Marilyn Moore
Marilyn Moore ousts Musto

Longtime state Sen. Eric Coleman of Bloomfield fended off a high-profile challenge, while two Bridgeport politicos facing legal troubles lost their bids to return to Hartford.

Another Bridgeport candidate, Marilyn Moore, knocked off Sen. Anthony Musto of Trumbull. And Rep. Linda Orange, the Colchester Democrat who co-chaired the legislature’s Sportsmen’s Caucus, defeated a challenger who took issue with her vote against new gun restrictions passed in the wake of the Newtown shootings.

In all, there were 18 primaries for General Assembly seats Tuesday, half involving incumbents.

Two incumbents lost: Musto and Christina Ayala, a first-term House member from Bridgeport, who faced three challengers.

Musto, an attorney from Trumbull first elected in 2008, lost to Moore, who received backing from state and national liberal groups that support legislative action requiring large national retailers like Walmart to increase worker wages or chip in for the cost of subsidies their low-wage employees receive. Moore, who supports such measures, will face Republican Enrico Costantini of Trumbull in November.

Rep. Christina Ayala, unseated.
Rep. Christina Ayala, unseated.

Ayala faced legal issues while in office. Last fall, the State Elections Enforcement Commission found that she used a false address to vote in nine elections, including her 2012 House race. The case was referred to the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney for Review.

The Democratic Party backed one of Ayala’s challengers, Christopher Rosario, who won the primary. He faces Republican Ethan Book in the general election.

In another widely watched race, former legislator Ernest Newton II lost his attempt to return to the Capitol. Newton, who served prison time for a corruption conviction, lost to Andre Baker, who faces no opposition in the general election.

Sen. Eric Coleman
Sen. Eric Coleman, overcomes challenge.

Coleman, a member of the General Assembly since 1983, defeated Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden, who received the Democratic Party’s endorsement, and former Windsor Councilman Len Walker also ran.

A major issue in the race was the proposal to build a taxpayer-funded stadium for the Rock Cats minor league baseball team in downtown Hartford. Coleman was critical of the proposal, which Wooden supported, although the council president later said it would need private funding.

Republican Rep. Ben McGorty of Stratford won his primary against Michael Vickerelli. McGorty won the seat in a special election following the death of Rep. Larry Miller earlier this year. Now that he’s won the primary, McGorty is done with elections for a while, since he has no challenger in November.

Andres Ayala
Sen. Andres Ayala

Sen. Andres Ayala Jr. also effectively won another two-year term by winning his primary against Scott Hughes, since he faces no general election opponent. Democrats Orange, Rep. Bruce Morris of Norwalk and Rep. Douglas McCrory of Hartford also won primaries Tuesday and face no challengers in November.

Betsy Ritter, the Waterford state representative hoping to move up to the Senate, won the Democratic primary over William Satti. She faces East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica, the Republican candidate, in November. The seat is currently held by Andrea Stillman, who is not seeking re-election.

Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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