Bridgeport’s Progress Key To Ganim’s Statewide Future

Ganim, Mario convention
Ganim, right, and Mario Testa share a moment at the Democratic National Convention in summer 2016.

This is a big political year for Mayor Joe Ganim in more ways than one. He needs budget stability in his second full year back in office after a challenging first year fiscally. He also must show progress to political leaders around the state as he positions for a potential statewide run in 2018. That process has already begun informally, according to a number of political operatives around the state who say Ganim is putting out feelers.

Ganim likely would have been the Democratic candidate for governor in 2002 if not derailed by the federal corruption probe that toppled his administration. He made a remarkable comeback for public office in 2015 riding a second-chance message that shocked political leaders around the state some of whom have embraced his mayoralty. But Ganim must earn his stripes as a ticket asset for Democratic operatives.

What’s a potential opportunity for Ganim, in lieu of a far-fetched run for governor? Possibly lieutenant governor? Would he settle for that?

At age 34, in 1994, an ambitious Ganim was the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor as the running mate of Bill Curry who lost a tight general election to Republican John Rowland. Ganim was a candidate for governor, dropped out to support party-endorsed John Larson who lost the Democratic primary to Curry.

In the mid and late 1990s, Ganim continued to build prestige as a statewide political figure schmoozing party regulars.

A lot of what happens in the next year depends on the future of Governor Dan Malloy. Will he seek reelection? That decision will probably not come until after the legislative session in June. If Malloy opts out, it changes the campaign landscape. State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, although not officially in the race for governor, is acting like a candidate challenging Malloy budget numbers and framing a government transparency message. Would he wage a primary against Malloy?

Meanwhile, the Republican field for governor is shaping up with Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst among those raising money.

Ganim, as well, wants to focus on the local Bridgeport budget process, working contacts in the state legislature and building alliances around the state. So much of this depends on timing and progress.

Will Ganim hold the line on taxes? Will the Steel Point redevelopment area go vertical this summer? Will Downtown North progress continue? How about the city crime rate, which can often be outside a mayor’s control?

And then there’s the question of raising money through Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded races. It’s a labor intensive process new to Ganim who showed strong fundraising skills in past races for mayor and statewide office when public financing were not options.

If Ganim decides to run statewide he’ll likely start with an exploratory committee that would allow him to fold the money raised into a full-blown campaign committee. And, if that happens, right by his side will be Bridgeport Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa who was instrumental in helping raise Ganim’s statewide profile in the 1990s.



  1. I doubt very seriously whether the the State of Connecticut can be fooled, bamboozled or hoodwinked by Joe Ganim like the residents of Bridgeport. I find his arrogance deplorable that his second chance agenda will resonate with the state and the state will put his incarceration in Federal Prison behind him like it isn’t a character flaw of his.

  2. Governor Dan Malloy and Mayor Joe Ganim are in the same boat, after they got elected they now have a low rating. Malloy won’t run and Ganim will get the message that the voters in the state don’t want him because he has done nothing. Look for New Haven Mayor Toni Harp to run for governor if Malloy doesn’t run. Harp served as a State Senator and a New Haven Alderman so she has the background and experience to work with Republicans and Democrats plus she is well respected statewide and liked.

  3. My jaw dropped as I read the title and the article itself. Ganim’s (JG2) success (or lack of success) as Mayor of Bridgeport simply does not put him into any contention for statewide office. Most of the redevelopment projects are still carryovers from the Finch/Kooris administration. Tom Gill is working overtime to move O&G from Seaview (East End) to Howard Ave (West Side) so the people of Bridgeport will have equal opportunity to breath poisonous air. BTW TOM GILL, DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW PROJECTS YOU ARE WORKING ON? The increase in the property tax mil rate makes Ganim a non-contender.

  4. If Joe Ganim gets momentum in Bridgeport he definitely has a shot. First, if Donald Trump, an anti-immigrant, racist bigot, anti-woman idiot can win, then a personable and experienced Mayor who paid his debt to society and won overwhelmingly in the largest city in the state has a chance. Yes, Joe Ganim has a chance. An excellent chance. To the chagrin of his once supporters and now haters, Joe is positioned for great things, if he is surrounded by positive people focused on making Bridgeport “great” again. 🙂

    1. The good news, I agree completely with Steve. The better news, seriously believe the track record of candidates we both support will continue. I may even write a check to JG2’s governor exploratory committee to assure his defeat. You’re welcome, CT.

    2. I don’t agree with this assessment. Ganim will not receive support from anywhere outside of Bridgeport and, frankly, he should not be assuming a high level of support in Bridgeport outside the puppets on the DTC. Ganim ran to be Mayor of Bridgeport again–but now he finds out he hates the job.

  5. “I’m running for mayor again to improve the lives of the families who call this great city our home and to provide real solutions for our city,”

    … By not doing much and trying to leave after just two years in office.

    I guess that run for mayor wasn’t really about the people of Bridgeport after all. It was all about Joe. Shocking!

  6. I don’t think the rest of Connecticut will be fooled by Joe Ganim. P.T. Barnum might have said “a sucker is born every minute” but that theorem was used up by Ganim in his drive to become Mayor of Bridgeport. It won’t work on a statewide basis. Hopefully, any statewide ambitions of Joe Ganim will be squashed and either he will NOT seek re-election or be defeated in any re-election bid.

    1. Frank, Ganim won the Primary by 412 votes in a three-way primary.

      The 138th gave him approximately 175 votes more than Finch. If just 207 voters had voted for Finch instead of Ganim, he would have lost. That will not be difficult to do with a competitive challenger.

      We must lay the foundation NOW to ensure Ganim is not re-elected, or elected to ANY state office.

      He is a narcissist who is a compulsive liar who feels absolutely no compunction or remorse when he knowingly looks you in your eyes and blatantly lies.

  7. Ganim has virtually zero chance to win statewide office in 2018 and is not likely to win re-election as Mayor in 2019. He needs to get real and get to work on Bridgeport’s many challenges.

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