Ganim Declared Unofficial Winner, Backed by Absentee Ballots, Over Insurgent Moore

Ganim, surrounded by supporters, Tuesday night.

What a crazy night. The Democratic establishment’s vaunted absentee ballot operation has rescued Mayor Joe Ganim, according to unofficial results.

Returns show State Senator Marilyn Moore winning the machine count citywide by roughly 350 votes including victories in a number of precincts over incumbent Ganim such as Black Rock, West Side, West End and North End. But Ganim won the absentee ballot count 923 to 303. Democratic Registrar Sandi Ayala has declared Ganim the unofficial winner by roughly 250 votes.

Above, partial list of the unofficial machine totals without absentee ballots

Unofficial results, including absentee ballots: Ganim 5,269 votes and Moore with 5,021.

Moore Tuesday night addresses supporters in the Bijou Theater. Photo: Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

Moore won in unexpected places including West End precincts where Ganim was expected to run strong such as Aquaculture and Batalla. Ganim won a number of East Side precincts but not nearly by the amount expected.

In the end it was the legendary absentee ballot operation by the city’s Democratic organization that provided a safety net for Ganim aided by political warriors City Clerk Lydia Martinez, and district leaders Wanda Geter-Pataky, Ralph Ford, Steve Nelson and others.

Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa is engulfed by political operatives after announcing absentee ballots put Ganim over the top.

The early somber mood at Testo’s Restaurant, as a result of the machine count totals, exploded into exhilaration at 9:15 when Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa announced the numbers that put Ganim over the top unofficially.

“Four more years for Bridgeport progress,” Ganim thundered to hundreds in the Testo’s ballroom.

Ganim supporters, including many city employees swarmed Ganim in the ballroom in a mega sigh of relief.

Moore, outspent heavily, provided a scare. Could the unofficial win end up in court?

Late Tuesday afternoon the Office of the Connecticut Secretary of State announced Moore had failed to qualify for an expected November ballot spot on the Connecticut Working Families Party line, as well as a petitioning candidate, apparently coming up short in the number of petition signatures required to make the ballot.

This adds another chapter to the surreal episode that is Bridgeport politics, a city that rarely disappoints for its twists and turns that can cause whiplash.

Stay tuned on that front.

Testa didn’t waste any time addressing the crowd in his restaurant ballroom, thanking the party apparatus that’s the mother’s milk of protection when his candidates are in jeopardy of winning. The town chairman, fearing a machine count loss, had urged political operatives to bank as many absentee votes as possible. In the end, they were needed to put Ganim over the top.

Why so close? Ganim political operatives, even prior to disclosure of the vote tallies, shared a recurring theme they heard on the Ganim trail: after voters gave Ganim a second chance four years ago in his remarkable return to the mayoralty following his 2003 conviction on public corruption charges, he dared to run for governor. Many voters felt betrayed after giving him a second chance, coupled by Moore’s legislative profile in higher-turnout areas.

In addition, voters did not experience the city progress the past four years Ganim exhibited in his first tenure as mayor from 1991 to April 2003.

Ganim supporters, musing the result over cocktails in Testo’s bar, said City Councilwoman Mary McBride-Lee’s assertion that Moore wasn’t black enough for her support had thrown a verbal grenade into the final days of the race that turned off voters.

For the most part the city’s African American vote was essentially split between Ganim and Moore judging by the results at Dunbar, Hallen and Wilbur Cross with many black females breaking for Moore in the final days following the controversial remarks.

Dunbar School, in the East End, was a significant battle ground precinct. Ford, the East End district leader, played a significant role keeping that neighborhood vote close for Ganim as the tide was breaking for Moore.

More to come about the potential legal machinations regarding Moore’s path to a general election line.

Outgoing Board of Education member Maria Pereira and her running mate Samia Suliman defeated City Council incumbents Nessah Smith and Karen Jackson in the Upper East Side 138th District.

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66 comments

          1. It looks like Moore lost the machine count in the 138th by 42 votes not counting the ABs which she lost 3 to 1. Moore’s total ABs was 303 and I doubt much of them were from the 138th. If Maria secured 100 ABs as she has stated…

    1. donj,
      It does not make sense, does it? What are the folks who come to the polls, reading, seeing and hearing that moves them from the comfort of home to vote? And in such numbers that those who do not have jobs, who do not see progress, who hold Ganim responsible for failure to provide accountability for BOE spending and subsequent funding, and for racist rhetoric favoring his campaign, and who have property that was extraordinarily taxed for the “second chance” “returning citizen”, etc. are in the majority? Emotional energy that change is needed in governance? Pursuit of a candidate and slate with integrity? That the DTC has been in control too long without speaking to the people with a plan, policies, etc, just ignoring them? And more?

      “Line B was Moore and change. Why settle for less?”. Who is the reliable counter culture AB population that reliably contradicts the active, working, driving, taxpaying majority that rejects Ganim2? What do they see? OIB, CT Post, or Channel 12?? What do they read to become informed? Are lectures held in multiple languages to provide facts and figures for their benefit? How much is spent in resources and time contacting, nursing, and funding the consistent AB voter by Bridgeport DTC (and spare time of City employed loyalists) to keep senior, infirm, including non-readers as a body of “voters” to swing elections and provide winning results? If signing a form and getting it to a campaign contact person is all that is needed to tilt results in DTC favor, why don’t we all WRITE IN MM for MARILYN?? Level the Playing field. How did Waterbury do it? The energy is present in the City, isn’t it? Time will tell.

    1. donj, I have serious issues with my back that make it difficult for me to stand for any period of time. so I pretty much have to vote by absentee ballot. if there was some way for me to walk into my polling place and cut the line, so to speak, to be able to vote, I would gladly do it

      1. @lisawhite………………..
        We have voting from your car allowed in CT, precisely for people with medical issues as yourself.
        In 2018, I worked as Asst Registrar of Voters in D2 Trumbull Poll. A number of times during that rainy day the Republican Asst Registrar and myself went out to a car so a mobility restricted voter could cast their ballot without struggling to come inside and wait in line.

        1. I would love to be able to vote from my car…BUT this is Bridgeport. I have no expectations that someone would not be watching over my shoulder as I filled out my ballot or that my ballot would even make it to the scanner.

  1. An african american women was robbed of an election tonight by white men so sad. sad day for our city. We won by hundreds of votes at the polls. They always say black women face a lot of obstacles in tis country and this just proves it. Fight it in court. When voters don’t feel like there ballots count its a problem. the voters did not speak today.

    1. Don,this sn’t a black and white thing,please don’t suggest it.This is Mario manipulating the AB’s as usual.No matter who ran against Joe,there is no way they could of have beat him.What Mario does to our city elections year after year is criminal,yet no one on the state or federal level does a goddam thing about it.

      1. It really was a black women worked her butt off and won on the machines at the polling places to lose on shady absentee ballots. As a black person looking at it it feels that way we always have to work harder to achieve and even when we do road blocks are but up.

    1. same here I want to know when is the fbi going to step in? People are being disenfranchised In bridgeport. no way in hell 20% of the todays voters could not make it to the polls that’s why they voted absentee. Fbi needs to look into this asap!!

  2. He lost precinct from the north end to the east end all the way to black rock and loses the the machine vote at the polls by 100’s of vote and you want me to believe he won this election fairly hahahah yea ok!!!

    1. Mary, if you’re a democrat trying to get elected on the state level,you need Mario to deliver Bpt for you, it’s an important stronghold. You start questioning Mario and looking into his way of doing things, you risk losing Bpt.Merrill just sits back and doesn’t want to cause any waves.

    2. @Mary Filo
      Denise Merrill’s office can only rule on the petition signature pages certified and sent to them by the Clerk’s office at City Hall.
      Moore’s campaign refers to 20 pages of signatures collected, but only 14 pages were certified and sent to Hartford.
      It remains to be seen if:
      1. Did the Moore campaign submit all 20 pages to the clerk at City Hall?
      2. Did the clerk lose/misplace or hold back 6 pages?

      1. Marshall,I think the bigger issue is Moore saying her staff was ‘turning their office upside down looking for the receipts of what they turned in”,then saying “I might have taken the receipts home,”i’ll have to search there too”…I mean,those signatures are a very important part of her campaign,how in hell can’t they find them in a second??..Ponderous..

  3. There isn’t one person that posts on OIB and probably none that reads OIB that didn’t think or know that this election was going to turn on AB’s. I’m in agreement with Harvey that this isn’t a race issue it’s what every democratic Mayor does for every election when they need to win. It’s a damn shame, but it’s how Mario wins elections and everyone in the City and State knows it’s being done.

  4. Is the Moore campaign incompetent or did she really think she had the WFP locked up? I mean, that seems like it should have been high on the list of things to be undeniable going into the primary. She’s had weeks and months to make this happen. She seems disinterested and maybe this proves it?

    1. Peter Slywka, where the hell did you get that mindset from? Why is it just now that the Secretary Of State is informing Moore that she didn’t have enough sign? You seem to forget Bridgeport past history about ABs.

      1. I mean seriously, you are behind the 8 ball, challenging a known felon and you are surprised by corruption? They should have had 500 signatures, video footage of each signature and video footage of them counting them and then handing them directly to the clerk. Nobody should be surprised.

  5. 1 in ever 4 of ganim votes was an absentee ballot smh how is that being looked in by the fbi!!!!! it just doesn’t make sense he lost at the polls by hundreds of votes. 25 percent of his total votes are absentees that’s nuts!!! He is not my mayor!!! The people at the polls voted him out!!! by the hundreds take this to court mayor moore!!!

  6. Ron,
    Thanks for taking note that in some places our own home grown Bridgeport talent is up to a momentous task of unseating an incumbent. Gage Frank, congratulations. Time did tell about all of the learning that got applied in a nearby City: in your case, in favor of a male challenging the incumbent female. Any issues of race in New Haven get raised, I wonder, since we have seen that Southern CT does not seem to be fully “post racial” at this moment. Time will tell.

    1. JML, think about this, Hartford and New Haven have both have had a black woman for mayor and black male, both cities have had black and Hispanic police chief and fire chief, Hartford has also had a Hispanic mayor but Bridgeport has never had a black or Hispanic mayor or a black or Hispanic fire chief. What the hell is wrong with this picture?

      1. One might say that these are statistical exceptions that prove the rule? Or one might say that the differences are too significant to represent mere chance.
        And then you would begin to look at underlying factors in the actual running of elections, as well as the extent of racism and antiracism that exists in a community. Non-racism is a null category, that people should not but often do retreat to by saying that they are not involved. That is a great place to start the antiracism explanation in libraries, churches, social groups, and educational settings. Can we grow up. Sit still for a moment. Tell our story and listen to those of multiple others. Where does biological science support a conclusion that the color of a person’s skin is an indicator of ability, inner quality, or a human hierarchy? Isn’t this equality belief one part of what really makes America great? Time will tell.

  7. Not about black or white. It’s about due diligence and signatures. Which should have been immediately accessible. Anyone who says they need to tear their office apart or go home and search for that receipt- has alot of deep ambivalence about this role.

    1. stevenl, my comment was not about this primary and race, it was a factual comment to JML about about the three largest cities in Connecticut and how far behind Bridgeport is comparable to New Haven and Hartford.

      1. Joel, as of last night, she had no idea where the receipt for all the singnatures she turned in was. Honestly, I think she’s perfectly happy going back to her job in Hartford.

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