With one decision Chris Caruso has triggered a bunch of decisions for city pols. Accepting a gubernatorial appointment from Dan Malloy, and staying out of the mayoral sweepstakes, has unleashed political musical chairs.
Caruso, who waged close challenges for the mayoralty in 2003 and 2007, will take a position with the state economic development department working on urban issues. He resigned his state representative seat on Tuesday. A special election will take place in March to fill the vacancy.
Why did Caruso take the state job? At age 51, and living on a base salary of roughly $32,000, accepting the $72, 500 a year job sets up Caruso’s retirement years. He had served in the state legislature since 1991. Caruso supported Malloy in the Democratic primary over Ned Lamont.
Caruso says as a result of accepting the state job, he’ll not be a candidate for mayor this year. That decision knocks out an immediate threat to Mayor Bill Finch but opens up opportunities for others to capture a constituency not enamored with his first term. Former Finch administration official John Gomes is the only formally announced candidate. He had directed the city’s government-efficiency Citi-Stat Program before a falling out with Finch over direction of the department.
Mary-Jane Foster, a vice president at the University of Bridgeport and co-founder of the Bridgeport Bluefish, is conisdering a run and no doubt will be encouraged to get in by anti-Finch forces.
Former Mayor John Fabrizi would love his old job back, but Fabs has never been a self starter when it comes to campaign life. He’ll need a group of pols to put it together for him.
Former State Rep. Ernie Newton is looking to get back in the political action after returning home last year following completion of his public corruption sentence. Will he run for mayor or seek his old state senate seat occupied by Ed Gomes in 2012?
Others may get in.
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