Mayor Joe Ganim’s petitioning campaign for governor has amassed roughly 32,000 signatures, 10,000 from Bridgeport, about twice the verified number he needs in his quest to qualify for an August 14 primary against Democratic-endorsed Ned Lamont. Tuesday was the final opportunity to submit signatures to local elections officials who will review the petitions to determine if they are Democratic electors in Connecticut before final tabulation by the office of the Connecticut Secretary of the State. Others, both Democrat and Republicans, are trying to do the same.
The Democratic campaign of entrepreneur Guy Smith reports it will submit roughly 23,000 signatures. Republicans David Stemerman and Bob Stefanowski are also petitioning candidates. They need more than 9,000 verified signatures. Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti announced on Tuesday his petitioning effort failed. Party-endorsed Mark Boughton, mayor of Danbury, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and Navy veteran Steve Obsitnik have received ballot approval via GOP convention support.
Petitioning candidates need a significant signature cushion because many will be rejected for lack of party affiliation compliance. In some instances one third, or perhaps more, will be rejected. This is an extremely labor-intensive process where the greatest success rate comes from reaching voters registered with a party at their home. Petitioning at a resident’s front door is good, in front of a shopping center not good because of its high failure rate.
Local registrars will spend the next week reviewing petitions before shipping them off to the state for final tabulation.
New Haven, along with Bridgeport, is where the Ganim campaign operation has piled up a majority of the signatures. Ganim made a stop on Tuesday in New Haven to chat with the New Haven Independent.
Ganim cast the petition drive as reflective of a “grassroots campaign” aimed at shut-out voices, targeting a wealthy endorsed opponent who is self-financing his campaign.
“Many people who signed this petition will not be out on their yachts in August or in the Hamptons or the Cape. They’re going to be struggling in a hot summer on the streets. We are looking for them to come out and participate in change on Aug. 14,” Ganim said.
In recent weeks Ganim has emerged as a feisty underdog candidate who seems to be benefiting from efforts by party leaders–worried about the prospect of a gubernatorial candidate who spent seven years in federal prison for taking bribes–and others to sideline or silence him.
He has embraced speaking about his crimes as part of casting his campaign as a “second-chance” quest that speaks for all people who have made mistakes.
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