He was first elected in 2001 and reelected in 2003. In 2005, he was elected to a third term as a write-in candidate after losing the Democratic primary. He was re-elected in 2007 and 2009 as the Democratic party nominee. In 2011, after failing to seek the Democratic nomination, he ran for reelection on the Republican Party ticket. In the general election, he was defeated by former police chief Neil O'Leary, who was the Democratic nominee. Perennial Waterbury mayoral candidate Larry DePillo also ran in the general election, as an independent.
Prior to his election as Mayor, Jarjura served in the Connecticut House of Representatives representing the 74th District in the city's east end. He was employed by the Connecticut Attorney General's office prior to entering elective politics.
Jarjura, long considered a conservative Democrat, shed that party label and joined the Republican party in 2011. In 2006 he endorsed the independent senate campaign of Joe Lieberman. In 2008 he announced he would hire former Governor John G. Rowland, who had served prison time on a corruption charge, as an economic development advisor. In September 2009 Jarjura spoke at a Tea Party movement rally in Waterbury, saying, "We needed a spark, and you're the spark that is going to be the change. So don't give up. Don't get discouraged because this country is worth fighting for and you're fighting for it."
Jarjura is a cultural conservative who opposes abortion rights. He is a member of the Legislative Advisory Council of the Family Institute of Connecticut, an organization known for its vocal opposition to same-sex marriage.
In May 2010, Jarjura, who first explored a run for governor and lieutenant governor, announced he would seek the post of state comptroller being vacated by incumbent Nancy Wyman. His opponent, Kevin Lembo, won the endorsement of the Democratic State Convention later that month.
In July 2010, Jarjura challenged his opponent's request for public funding in a complaint with the Connecticut State Election Enforcement Commission. The commission found no wrongdoing and approved the public grant.
Later in July, Jarjura filed a lawsuit against the State Election Enforcement Commission for approving his primary opponent for public campaign financing. On July 27, Hartford Superior Court Judge James T. Graham denied Jarjura’s request for an injunction against the state and his opponent.
In the state Democratic primary, held on August 10, 2010, Jarjura was defeated by Lembo.
- "Governor Rowland: More Visible This Year, Is He A Plus Or Poison To Candidates? - Hartford Courant". Articles.courant.com. 2010-07-25. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Jarjura takes hits in race for comptroller | The Connecticut Mirror". Ctmirror.org. 2010-07-30. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "For the third time this year, a political campaign awaits a judge's decision | The Connecticut Mirror". Ctmirror.org. 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Family Institute of Connecticut". Ctfamily.org. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Altimari, Daniela (2007-07-26). "Article: New Leader At Family Institute: A Former Liberal, State Native To Head... | AccessMyLibrary - Promoting library advocacy". AccessMyLibrary. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Jarjura Sues Over Lembo’s Public Campaign Grant". NBC Connecticut. 2010-07-23. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Judge rejects effort to block public funding for Lembo | The Connecticut Mirror". Ctmirror.org. 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Judge Denies Jarjura Lawsuit, Lembo Free To Spend". CT News Junkie. 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Connecticut Primaries: Results". Hartford Courant. August 10, 2010. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
- About Mayor Michael J. Jarjura Biography, courtesy of official Waterbury website.
- Waterbury Mayor, a Write-In Candidate, Wins His Re-election Bid
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- Family Institute of Connecticut
Sam S.F. Caligiuri
|Mayor of Waterbury, Connecticut
|Connecticut state representative for the Seventy-Fourth District