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Groton — Aundré Bumgardner, a 19-year-old Republican from Groton, won his party’s nomination Wednesday to run for the 41st House District seat currently held by Democrat Elissa Wright.
Republicans also nominated John F. Scott, a Mystic resident and member of the Groton Representative Town Meeting, to run for the 40th House District seat currently held by Democrat Ted Moukawsher.
On Monday, the party nominated Kevin Trejo, a former RTM member and education activist in Groton, to run for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Andrew Maynard in the 18th District.
Democrats will hold their nominating conventions next week for the state Senate and House seats representing Groton. The convention for the 18th District Senate seat will be held at 6 p.m. May 19 at the Griswold VFW Hall. The convention for the 41st House District will be held at 7 p.m. May 20 at Groton Public Library, and the convention for the 40th District is set for 7 p.m. May 20 at the Par Four Restaurant in Groton.
“I look forward to engaging in a very spirited conversation with Elissa Wright on the issues, and look forward to meeting and earning the support of the people of Groton and New London,” Bumgardner said.
He added: “I look forward to winning in November. I think we’re going to shock the world.”
The battle for Wright’s seat had looked like it might end up a three-way race. Geoffrey Jones, 51, captain of the schooner Mystic of Stonington, said last month he would also seek the Republican nomination.
Jones could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Wright said Wednesday she had no comment until the endorsement process was complete.
Bumgardner started in politics by volunteering for former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons in 2010. The candidate also worked as an intern during Tom Foley’s campaign for governor and later became field director for Paul Formica’s 2012 congressional bid.
Scott, owner of Bailey Agencies Insurance Agency, said his platform challenging Moukawsher will be about jobs, economic and business development.
“It seems every day we seem to get hit with more people losing jobs,” Scott said. Moukawsher and others in Hartford haven’t improved the situation, Scott said.
“Under his watch, Pfizer’s left town for the most part,” Scott said. “I mean 4,000 jobs have left the area, and I just feel like he hasn’t really done well by us economically.”
Scott, 44, a Gales Ferry native, previously served on the Groton Town Council, several boards and commissions and is president of the Groton Rotary Club.
Moukawsher said Pfizer had every tax benefit available, and state and local leaders worked together and found a buyer for the former research headquarters now being demolished.
“They said they wanted to sell it, but they really didn’t,” Moukawsher said, adding of Scott: “If he wants to criticize somebody, he should criticize Pfizer.” Moukawsher said legislators have approved many incentives for business, including a small business loan program.
Trejo, of Groton, said he does not have a platform to run on yet. But he said that while he likes Maynard personally, he believes he is serving the Democratic party more than the constituents he represents. Trejo said Maynard gets points by going against his party when he knows it will win the vote anyway.
“... If you can keep your voters happy by not going along with your own party because they’ve got the vote locked in, that’s the bone he gets in southeastern Connecticut,” Trejo said.
Maynard said in an email that he has a record of independent voting, doesn’t seek his party’s permission and acts and votes on principle.
“If Kevin or anyone doubts that, I can give them the number for the Senate President or the governor’s office with whom I have differed on numerous occasions,” Maynard wrote.
Trejo, 63, formerly worked for Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. in New York for 12 years, then as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service. He served in the U.S. Army as a military police and correctional officer in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Trejo was co-founder of Taxpayers for Groton, which supported the first phase of school construction in Groton, then as vice chairman of the political action committee Friends for Affordable Education, which opposed the second phase of school construction.
He also served eight years on school improvement teams at the elementary, middle and high school levels, and 12 years on parent teacher organizations, including the Groton Parent Council.