HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Just one day after Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin revealed he isn’t running for the third time in 2023, former Superior Court judge and Democratic state senator became the first candidate to announce his bid for office.
More than a hundred supporters want Eric Coleman to be the next mayor of Hartford, including Evelyn Dukes.
“He’s genuine for the people, for the city of Hartford,” Dukes told News 8.
At 71, Coleman gave up a job he loved as a trial referee – a judge with more limited duties.
“I submitted my letter of resignation to the chief justice this morning [Wednesday],” Coleman said.
Before becoming a Superior Court judge in 2018, Coleman served as state senator for Connecticut’s 2nd District, which covered Hartford, Bloomfield, and Windsor, from 1995 to 2017.
Coleman said he is running for mayor because he cares about Hartford. He said out-of-control gun violence is also why he jumped into the race.
“I’m neither content nor comfortable with merely spectating,” he said.
Coleman said there is a backlog of 100 murder cases in the city, and trials have not been completed. One solution is intervening when kids are young and offering opportunities for desperate people.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful for Hartford, Connecticut, to be recognized as the place that cracked the code?”
Coleman also has been researching a controversial idea used in California.
“Well, in Richmond, California, they actually paid gang members and gang leaders not to engage in violence,” Coleman explained.
He listed his legislative accomplishments, including repealing the death penalty, banning assault weapons, and decriminalizing marijuana.
Coleman has no aspirations for higher office and wants to inspire. He’s aiming at leaders in other big cities.
“I look at the major cities in the state of Connecticut, and they’re all being run, you know, not to take a swipe at any particular ethnicity or race, but they’re all being run by white fellas,” he said.
Coleman, a Bloomfield resident until recently, has not lost a race in 30 years. He is registering to vote in the city’s west end – his new home.
Supporter Cynthia Jennings of Hartford said getting the Democratic nomination is critical.
“We also need to register 3 to 5,000 brand new young people to register to vote in the north end,” Jennings said.
Coleman is confident there will be a Democratic primary, but he also said he believes he will win.
READ: Eric Coleman’s letter of resignation
WATCH: News 8’s Mike Masciadrelli reports on Eric Coleman’s candidacy