With a Baseball Stadium in Play, Coleman Wins Senate Primary

Aug 12, 2014

Sen. Eric Coleman (D) celebrating his primary victory Tuesday night.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR News

Democratic state Sen. Eric Coleman won the Tuesday primary for his seat despite a spirited challenge.  And the question of whether to build a new minor league baseball stadium in Hartford figured prominently the race.

Shawn Wooden is the president of the Hartford City Council, and he was supposed to be the new blood in a senate seat held by Coleman for nearly two decades. He was the choice of city's mayor as well as of the Democratic parties in Hartford, Windsor and Bloomfield.

But, once the numbers came in at Coleman's steamy Hartford headquarters Tuesday night, the victory belonged to the incumbent. And supporter Virginia Monteiro was happy for it.

"The people have spoken, actually," she said.  "At the end of the day, we got this. Our senator, once again."

Unofficial number from Coleman headquarters.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

  She says Wooden's campaign was saddled by a story it couldn't beat -- the effort to bring a new baseball stadium to Hartford. Wooden was initially supportive and later skeptical of the plan to spend public money to build the park. Coleman opposes the stadium and attacked Wooden on the issue.

Don Williams is the president of the state senate. He was in Hartford to support Coleman. As for the stadium...

"I think it became a significant issue in the campaign because people didn't know about it," Williams said. "The negotiations apparently were in secret for months and months. And then it was announced as a done deal and it turned out that it's not really a done deal."

Prenzina Holloway waited outside in the cool for Coleman to arrive. She's been involved in Hartford politics a long time, and here's how she describes Coleman's victory.

"It tells me that, number one, you can't keep a good man down," she said.  "And, number two, it tells me he's not a kisser, kisser, kisser. And, number three, it tells me that he's not trying to be more than what he is."

She also opposes the stadium.

"Why should our taxes on our house go up?" she asked.  "Why should our taxes on our car go up? Why? Because they want a stadium?"

Finally, when Coleman came, the reserved, quiet lawyer held back tears.

"Thank you all for everything that you've done in my behalf," he said.  "Thank you so much."

Wooden's campaign confirmed Coleman's victory.