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Hartford's Pedro Segarra Wins Emotions, But Luke Bronin Wins Endorsement

While Pedro Segarra may have won an emotional victory, he faces a tough battle back to the office of the mayor.

Hartford's Democrats endorsed Luke Bronin to be their mayoral candidate Monday night, but only after Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra declined the nomination, stormed out of the convention, and told his supporters they'd take their fight to the street. 

Segarra's folks did a bit of a bait and switch. They nominated him just so he could decline. And that's what he did.

"There comes a time when someone has to do what is in their conscience as the correct thing," Segarra said. "I decline the nomination for mayor of the city of Hartford. This fight, this fight, this fight will go to the streets of Hartford. This fight will be decided by the people of Hartford."

With that, Segarra rushed out. As he did, the seats on his side of the auditorium at Bulkeley High School emptied, and supporters screamed "Pa' la calle!" -- to the streets.

Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR
Segarra supporters cheer him as he leaves the convention.

Segarra, who once played happily by the town committee's process when it backed him, now suddenly found it flawed.

Here's how state Rep. Minnie Gonzalez put it:

"When it's a clean process, we don't have a problem. We stay in the process. And we go with the process when it's a clean process. This is not a clean process," Gonzalez said as Segarra left. "This is a fight. For us. And we're going to fight it on the street. That's what we're going to do."

So there was a lot of theater, but theater doesn't change reality -- and the numbers don't lie.

The town committee has 78 members. In the end, Bronin had the support of 49. 

"What we hear from the residents of Hartford every single day is what we heard resoundingly from this vote tonight -- it's that Hartford needs a change," Bronin said.  

Bronin added that he thinks Segarra actually left because he knew he was going to lose. He also said it was strange that Segarra discounted the process just days after saying he'd win it.

Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR
Luke Bronin, the Democratically endorsed mayoral candidate in Hartford, after his win.

As for Segarra's line that he was taking the fight to the street, Bronin welcomed him -- he said it's where he's been for the past seven months. When Segarra gets there, he'll find another number that doesn't lie -- $600,000. That's what Bronin has raised for his campaign. It's double what Segarra has brought in, and far more than the mayor has on hand.

So, while Segarra may have won an emotional victory, he faces a tough battle back to the office of the mayor.

The primary is September 16.

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