Candidate could be Bridgeport’s ‘shortest’ city councilor

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BRIDGEPORT – That wasn’t how Raymond Collette hoped his burgeoning political career would be remembered, but as of this week he became the ‘blink and you will miss’ member of City Council.

With less than a month on the job, his tenure was cut short by his main defeat on Tuesday and now ends in December. Collette joked Friday that he could be the shortest city councilor in town.

“Right now I’m happy to do what I can for the community and take it from there,” he said.

Bridgeport native Collette, 44, served on September 7 in the 20-person legislature, currently fully Democratic, to complete the final months of Michael DeFilippo’s tenure. DeFilippo, who represented the 133rd North End District since 2018, resigned in July after his arrest for federal voter fraud.

So, at its convention at the end of July, the Democratic Town Committee approved Collette, a member, to run for DeFilippo’s seat in the November general election. And, in the meantime, the board appointed him last week to serve the remaining two and a half months of DeFilippo’s term, which ends on December 1, in hopes that he would be elected by North End voters. for two years.

But Collette and her running mate in November, incumbent Jeanette Herron, ended up having a challenger in Tuesday’s Democratic council primaries. And that candidate, Aikeem Boyd, beat both with 146 votes.

Since each district on the council has two representatives, the finalist, Herron with 118 votes, will go to the November ballot with Boyd. Collette lost the night with 86 votes.

So before he’s even been assigned to sub-committees of council or set up his legislative voicemail, Collette’s days representing the North End are almost over as quickly as they began. The current board roster has just four more meetings scheduled – this Monday, October 4, October 18, and November 1.

“I think he did a really good job with the associations he created to really get people out,” Collette said of Boyd, referring to the reform group’s endorsement of his opponent. Bridgeport Generation Now Votes and the third-party Working Families. “Obviously I haven’t done enough.

“I was not shocked,” Collette said. “In the end, I was happy to have had the opportunity. … We will support him (Boyd) when he takes office. I am optimistic that he will be very successful.

Other board members in recent history – Steve Stafstrom in 2013 and Melanie Jackson in 2015 – have been appointed to fill vacancies, only to then lose their primaries and serve terms shortened by about eight to nine months. Stafstrom was then elected to the Connecticut General Assembly.

One option for Collette, rather than continuing in her limited role on council, would be to step down so the city committee can nominate Boyd and give him a few months in advance. Since Democrats dominate Bridgeport politics, the main winners usually easily win their November contests.

“It is possible,” said Tom McCarthy, former board member and chairman and senior member of the North End City Committee. “He (Boyd) seems like a nice guy, but he never reached out to us or spoke to us before he ran. We should make a sort of presentation to the municipal committee and see how it goes. But at this point, that does not happen.

“I am open to whatever is best for the city,” said Collette.

He spends much of his spare time leading the local Pyramid branch of the Masonic Shriners and, in this capacity, has raised funds for the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, Mass.

“Either at the end of the term or if I leave (the board) sooner, that’s what I’ll focus on for the rest of the year,” said Collette.

As to whether the experience embittered him in politics, Collette replied ‘no’ but added: ‘I really don’t have much political ambition.


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