A sense of humor is a must in politics, putting your bruised ego aside, especially after an ass-kicking … like “I thought Halloween was the scariest night of the year.” Mayor Joe Ganim got his butt kicked statewide on Tuesday with just 19 percent of the Democratic vote, winning only his home city that also exposed some storm warnings of voter unrest with his mayoral reelection on the horizon next year. Time to stop counting bathrooms, the price of milk and political goblins.
Some pols will pull apart the Bridgeport election results be it former Mayor Bill Finch who wants his old job back or State Senator Marilyn Moore who has been encouraged to challenge Ganim next year. None of that really matters as long as Ganim pays attention to business at home. A post mortem on Ganim is way too premature. If he pays attention to business at home the rest will take care of itself. Will he?
The good news for Ganim last night, against an opponent who’s no slouch in Ned Lamont he retains a solid base of support in African American and Latino precincts. The bad news is Lamont cracked 40 percent of the vote based largely on an anti-Ganim vote in high home-ownership neighborhoods such as Black Rock, West Side, North End and Upper East Side. Democrats, particularly in Black Rock, bit harder than a hyena. In 2016, implementation of revaluation jacked tax bills beyond their breaking point.
Joe Ganim did not make his comeback because of Black Rock; he did not win that precinct in the primary or general election in 2015 but he can ameliorate some of the damage by focusing on the nuts and bolts of being mayor. Even in purely selfish political terms, if Ganim wants a statewide future he must do that.
Tuesday morning Lamont visited his Bridgeport headquarters contemplating a big win while keeping an eye on the general election understanding a November turnout in the state’s largest city is key to becoming governor. He chatted about being deferential to Ganim’s past knowing there was no value to excoriating him in the cause of attracting second-chance voters for November.
Lamont also enunciated all the right things about Bridgeport that Ganim wants as a mayor, full funding of education and payments in lieu of taxes for tax-exempt properties that would drive tens of millions more to the city, support of an open, competitive process for a gaming “destination” as he call it along the city’s waterfront.
Lamont also wondered about a representative showing in Bridgeport in Ganim’s back yard. Winning is relative in politics. You can win by losing and lose by winning.
“How do you think I’ll do in Bridgeport?” he asked.
“Forty percent is a decent number.”
Lamont got that.
He also wondered if Ganim would call him on primary night. Ganim did.
Ganim posted this on his campaign Facebook page:
Friends, we fought hard for what we believe is right for the future of our state. As Democrats, we must stick together as a party in support of the ideals of building one Connecticut that works for everyone.
Tonight, we celebrate the victories and achievements we pursued in this primary campaign.
Tomorrow, we join in the fight with our fellow Democrats to achieve together what we set out to accomplish: a unified Connecticut fighting for democratic values.
Ganim, generally a pragmatist, must now put words into action … for his mayoral future and political fortunes beyond.