Connecticut Just Had a Bizarre Political Challenge

2 sparring officials in Bridgeport agree to drug tests after exchanging insults
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2019 6:11 AM CDT
Updated Apr 23, 2019 6:41 AM CDT
   (Getty/nndanko)

(Newser) – No surprise: The comments section on a political story online turned personal and nasty. Bigger surprise: The two combatants accusing each other of being on drugs were two local officials in Bridgeport, Conn.—City Councilman Ernie Newton and Board of Education member Maria Pereira, reports the Connecticut Post. And the strange ending: The escalating insults led the pair to challenge each other to a drug test, prompting both to make public pilgrimages to a lab to turn over urine samples. Both tests came out clean. Yes, it was a genuine "political pissing contest," per the Only in Bridgeport website. Here is the original story on that website that led to the challenge, in which the two Democrats began arguing over city budget numbers.

"Please remember to take your meds," Newton wrote in response to one of Pereira's comments. “Ernie, I promise I will continue to take any and all prescribed medicine," she responded. "In turn, please ensure you take anything you need that may have to be swallowed, snorted, inhaled, or injected." And so on. Things kept up in heated fashion, and soon they had both agreed to the drug test. Of note, Newton had previously gone public about a crack cocaine habit decades ago, notes the Washington Post. Unprecedented? Not quite: Earlier this month, Ukraine's presidential race featured a public drug test between incumbent Petro Poroshenko and challenger Volodymyr Zelenskiy, notes the Guardian. (The latter, a comedian, won the election.)

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