Connecticut political feud escalates into dueling urine tests

Some political feuds end with an election. This one ended with a urine test.

Two local lawmakers in the Connecticut city of Bridgeport spent the last week hurling insults and accusations of drug use at each other -- before deciding to settle the matter by peeing in a cup for a drug test.

The nasty – in so many ways – public feud ended on Monday after the results of the tests for Bridgeport City Councilman Ernest Newton and Board of Education member Maria Pereira were revealed. It turns out that both lawmakers tested negative for 10 substances -- marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, opiates, oxycodone, PCP, barbiturates, benzodiazepine and methadone -- according to The Connecticut Post.

The feud between Newton and Pereira began when they started attacking each other in the comments section of a story that appeared on the popular local website Only in Bridgeport.

“Please remember to take your meds,” Newton wrote earlier this month.

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Pereira fired back, saying: “Ernie, I promise I will continue to take any and all prescribed medicine. In turn, please ensure you take anything you need that may have to be swallowed, snorted, inhaled, or injected.”

She added later: “Stop taking drugs…It is killing the few remaining brain cells you have left.”

The insult from the Bridgeport Board of Education member hit Newton hard, as the local lawmaker had previously served five years in prison on federal corruption charges and has admitted to struggling in the past with a crack cocaine addiction. Since his release and a stint in rehab, Newton has been a champion of programs that help former offenders readjust into society.

Pereira’s comments prompted Newton to hit back with an allegation that Pereira has once been placed in a psychiatric ward for overdosing on medication – a claim she called “wild” and has denied.

“I’ll tell you what, Ernie,” she wrote to Newton. “I will gladly pay for both you and I to take a drug test with the understanding the results, whatever they may be, will be released to [Only in Bridgeport].”

“Name the time and place,” Newton replied.

Over the next two days, both Newton and Pereira went to a walk-in testing facility to have their urine tested.

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Despite both the results coming back negative, Newton has not let the subject drop – arguing on Monday that his results had been returned on the same day, but Pereira’s had not, and accusing her of being addicted to prescription pills.

“I didn’t have anything to prove,” Newton said Monday to Only in Bridgeport. “I’ve been clean. June 26th it’ll be 24 years.”

The pissing contest between the two seems to have riled up a number of Bridgeport residents, who would like to see fewer accusations and more action from their officials.

“In fact,” one resident said, according to The Washington Post, “it made you two the butt of an infinite amount of jokes at the expense of the city [you] both claim to love.”