Nancy DiNardo of Trumbull, chairman of the state’s Democratic Party, is urging embattled freshman state Rep. Christina Ayala, D-Bridgeport, to leave office, going where many party leaders in the city will not.
On Wednesday state elections officials recommended Ayala and her mother, Santa Ayala, the city’s Democratic registrar, face criminal prosecution. The allegations stem from Ayala’s successful 2012 bid for the legislature and her participation in the state’s public campaign financing program.
“Given all the allegations surrounding Rep. Ayala, and given the amount of time and energy she’s going to have to expend in defending herself, the wise course of action here would be for her to step down,” DiNardo said in a statement Thursday.
Also Thursday John Slater, chairman of Bridgeport’s Republican Party, issued a lengthy statement of his own arguing it is time for Ayala to go. He not only cited Ayala’s current problems but referred to the host of scandals she’s been involved in since winning the Democratic primary in August, 2012 – a hit-and-run accident, domestic issues involving a boyfriend, and the questions about her residency first raised last year by Hearst Connecticut Newspapers:
“It remains to be seen whether the State Elections Enforcement Commission’s referrals will result in criminal prosecutions and convictions,” Slater said. “Like all Americans Rep. Ayala is innocent until proven guilty. But, this issue goes beyond criminality. Throughout her brief career as a candidate and a state legislator, Rep. Ayala has continually conducted herself in a manner that is simply unacceptable for a member of the House of Representatives. That behavior has reflected badly on Rep. Ayala and, unfortunately, on the city that she represents. Indeed, since her election stories about her bad behavior seem to have exceeded stories about her legislative accomplishments.”
Slater also said that the fact that the Speaker of the House Wednesday quickly stripped Ayala of her committee assignment speaks volumes about how her behavior is viewed by her colleagues in the General Assembly.
“At a time when the city of Bridgeport faces many challenges it can’t afford a state legislator who behaves like Rep. Ayala,” Slater continued. “Her actions have unfortunately led to yet another scandal, further darkening Bridgeport’s black eye. She should resign and allow the voters to select someone better able to fill this important position. I believe the voters in Bridgeport will begin to take a proactive approach in reforming the city’s politics this November. The alternatives to Miss Ayala’s contemporaries are out there. I am proud of our Republican candidates both for their political promise and their integrity.”
Asked Wednesday during a brief interview whether she would consider leaving office, Ayala responded: “All I will say is I love my job.”
Mayor Bill Finch yesterday stopped short of showing Ayala the exit:
“These allegations seem to reflect a very disturbing pattern of behavior, but at this juncture they are just that- allegations – which must be investigated to the fullest extent by the appropriate authorities,” Finch said. “The investigation will have to run its course, and I will reserve further comment until the findings are in.”