Unofficial results show the challenger slate winning Tuesday’s Board of Education Democratic primary by a 1,000 vote margin. The challenger slate beat out the endorsed slate almost 2-to-1 despite the endorsed slate’s initial 841 absentee ballot lead.
Turnout was very low; roughly only 10-12% of Bridgeport Democrats voted in Tuesday’s primary.
The challengers, Andre Baker, Howard Gardner and Dave Hennessey, were largely backed and funded by the teacher’s union and supported by Working Families Party members.
The Working Families Party is currently the minority party on the school board by only a slim margin of 4-5 (Bobby Simmons is technically a Democrat, but votes with WFP members). The Working Families Party supported the like-minded Democratic challenger slate to gain control of the school board.
Both the Working Families Party and Republican Party will be fielding their own candidates in November’s general election.
This primary will radically change the makeup of Bridgeport’s nine member school board. The school board is currently controlled by Democratic members endorsed by the party, who support education reform policies and Superintendent Paul Vallas. The challenger slate, however, has already vowed their opposition to retaining Superintendent Vallas. This could mean the dismantling of some of the progress Bridgeport has made in the past year and a half, particularly when it comes to school choice, which the challenger slate opposes.
The total vote tally:
Andre Baker: 3,017
Howard Gardner: 2,875
Dave Hennessey: 2,857
Kathryn Bukovsky: 1,979
Simon Castillo: 1,839
Brandon Clark: 1,749