WFP backs union officer over endorsed Democrat in Hartford

ctmirror.org

Joshua M. Hall at the Working Families offices.

The labor-backed Working Families Party has rejected the choice of the Democratic Party for a vacant legislative seat in Hartford and is running its own candidate: Joshua M. Hall, an officer of the Hartford Federation of Teachers.

Hall will be competing in a special election with the Democratic nominee, Rickey Pinckney, a Democratic town committee member, and Kenneth Green, a former Democratic state representative trying to make a comeback as a petitioning candidate.

A victory by Hall would mark only the second time that the Working Families, which typically tries to influence elections by cross-endorsing Democrats, has elected a member of the General Assembly solely on the Working Families ballot line.

The first was Sen. Edwin A. Gomes, D-Bridgeport. He won a special election as the nominee of the Working Families Party in 2015 after being denied the Democratic endorsement. He was re-elected last year as a Democrat cross-endorsed by the WFP.

Special elections are scheduled for April 25 in the 7th House District of Hartford and the 68th House District of Watertown and Woodbury. Reps. Douglas McCrory, D-Hartford, and Eric Berthel, R-Watertown, resigned those seats after winning special elections to the Senate.

“You’ve got a 30-day sprint,” said Marc DiBella, the Democratic town chairman in Hartford.

The Working Families registered its discontent with budget cuts adopted last year by the Democratic majority by backing Joshua Elliott in his challenge of House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, for the Democratic nomination. Sharkey ultimately did not seek the nomination, and Elliott was elected.

Lindsay Farrell, the executive director of the WFP, said Hall’s candidacy in Hartford reinforces the party’s message that it will break with the Democrats to back candidates it deems more progressive.

Hall was a teacher at Weaver High School in Hartford for 12 years before becoming a full-time union officer in 2008. Like Green, he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic endorsement for the special election.

Hall is a former treasurer of the state party. Pinckney, who retired from the U.S. Army after a 20-year career in 2002, is a former member of the Democratic State Central Committee.

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