Former Mayor Joe Ganim will report roughly $223,000 raised in his first quarter as a candidate seeking a comeback against a mightily financed incumbent Bill Finch. Most of Ganim’s campaign cash was raised in the last two months.
A near quarter of a million is an impressive haul for a pol trying to return to office following conviction on federal corruption charges in 2003. Ganim, as mayor, never raised that much money in one quarter. In actuality, he never had to raise beyond what was necessary to achieve nearly or at 80 percent of the vote against the Republican challenger in four November reelection campaigns in the 1990s. Ganim never had a primary as an incumbent.
But this is a different time and different era as Ganim tries to persuade voters to fire Finch and return him to office, a case all opponents must make against an incumbent. Finch, who’s been raising money for a few years, has amassed $515,000. This expected September Democratic primary will break records for spending.
Ganim did not officially enter the race for the city’s top position until early May after raising more than $50,000 in one night in an exploratory phase for mayor in April.
It further means Ganim, with more than two months to go to the primary, if he qualifies for the ballot will likely spend $300,000 in a compressed period of time. The fundraising strength also provides him a talking point for the few uncommitted Democratic Town Committee members he’s trying to persuade to his side for the July 21 party endorsement.
Finch, as the incumbent, should have an edge going into the endorsement session.
Candidates for mayor will file this week financial reports for the quarter ending June 30. Finch’s 2011 primary opponent Mary-Jane Foster, school board member Howard Gardner and multiple mayoral candidate Charlie Coviello are also candidates.
Ganim’s candidate committee fundraising by the numbers, according to the campaign:
– 629 total donors
– Received Small Business Advertising Book Proceeds from 60 donors (45 within Bridgeport)
– Two-thirds of donations (420 donors) were grassroots contributions of $100 or less
– Over half of all contributions were from Bridgeport residents
– 44% of contributions were from surrounding towns within 10 miles of Bridgeport
“I am humbled and grateful for the confidence residents and small business owners of Bridgeport have in me with their show of contributions and support since I announced my run for Mayor in late April. We can feel the momentum, and I am confident we will have the resources and support we need to come out on top in the September 16th Democratic Primary.
“This election is about the future of Bridgeport, and who is best equipped to tackle the major challenges we face. I speak with the people of Bridgeport each and every day, and the overwhelming sentiment is that the city is in neutral or worse. I look forward to having more conversations with voters about how we can improve quality of life and, as Mayor, how I can build consensus among our city’s leaders to get Bridgeport moving again. It’s time we build a Bridgeport that works for everyone.”
The Finch campaign for certain will remind voters this race is also very much about the past. Finch will conduct a campaign rally Wednesday night at Captain’s Cove Seaport.
Statement from Finch Campaign Manager Maryli Secrest:
“This isn’t surprising: Joe Ganim never had trouble raising campaign cash–legally or illegally.
“But Joe Ganim does have a problem with greed, corruption, mismanagement, criminal activity, and seeking illegal campaign contributions–all at the expense of hardworking Bridgeporters.
“We remain confident that on Election Day, voters will draw the same conclusion that the jurors did: Joe Ganim is a criminal who doesn’t belong in the Bridgeport mayor’s office.”