They are competing in the redrawn district now represented by the retiring Rep. Marie Kirkley-Bey, D-Hartford. Canty is a prominent AFL-CIO official.

The retirement of Rep. Jack Thompson, D-Manchester, in the 13th District spawned a contest between the endorsed candidate, Joe Diminico, and Tom Gullotta.

In the 35th, endorsed candidate Tom Vicino and Tony A. Palermo are vying to succeed Crawford, who is running for Daily’s Senate seat.

In the 58th District of Enfield, Rep. Kathy Tallarita is being challenged by David Alexander.

In the 63rd District, Selectman Michael J. Renzullo of Winsted, the endorsed candidate, and Doug Bendetto of Torrington are competing to succeed Rep. John Rigby, R-Winsted, who is not running for re-election.

In the 75th District of Waterbury, Rep. David Aldarondo lost the endorsement to Victor Cuevas, but he forced a primary.

In the 91st District of Hamden, endorsed candidate John P. Flanagan and Michael C. D’Agostino are competing to succeed Rep. Peter Villano, who is retiring.

In the 116th District of West Haven, Rep. Louis P. Esposito Jr. faces a challenge from David C. Forsyth.

In the 128th District of Bridgeport, Christina M. Ayala is trying to succeed her cousin, Andres Ayala, who is running for Senate. She is opposed by Angel Reyes.

In the 132nd District of Fairfield, endorsed candidate Sue Brand is opposed by Kevin Coyner. The seat is held by a Republican, Rep. Brenda Kupchik.

There are two other Democratic primaries: in the Hamden-Bethany Probate Distirct, endorsed candidate Craig B. Henrici is opposed by Edward C. Burt Jr.; in Hartford, Olga Vasquez, the registrar of voters, is opposed by the party-endorsed candidate, Ramon Arroyo.

Republican primaries

Besides the two congressional primaries and the Senate fight between McMahon and Shays, there are two other GOP contests. Rep. David A. Scribner, R-Brookfield, lost the party endorsement in the 107th Assembly District to Harold A. Shaker, but he is waging a primary to keep the seat he won in 1998.

In Hartford, Registrar of Voters Salvatore A. Bramante faces a challenge from Nyesha C. McCauley.