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Monday, September 12, 2005

Primary day tomorrow

The Hartford Courant gives the rundown on the big primaries.
An acrimonious battle for mayor in Waterbury and a historic decision to choose Stratford's first chief executive highlight Tuesday's municipal primaries.

Voters in 25 cities and towns across Connecticut are scheduled to head to the polls to select candidates in 16 Republican and nine Democratic municipal primaries.

There are mayoral matchups in Waterbury, Stratford, Hamden and Rocky Hill. Elsewhere, voters will choose candidates for first selectman, school board, town council and other seats. Winners of the primaries face a general election in November.
The most interesting primary is in Waterbury between Michael Jarjura and Karen Mulcahy
The Waterbury race is among the most contentious. Two-term Mayor Michael Jarjura fired Waterbury tax collector Karen Mulcahy back in March 2004, prompting her to sue the mayor, alleging civil rights violations.

After settling her lawsuit in April, Mulcahy launched a petition drive to challenge Jarjura. She collected 2,037 signatures, the most for any primary challenger in Waterbury's history, according to the Waterbury Republican-American.

Mulcahy, who had run on Jarjura's ticket in 2001 when the tax collection job was an elected position, said Jarjura fired her because she wouldn't help out his political cronies.

"They don't want Karen Mulcahy because it really stops the gravy train down here," said Mulcahy.

Mulcahy, 50, has criticized Jarjura's handling of the city's $465 million unfunded pension liability and has raised questions about the mayor's personal investments, his family's fruit business, and his ties to real estate developers.

Jarjura, 44, said he believes many of Mulcahy's attacks have been unfair and baseless. He points to his successes in Waterbury, including four balanced budgets and a steady tax rate in a city that had been teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.

He has also attacked Mulcahy's personal finances, noting that she once filed for bankruptcy protection. Voters should want a mayor who is successful with the city's finances as well as his own, he said.

"I don't think we're going to be turning the checkbook of the city of Waterbury to someone like that," he said of his opponent.

Mulcahy said the bankruptcy, filed in 1995 by herself and her husband, was business-related. She said Jarjura was aware of it when they ran together.