John Gale, a West End lawyer, dropped out of the Hartford mayor’s race Thursday and announced his candidacy for Hartford City Council.
In dropping out of the mayor’s race, Gale also endorsed Democratic challenger, Luke Bronin.
Bronin, former legal counsel to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, is currently topping the race’s financial ladder, having raised about $610,000 with $500,000 cash on hand to Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra’s mere $110,813.
Gale, who first entered the race when he when he launched an exploratory committee late in 2014, raised a total of $127,000.
Backed by supporters with “John Gale 2015” signs, the former candidate said that after numerous consultations with family and friends, he very recently decided that Bronin was the better man for the job.
“After looking at the politics of the city of Hartford, I’ve decided that Luke Bronin is the best choice,” Gale said, adding that he believed Bronin’s view of the city’s future was similar to his own.
Gale, who had previously expressed concern over what he believed to be Bronin’s lack of experience in municipal government, said that part of his reasoning to run for council was to bring his own experience to the table.
“We don’t just need a new mayor, we need a new culture that puts service to the community before all else, and that’s why I’m announcing I’m a candidate for city Council” Gale said.
Bronin, who in turn voiced his support for Gale’s council bid, also espoused previously-stated opinions on various issues, such as the “unresponsive” nature of city hall.
“I’ve knocked on thousands of doors and heard more times that I can count the lack of responsiveness from city hall,” Bronin said. “It’s from residents, it’s from small businesses, it’s from big businesses.”
Bronin went on to say he believed city politics should be tackled as a whole and not on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.
For those unfamiliar with Hartford, the neighborhoods are somewhat divided by race. Both Bronin and Gale are white and had support from the west and north end neighborhoods, while Segarra is Puerto Rican.
“We can’t afford to be a divided city,” Bronin said. “We have to be one city, one neighborhood. We have to govern that way, we have to act that way. This is a city-wide effort to make a city-wide change.”
Sticking to the topic of uniform governance, Bronin said that he would like to create weekly dialogues with community members and other stakeholders in order to find solutions to the violence.
“We need to act quickly to create more opportunities for employment and recreation for our young people,” Bronin said. “I’ve called for the creation of a youth service corps and a public-private partnership and I still call for that urgently. We need to make sure to stabilize our police force which is down over 80 officers over the past few years with more retirements scheduled to come. In the face of rising crime we cannot afford to have our police force fall over a cliff.”
With Gale out of the running it leaves Bronin, retired probate Judge Robert Killian and Segarra as the only three left vying for the Democratic nomination.
The candidates have less than one month until the Hartford Democratic Town Committee announces their endorsement July 27 and a primary will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 16. Since Democratic voters far outnumber Republicans in the city of 125,000, the Democratic primary is often considered the election.
Working Families Party Councilman Joel Cruz Jr., Republican Ted Cannon and unaffiliated Hartford resident Giselle Jacobs are also running.