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Cianci Seeks Political Comeback, What About His Pal Joe?

June 29th, 2014 · 6 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, News and Events

The irrepressible Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, the longest-serving mayor in Providence, Rhode Island history, is once again seeking a political comeback. Evicted from office in 1984 for putting out a lit cigarette in the eye of his wife’s lover, Cianci made a political comeback in 1991 reclaiming the mayoralty and engineering the city’s rebirth. In 2002, the Fairfield University alumnus was found guilty of corruption and was once again forced from office. One year later his friend Joe Ganim experienced the same fate as mayor of Bridgeport. Buddy and Joe did time together in the joint. Will Ganim get in the mayor’s race for 2015?

One thing about Cianci, described as the P.T. Barnum of Providence politics, he can turn a phrase. “Be careful of the toe that you step on today, because it may be connected to an ass that you have to kiss tomorrow.”

Former Mayor John Fabrizi has formed an exploratory committee for what he hopes propels him back into the office he vacated in 2007 when Bill Finch won a close primary over Chris Caruso on his way to the mayoralty.

Ganim toyed with running for mayor in 2011, one year after he was released from prison. According to the Connecticut judicial website, Ganim is currently in divorce court. His name pops up among political operatives as a possible mayoral candidate in 2015.

Supporters of Mary-Jane Foster, Finch’s 2011 Democratic primary opponent, are encouraging her to run again. Will she?

State Rep. Charlie Stallworth is another name in the potential candidate mix.

What about former State Rep. Caruso? He works in the state Labor Department appointed by Governor Dan Malloy. What if Malloy loses in November? Will Caruso run?

How about two-time mayoral candidate, Republican City Councilman Enrique Torres?

Meanwhile Finch continues to build a campaign war chest for next year that’s somewhere around the $200K mark. He’ll have plenty of dough to spend.

Any other candidates out there? Based on the possible candidates, who would you support?

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Steven Auerbach

    I would like to know the idiots who would invest in a Ganim campaign. Who would give the keys to the kingdom to him? Does anyone hate Bill that much to put Joe back in office? No! Bridgeport is ready to move forward. We will most likely put Finch back in office only if Steelepointe is moving beyond Bass Pro. If not, perhaps we are ready for a political neophyte who can market the City without dependencies on State funds.
    I think the media and opposition will show no mercy and absolutely destroy Ganim and humiliate his family. Is it really necessary? Lennie, you may store this for future commentary. Joe Ganim is a nice guy. His actions speak for themselves. The fact he is able to run is a travesty.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Cianci freely admits the facts of his serving Providence as Mayor on two occasions as well as time in prison. So long-serving is accurate but the distinction Buddy has earned is there has been significant movement in that city over the last three decades and he has been there assisting in the re-invention. A recent book, Pasta and Politics, is a good read and provides background from his viewpoint on the history, personal and urban.
    A comparison with Bridgeport fails in that Ganim has never taken responsibility for that which he was tried and convicted. And that attitude has formed a public impression that is different from Cianci’s (I was innocent but I did my time and now I am ready for what life gives me with some new learning, or something close to that.) That is not Ganim’s line the public has heard, and Joe is not on the radio every day either, nor has he published a book, etc.

    So Mayor Finch goes to each photo op with $200,000 in the bank and more building, and it will be interesting for some researcher to look at where the checks are being raised and compare it to the City purchases for the past few years and see if anything lines up.
    Having asked a few folks to support one or more of the current corps of candidates for office, I sense there is a large base of people (who do not do business with the City or are otherwise conflicted, like having a relative holding a job with pay and benefits important to the family) who are not sending money to Bill Finch. It is not, as Steve suggests, that people “hate” Finch, but they have come to see him as personally unresponsive to what is going on around him. He can’t answer basic questions that are put to him without turning it over to his aides. What’s up with that? And City employees have been instructed not to communicate with the Mayor. Why is that out of bounds? Is Bill Finch only available for feel-good, photo-op sessions where serious details, full disclosure on financial issues, etc. are not on the table? Time will tell.

    • Pete Spain

      Nice contrast and comparison, John.

      Probably no need to end this entry with the pat “TWT.”

      Can we see a table or pie chart of the top 20 contributors to date with donation $, home address and/or biz address, and whether they have direct or indirect ties to the city through business, contracts, or other?

  • Godiva2011

    I’m planning to read “Pasta & Politics” as I’m sure it will be interesting. I’ll tell you this much, I have family there and if Buddy Cianci runs again, he’ll have an excellent shot at winning. The people love him in spite of his misgivings. He lacks the arrogance of Joe Ganim, who would be foolish to even attempt running again.

  • Baffled in Bridgeport

    What is it about these guys, they think their bad or embarrassing behavior should be rewarded by re-election? Really? Go. Away. Now.

  • Phil Blagys

    I would also recommend reading “The Prince of Providence.” It’s the same story but told from a journalist’s viewpoint who covered the Cianci years for the Providence Journal. Good read!

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