The Connecticut Capitol dome visible through the skylight of the Legislative Office Building.

The main bout today is Tom Foley vs. John P. McKinney in the Republican primary for governor, with a secondary focus on a three-way race for lieutenant governor. But the careers of eight incumbents in the General Assembly also are on the line in Democratic primaries.

Anthony J. Musto
Anthony J. Musto
Marilyn Moore
Marilyn Moore

Nearly half involve Bridgeport, where both of the city’s state senators and one state representative have challenges; and Ernest Newton II, a former House and Senate member, is making his second comeback attempt after a stint in prison.

In all, there are 18 legislative primaries involving 13 Democratic and five Republican nominations. The GOP fights all involve House seats. Democrats are scuffling over four Senate and nine House nominations.

Most of the legislative races are fueled by local politics and personalities. An exception is in 22nd Senatorial District of Bridgeport, Trumbull and Monroe, where Marilyn Moore’s challenge of Sen. Anthony J. Musto is backed by state and national liberal groups behind the so-called “Walmart bill.”

Working Families for America, an affiliate of the Working Families Party, made an independent expenditure of $10,689 to canvass and make mailing in support of Moore. She also is supported by the Connecticut Citizen Action Group.

Moore backs a legislative goal of the two groups: Legislation that would give large national retailers like Walmart a choice: pay their employees a still-to-be-defined living wage, or pay into a  fund meant to offset the costs of food, health, housing and other subsidies available to low-wage workers.

The district now represented by Musto includes all of Trumbull and portions of Bridgeport and Monroe.

Musto, who lives in Trumbull, is a lawyer who was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2010 and 2012. Moore is the founder of The Witness Project, a non-profit group combatting breast cancer among low-income African-American women. She lives in Bridgeport.

Sen. Andres Ayala, D-Bridgeport, who defeated former Sen. Ed Gomes in a primary two years ago, faces his own nomination challenge from Scott Hughes in the 23rd Senatorial District of Bridgeport and Stratford. The other Bridgeport incumbent facing a challenge is Rep. Christina Ayala, a Democrat.

Last fall, the State Elections Enforcement Commission concluded that the first-term legislator used a false address to vote in nine primaries and general elections, including the 2012 race in which she was elected to the General Assembly. The case has been referred to the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney for review.

The other incumbent senator facing a primary is Sen. Eric Coleman, D-Bloomfield. In a three-way primary, his main competition is Shawn Wooden, the president of the Hartford City Council, in the 2nd Senatorial District of Bloomfield, Hartford and Windsor. Wooden won the convention endorsement.

In Norwalk, two House Democrats have primaries: Chris Perone and Bruce Morris. The other incumbents with primaries are Douglas McCrory of Hartford and Linda A. Orange of Colchester. Orange is opposed by Jason Paul, a gun-control supporter whose campaign has focused on Orange’s vote against the post-Newtown gun law.

Only one Republican incumbent has a primary fight: Rep. Ben McGorty of Shelton, the winner of last month’s special election to succeed the late Rep. Larry Miller, R-Stratford, in the 122 House District of Shelton, Stratford and Trumbull.

Overlooked in the primary season has been the GOP primary for comptroller: Sharon McLaughlin, the convention-endorsed candidate, is challenged by Angel Cadena, Jr.

Cadena is the only candidate in any primary endorsed by the Family Institute of Connecticut, a conservative group opposed to abortion, gay rights and assisted suicide.

A list of today’s primaries:

* The asterisks denote the convention-endorsed candidates.
Office Party Candidate
Governor Republican *Thomas C. Foley
John P. McKinney
Lieutenant Governor Republican *Penny Bacchiochi
Heather Somers
David M. Walker
Comptroller Republican *Sharon J. McLaughlin
Angel Cadena
State Senate – 2 Democratic *Shawn Wooden
Eric D. Coleman
Len Walker
State Senate – 20 Democratic *Elizabeth B. Ritter
William L. Satti
State Senate – 22 Democratic *Anthony J. Musto
Marilyn Moore
State Senate – 23 Democratic *Andres Ayala, Jr.
Scott Hughes
Assembly District – 7 Democratic *Douglas McCrory
Donna Thompson-Daniel
Assembly District – 23 Republican *Devin R. Carney
Vicki Lanier
Assembly District – 32 Democratic *Kathleen G. Richards
Anthony “Tony” Salvatore
Assembly District – 44 Democratic *Christine Rosati
Michael Cartier
Assembly District – 47 Republican No Endorsement
Doug Dubitsky
Noah Enslow
Michael P. Meadows
Assembly District – 48 Democratic *Linda A. Orange
Jason Paul
Assembly District – 64 Republican *Brian Ohler
Mark Lauretano
Assembly District – 122 Republican *Ben McGorty
Michael C. Vickerelli
Assembly District – 124 Democratic *Ernie Newton
Andre Baker
Assembly District – 128 Democratic *Christopher Rosario
Christina Ayala
Dennis Bradley
Teresa Davidson
Assembly District – 133 Democratic *Cristin McCarthy Vahey
Matt Waggner
Assembly District – 137 Democratic *David Watts
Chris Perone
Assembly District – 140 Democratic *Bruce Morris
Warren Pena
Assembly District – 142 Republican *Emily Wilson
Fred Wilms
Probate District Plainfield – Killingly – 27 Democratic *Andrea Truppa
Anna Zubkova
Probate District Madison – Guilford – 34 Republican *William Bilcheck
Gail S. Kotowski
Registrar of Voters – Bristol Democratic *Kevin McCauley
Mary Rydingsward
Registrar of Voters – Chaplin Republican *Kevin McCauley
William L. Jenkins
Registrar of Voters – Danbury Democratic *Susan Lewis Ward
Margaret F. Gallo
Registrar of Voters – Hampton Democratic *Marilynn S. Higgins
Matthew E. LaFontaine
Registrar of Voters – North Stonington Democratic *Marilyn MacKay
Joan L. Kepler
Registrar of Voters – Norwalk Republican *John F. Federici
Karen Doyle Lyons
Registrar of Voters – Somers Republican *William Karl Walton III
David P. McCaffrey

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Mark PazniokasCapitol Bureau Chief

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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