Ganim Addresses Resurgent Young Dems Fielding Candidates

Decades ago a number of insurgents got their start in politics when the Bridgeport Young Democrats was an active organization. Dormant for a long time, several members of the resurrected Greater Bridgeport Young Democrats will try to qualify for the September primary ballot for City Council including Gage Frank, Marcus Brown and Kyle Langan.

young Dems
Several veteran Dems such as Congressman Jim Himes and State Senators Bob Duff and Marilyn Moore join Young Dems in this photo shoot.

Several members of the organization attended the OIB 10th anniversary party last week Downtown. The group has invited a number of high-profile politicians to address its members including Mayor Joe Ganim who spoke Monday night. See video above, jack your speakers, sound quality not the best. Ganim talked about his early years in politics, his comeback and ongoing city development projects and his race for governor.

Young Dem leadership has often expressed concern about the lack of inclusiveness by the city’s political establishment including Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa to cultivate new, young leaders. Mario is old school, he likes cultivating new, young leaders if he knows he has their votes. Otherwise, you’re on your own. And in recent years voting trends have moved away from the so-called “Bridgeport machine” that really needs a serious lube job. It’s rusty.

Many endorsed Dems have taken a shellacking in primaries. So how do you get the attention of the political establishment? You kick its butt in primaries. That takes a lot of work, building organized opposition, but doable as recent history shows.

Ganim himself took on the party establishment as a young candidate in the late 1980s, first challenging incumbent State Rep. Lee Samowitz in a respectable primary showing and the next year running for mayor in 1989. Ganim finished a surprising third in the primary. (Can you name his campaign manager that year? It was the Big Wave Chris Caruso who spent years in the State House and waged two close primaries for mayor in 2003 and 2007.)

Ganim continued to build coalitions toward winning the mayoralty in 1991 at 32 years of age, defeating Republican incumbent Mary Moran.

Lennie, Young Dems
Your OIB host,  center, flanked by young Dems from left Rowan Kane, City Council candidates Marcus Brown and Gage Frank, and Constance Vickers.


  1. If the members of the newly-formed Young Dems do their due diligence, go back to the history, involvement and members of the original Young Dems back in the ’70’s, 80’s, and follow the thread they will find a wealth of information. We were young, impressionable, smart, interested in local politics, and I don’t remember any of the originals looking for the “establishment” to lead us, or give us favor. We learned through trial and error, watched, listened, learned, and then went where our intentions and ambitions took us. There are many still around, and some still involved.
    My advice is to stay clear of the entrenched establishment, and at this time the only one that comes to mind is Mario Testo. He’s at the end of his reign of terror, and will pollute the field of newbies if allowed. Joey G. will not do that; fortunately for the new wave, Joey G. is still finding his way and I don’t think he’s interested in investing any political interference. He has a lot to share, he was a smart, energized, ambitious Mayor the first time around: it’s still in there some where. Stay away from Testo, he’s evil!!!!!

  2. First of all,it is very encouraging to see the real or perceived “re-emergence” of Young Democrats.I have seen the emergence of Young Bridgeporters(regardless of political affiliation) on social media and this is one thread of hope that I am hanging on to for Bridgeport. It would be also beneficial to Bridgeport if we saw the re-emergence of two-party politics/governance in Bridgeport. Are there any Young Republicans? Are there any Old Republicans. Considering the state of the Connecticut Republican Party(Suburbs thrive/Cities die) and the Trump/National Republican Party “factor,I find it difficult to see many residents of Bridgeport have any affinity with The Republican Party. As for the present DTC,Chairman Mario Testa and (Siamese Twin) Joe Ganim, I tend to be a revolutionary. They all need to go. Ganim and Testa have a unique relationship where each allow the other to own their own pet projects. Put them together and Bridgeport loses. Bridgeport is not the top priority for either Ganim or Testa. Both need to go.

  3. Can’t argue with your take Frank. I hope the newbies proceed with caution, most of them weren’t even born when Testo, and to a degree, Ganim started their shenanigans. These young people don’t stand a chance if they don’t stay together with established ground rules!

  4. I am sorry I missed this meeting as I was working on a campaign. I do expect to become a part of the Greater Bridgeport Young Democrats simply because I know most of the members.

    t was impressive that they allowed Mayor Ganim a platform. They are mostly an educated group of young people.
    I will not address any blogger in particular on this post. What I would say is something that doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand. Most anti – Ganim , anti – Testo folks were at one point entrenched in city politics and part of “The Machine” . I am a town committee member so therefore I am part of the “Machine.

    If I were running for any office in the city of Bridgeport , I would go to the most experienced person that could tech me the ropes. I would go to the main that understands the districts , understands elections and understands the entire process. I would go to the man that knows how to raise money. I would go to Mario Testa or Joe Ganim. We are talking about decades of life experience.

    If I were running for council in the city I would want to talk to the entire Town Committee. Introduce myself and sit down with those with experience. That is what I would do.

    If this group is imagining turning the Town Committee upside down- Than what? you become the machine that everyone talks about. Local politics is a process. We all get involved because we have a love and passion for this city. I am impressed and supportive of the new blood looking to get involved. They are smart and need to embrace the talent available. Whether you are an endorsed candidate or an outsider, there is the respect factor. There is the Democratic party in the city and you all should want to engage. When I look at the picture of members of the group I see seasoned veterans of the Democratic party.

    I am hoping this is not a contest of us against them. We are all Bridgeporter’s. .

    Young Democrats are a reminder of a group I belonged to many years ago. The NRV New Republican Voice for the 2 years I was a Republican — 2 years only. We helped elect a Mayor for 2 years. The Republic Party was a lame then as it is now. The NRV had the energy.I walked the entire city. Now a Democrat- staunch, I can not believe I still have the energy to do what I do. It is a love of Bridgeport.

    I think the Young Democrats as well as the Town Committee have something to offer. Many are deadbeats. Everybody knows who they are. . I am hoping to attend the next meeting. If there is a schedule , somebody please post.

    I am pleased the group is open to all candidates .I think the group should also invite Mario to speak. Pick his brain and learn.

    1. The last place to go is Testa or Ganim. And,according to Steve Auerbach,many Young Democrats are “deadbeats.”. I would regard all of this as BAD ADVICE.

  5. Steve I respect you and your comments, but you’re off track on this one. You don’t go back far enough to know or understand the history of what a TC like Testo has done and will do if he has a vulnerable audience. You don’t know or remember others (i.e. John Guman) who guided all Democrats with a clean and honorable agenda. there are more I can mention, but you surely won’t remember them. I have known Mario Testo before either of us entered the local political waters. It haunts me to have to admit I helped and promoted his reign. It also haunts me to have such mental clarity as to what he has done to innocent candidates with the potential to make a difference in this City. This new insurgence scares the hell out of him. If they remain independent, respectful, and follow their path with determination they will accomplish their goals. If they buy into a paper tiger’s last attempt to hang on, they are going down and will have to start all over again after learning a lesson that is unnecessary at this point. I happen to personally like you so I’m going easy. You are a smart, mature man, but you’re over your head on this one. If you truly care about the next generation of local politicians, guide them to embrace open, transparent politics. The days of back-room deals are over, Mario just hasn’t realized that yet. At some time in the future, you may find yourself in a position to run for a real elected office. My words will come back to you.

  6. Lisa, Thank you for your insight. I am not naive. You must be haunted daily. You have been part of the machine for many years and have been a right hand of Mayor Bucci and Fabrizi and Ganim. You have been a staunch supporter of Ganim even on is last run.

    It seems you have been a staunch supporter and ally until this last run for town committee.

    I am only suggesting that people learn from a seasoned political leader. Mario Testa is respected among his peers.

    I am not suggesting anything other than college educated novices in the political arena learn from a man that has decades of experience. Being the head of a political party is not an easy job when everyone has demands and personalities and requests. Someone is always bound to get pissed.

    1. Steve you are more of a seasoned politician because you followed your preferences without compromise. That’s why I urge you engage with them, share you experiences, the ones that worked out, and the ones that didn’t. We all know the drill. You’re heart is in the right place, counsel the newbies. Don’t let your experiences and knowledge be for naught.

  7. Go learn from those who know how to raise money? Is that the magic, Steve?

    What if money comes in from those who wish to hold onto their jobs provided on the public payroll? What if it comes in from contractors from other parts of the state or out of state? Whose economic development are they paying for when they neither reside nor have any other stake in the City? What if corners are cut in the purchasing process, calling for unique skills or an “emergency” that is genuinely not urgent?

    If it is difficult to get the Mayor to speak to issues, these days, why should the behavioral model, the “go-to” guy for learning and results, be someone who is even less inclined to address all of the people all of the time? Is it time for factual statements about where we are as a City? And those statements carried to door steps throughout the districts with pictures symbolizing how the few are taking advantage of the many in the City….poor education, economic development without real jobs, fear creation and budgets that are never really cut, though credit is taken for “stop raising taxes” and “100 jobs cut”…..Hyperbole and hypocrisy walk hand in hand locally? Campaign money for Bridgeport? Time will tell.

  8. I’m completely off topic, but I have to say hi to Andy Fardy and that I miss you and the laughs you provide. Hope all is well, come back, even if it’s a one-liner!

  9. If you need money to run a aldermanic primary you are either clueless or lazy.
    All that it takes is knocking on doors. The moore the merrier.
    Plan on greeting every voter in the district at least once. When you are done, do it again.
    Ask all of your friends who have friends in the district to drop a post card asking them to vote for you. No fancy mailer just one-on-one communications.
    If it rains some days, call into the high raisers that are in the district.
    Get to work and don’t call it quits until ten after 8:00 on primary day.
    Its a great experience. Live it!

    1. Bubba I offered my help to the candidates running in the 132nd district. I plan on a second meeting with them and I intend to suggest to them exactly what they must do to win. I’m also willing to commit my efforts. I wasn’t planning to spend my Summer in another campaign, but I feel this is important, Marcus and Kyle have potential, they appear to be honest and not looking for anything if they are elected, so I’ll give it a try. However, if I glean outside interference or anything short of what we’ve done and given to the 132nd district, I’m out.


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