Campaign Pain–“I Can’t Wait Until It’s Over”

Two weeks left to the general election for mayor and the refrain is consistent from every campaign camp: “I can’t wait until it’s over!” (Some of us don’t want this surreal campaign cycle to end!) Supporters of Mayor Bill Finch were saying the same thing before the September Democratic primary, just let it be over, not realizing in fact it would end a lot faster than they had imagined. Campaign workers are tired and stressed working in overdrive. Campaigns of this nature are like a controlled frenzy in search of an edge.

Time to take a little inventory and raise a few questions, like …

It’s as though the scribes and editors at the CT Post, which has only one full-time reporter covering the state’s largest city, the accomplished Brian Lockhart, have collectively decided “we were soft on Joe Ganim during the primary so we’re turning up the heat in the general election.” Last Sunday ghostly reporter Bill Cummings–who wrote nary a word on the mayoral race prior–pulled out his blowtorch under the ominous lead header Legacy of Greed that recounted Ganim’s felonious credentials as mayor. Was Ganim’s core support moved off him by the article? Or maybe his core support in African American precincts doesn’t subscribe to the paper? Did the story register with unaffiliated voters?

On Sunday it was cheeky writer Neil Vigdor’s turn, surmising on the front page the state Republican party is trying to stimulate a Ganim win so they can convert him cynically into the poster child of corruption in future statewide elections. Republicans aiding Ganim’s election could be a weapon used against Joe leading to election day, but who’s going to make that happen? Some of these free media stories are only as good as what political operatives do to leverage them afterwards.

It appears, barring a dramatic development, Ganim’s greatest enemy on Nov. 3 is complacency. Ganim tactfully galvanized the anti-Finch vote while inspiring new voters to the polls in the primary based on a second-chance message of stabilizing taxes, bringing crime under control and repairing potholes and sidewalks. Ganim really didn’t say anything compelling, he simply worked a very personal retail campaign 24/7 that also inspired a potent volunteer campaign operation opposed to Finch. But Finch is not on the ballot. And some voters believe Ganim has this election nailed. Will some Ganim supporters stay home while the anti-Ganim vote engages?

Ganim’s chief opponents, petitioning candidate Mary-Jane Foster and Republican Enrique Torres, are trying to inspire voters to view them as viable alternatives to Ganim.

Foster ran a credible Democratic primary against Finch in 2011, having been outspent two to one. She did not take advantage of her first run, entering the primary season late while Finch and Ganim poached a number of her supporters. Still, she has life emerging from a third place primary showing to become Ganim’s closest rival, backed by Finch, business community money and reformers opposed to Ganim’s return. She also has the support of several members of Bridgeport’s elected delegation to the state legislature which is key in bringing home dollars from Hartford. Her path to victory requires that she secure roughly two-thirds of Finch’s 5,800 primary votes and a solid majority of unaffiliated voters. Can she create enough doubt about Ganim in the final two weeks to pull off a historic win as a petitioning candidate?

Torres is a popular figure in Black Rock, that cool waterfront hamlet that is the most active neighborhood politically in the city. By percentage, it’s the highest turnout area of the city. If Torres were running for mayor of Black Rock he’d do mighty fine. Torres and Foster will likely run ahead of Ganim in Black Rock. But what’s his strength outside his core neighborhood?

Torres had Finch pretty much head to head four years ago in securing about 30 percent of the vote in the general election, benefiting largely from an anti-Finch spillover from the primary coupled with a small turnout of unaffiliated voters and a Republican base outflanked by Dems 10 to 1. What’s changed this time around for Torres? A little more money? A few more policy initiatives? His effort is earnest, for sure, but what support does he enjoy in African American and Latino districts that’s different from his previous runs for mayor, especially against a strong retail politician like Ganim and Foster’s campaign presence?

For harried campaign staffers, it will be over in two weeks, except of course for the winning campaign, followed by a four-week transition to governing. And political campaigns and governing are not the same. But that’s another story.



  1. Ganim has peaked too soon in public interest. Isn’t that campaign speak for being on a downhill spiral of public interest? Yes, he has been everywhere, but he is not going to get the automatic pass he needs to slide back into office. It could be a real disaster for Bridgeport progress on every level as reality sets in we returned backwards and scarred and bruised our reputation once again for doing it. I can see a young person standing before a judge and proclaiming, “Your Honor, the Mayor is a felon, why are you yelling at me?” If one thinks not, then you haven’t heard enough reasoning when trying to wiggle out of situations. How will the brass-plated plaque look that says, “Honorable Mayor Joseph Ganim” on it? The open door, begs the question, Felonious Police Chief next? This is not a question of forgiving someone their past mistakes. He is forgiven, let’s say. He has suffered a lot personally and I feel for him that way. But those who vote for him will be a select group of people who are willing to gamble on very unknown consequences.
    Mary-Jane Foster, who is known only slightly to the general city electorate and a real hard sell to African Americans who don’t get the emergency messages from her unstable campaign, or the Latinos who have no use for her, have not heard of her really. Yesterday it could be said the CT Post tried to start her campaign all over again, with the hard to follow logic of the Republicans backing Ganim. Unless some shysters from out of town can stuff the ballot boxes for Ganim, Bridgeport Republicans surely will not. Lennie talks about campaigns looking for an edge, I think the Foster campaign is more likely looking for an identity to begin with and line G won’t make that too visible no matter what can be cobbled together in two weeks or so.
    Enrique Torres, the man some love to hate. There must be something to that position. He is an honorable man, is that honesty a virus in Bridgeport politics? Okay, Mary-Jane is honest, just not on television when saying she is not backed by anyone connected to business as usual in Bridgeport. The quotes are there. So, perhaps it is Finch’s vote that is needed and Republicans and independents. I will take the head start with Torres, he has thousands and thousands of votes to build on already. He doesn’t have the special-interest money. Some I do believe think that is a sign of weakness, as if nothing can get done in a city without people who start out with their hands in your pockets. Do you walk around with your hands up? If you really want a Mayor who will seriously lower your taxes, vote for the Democrat turned Republican. If you really want to know what city hall has been doing with your money, he is responsible for the city council resolution promoting transparency and access to city departments. If you wonder about a Republican in Bridgeport, the resolution only passed because the Democratic council agreed with him. I can tell you he is a decent and smart man who will put the residents of all neighborhoods first in Bridgeport. It has been a good job done of trying to paint him as having a fence around his vision that stops at the borders of Black Rock. That impression is yours to keep. Charlie Coviello said on the News 12 debate he hopes someone other than Ganim or Foster is elected, he didn’t seem to be stumping for himself when he said it, he seemed honest. What’s to be afraid of in honesty and transparency? Is this town a dysfunctional family that acts in co-dependent ways with its own addictions? Can’t see the difference between a cloudy past and new ideas? Torres is not the answer to Bridgeport, but he will help to free up the energies of Bridgeport residents so all people can participate in their own solutions. 147,000 people have the answers. I hope enough of us give Enrique “Rick” Torres a chance to clear the way for them. Lastly, have you gone into city hall or the water pollution control authority, tried to have your tax bill explained, had a boot on your car for a hundred bucks owed in taxes, had your house foreclosed on starting at $1000 owed in water pollution, while Bass Pro gets a thirty-year no tax free ride on the public to sell more guns to Bridgeport? The solar farm ruining Seaside Park no taxes no energy savings and the city gets to pay for the cleanup when it rots on the hill in time? Try something different and then keep kicking everybody out until we get it right.

  2. I definitely believe Ganim has worn out the redemption story and “Joe Ganim Day” on Nov. 3 as proclaimed by Mary McBride is vomitous. Joe Ganim day? How downright insulting! This is a Democratic town. I think Tom Swain may be able to figure out a brilliant way to get people to look all the way down the ballot. Even if Mary-Jane Foster needs to walk from 10 to 7 every day meeting people and personally explaining. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Row G is less difficult than a write-in vote. People just need to believe there is a sense of urgency. That will be the case Finch and Foster take to the people. Row G.

    1. Steve, everybody knows, as you said, this is a Democratic town, everybody but the Republicans. All that has to be done is a group of Democrats to change parties and become Republicans and take over the Republican Town Committee but they use and keep their Democratic policies, this is what the “Tea Party” did to the national Republican Party, that had their point of view and now they are in control of the Republican Party.

  3. Raymond, and you know this how? Mary-Jane Foster, who is known only slightly to the general city electorate and a real hard sell to African Americans. How many blacks from Bridgeport have you talked to, to substantiate this statement? Are you just throwing out garbage statements that have no validity in facts?

    Raymond, I canvassed the North Main St. area Saturday and every black I talked to were Mary-Jane Foster supporters, in fact I put up five yards signs. Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re getting as hard to believe as some of those malevolent Black Rockers. Your are certainly entitled to your opinion, but when you try to speak for the black community and you are not part of the black community you do yourself and the black community a disservice. Cut it out, dude.

      1. She got 9% of the primary vote. If people knew her they didn’t want her. You see, you are fighting for a party, I suppose. I am fighting for the residents of Bridgeport to have a person of the people in the office. I am sorry he is on the Republican line. Particularly if it is offensive in any way to you, as you seem like a genuine person and I don’t see how our interests can be that different. Dude.

  4. In the past five days I have canvassed in the North End and the upper East Side. Of the 28 signs I put out, 20 were for black and Hispanic families. In the Hooker area residents were so happy to meet Mary-Jane Foster. They have been terrorized by my friend Maria Pereira. And yes, four signs went up on her street with more to come. Yes, former Ganim supporters. The tide has been turning. Row G.

  5. Yes, signs were up in the 138th including my yard!
    Imagine my surprise when coming home from a lovely weekend at the Baseball Hall of Fame and finding my yard had signs in it.
    Do people not ask first? My front yard is a construction site right now.
    No one should be on it, let alone putting out signs.

    1. Well, Those Bastards!!! I am glad I did not have the audacity to put a sign on your lawn. I was told you were a Ganim supporter. However, you can blame me for your next-door neighbor in that beautiful home who begged for Foster signs. Mary-Jane Foster can verify that. I hope seeing a Foster sign on your lawn didn’t make you vomit. Maybe you should ask Mary-Jane Foster. Imagine, ruining your day like that!


Leave a Reply