Mayor Joe Ganim by a 74-11 vote was endorsed Tuesday night at Testo’s Restaurant by the Democratic Town Committee over State Senator Marilyn Moore setting the stage for a likely September 10 primary. Moore’s campaign operation Wednesday morning will fan out across the city during a two-week window to secure signatures from five percent of registered Democrats in Bridgeport to qualify for a primary.
Ganim was placed into nomination by State Rep. Chris Rosario, an emerging leader in city politics, whom Ganim fired from his city job after winning the 2015 mayoralty over Rosario’s former boss Bill Finch.
Rosario credited his late friend State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago for bringing the two together to build a relationship. “He said give Joe a chance … I know the challenges (Ganim) faces … It’s been an honor to work with you and your staff. Let’s go … four more years of Joe.”
Ganim’s nomination was seconded by District Leaders Steve Nelson and Wanda Geter Pataky and former City Councilwoman Evette Brantley who was endorsed to return to her old seat in the West Side 132nd District.
The irrepressible Geter Pataky, a city employee who has a way of arousing a crowd, declared “Four years ago I worked hard for Bill Finch. Since then I have bonded with Joseph Peter Ganim. Joe Ganim has a genuine love for the people of Bridgeport … Four more years!”
Taking the microphone after his endorsement Ganim told cheering supporters “Are you with me for four more years? We will work every day to make the city the best we can be.”
Moore’s name was placed into nomination by Donna Curran, a town committee member from Black Rock.
“While this body is comprised of 90 members, its majority does not necessarily reflect the tens of thousands of registered Bridgeport voters and that’s why Senator Moore is here. This space is hers too. Our city government has been a closed, stifling room with stale air for decades … let us throw up the shades and open the windows wide.”
Joy Cline, a town committee member from Black Rock, seconded Moore’s nomination.
“Her 17 years of fighting breast cancer as president and CEO of the non-profit organization the Witness Project has saved thousands of lives providing women with preventative and curative breast health care and related resources. I have a particular appreciation for this critical work given my own diagnosis of breast cancer two years ago. While I was going through my own treatment Marilyn graciously took the time to check on me and encouraged me with my own battle with this disease.”
East Side City Councilman Ernie Newton, a town committee member, abstained from voting. He stood up and asserted “No one asked me for my support.” Newton and his council partner Eneida Martinez were endorsed by the East End district for another two years.
Town Clerk Charles “Don” Clemons and City Clerk Lydia Martinez were endorsed for another term, as were Dennis Scinto, Steve Nelson and Mitch Robles for city sheriff slots.
The Town Committee also endorsed incumbent Sybil Allen, school parent Albert Benejan and political newcomer Bobbi Brown for Board of Education. In the confusion of the evening, under the drone of roughly 150 people in Testo’s halved ballroom, a fourth name was placed into nomination, Deborah Bennett, in violation of the City Charter and state law. The party cannot endorse more candidates for which an elector may vote, in this case three. So party officials must sort that out. Update: Bennett’s name has been rescinded as an endorsed candidate.
Endorsed for City Council:
130, Matt McCarthy, Scott Burns
131, Denese Taylor-Moye, Jorge Cruz
132, Marcus Brown, Evette Brantley
133, Jeanette Herron, Michael DeFilippo
134, Michele Lyons, AmyMarie Vizzo Paniccia
135, Mary McBride Lee, Rosalina Roman-Christy
136, Alfredo Castillo, Maria Zambrano Viggiano
137, Aidee Nieves, Maria Valle
138, Nessah Smith, Karen Jackson
139, Ernie Newton, Eneida Maretinez
Tuesday’s endorsement while noisy at times was tame compared to the raucous party gathering four years ago when the town committee was split between Finch and Ganim who was seeking a return to the mayoralty following his 2003 conviction on federal corruption charges. Finch edged out the endorsement. The next day Ganim’s team hit the streets to secure signatures to qualify for a primary that Ganim won in historic fashion on his way to a general election victory.
Nothing really compares to the 1989 endorsement when a fight broke out between Mario Testa and Michael Rizzitelli. Check out video from 30 years ago.
While Democrats endorsed Ganim Tuesday night at Testo’s Restaurant, over at the Elks Lodge on Old Town Road Republicans tapped for mayor John Rodriguez, the GOP candidate for State Senate last year in the 23rd District. Will Republican announced candidates Ethan Book and Dishon Francis wage primaries?
Book wrote on his Facebook page:
A BUMP IN THE ROAD IN MY CAMPAIGN FOR MAYOR
At tonight’s meeting of the Bridgeport Republican Town Committee, another Candidate was endorsed as the party candidate for Mayor.
Not surprising was that there were anomalies in the process. I arrived early at the Elks Club (on Old Town Road) along with a supporter Dionne Taylor to greet members as they entered the Club. While we know that Chairman Mike Garrett has had the practice that only Committee members be able to attend meetings, or those especially invited, I was told that I would be able to enter the meeting when Garrett gave me the okay. I waited and waited. After 40 minutes, I hadn’t received any okay to enter. So I just went into the meeting area. They were doing nominations for City Council. At that point, they had already nominated and voted to endorse John Rodriguez as the Republican candidate for Mayor. It’s pretty hard for me to expect votes when I’m not even allowed to be present when the nominations and voting take place.
The question therefore remains of whether I should seek signatures for a primary election. I would need to collect 250 eligible signatures in about two weeks (or 300 signatures to include a margin for ineligible signers).
This also raises the question of the political implications of a possible three-way Republican primary (i.e., John Rodriguez, myself and the candidate of the alternate Valentino Republican Committee).
For all of this, I keep in mind that I am an anti-establishment Republican who is loyal to Republican values.
“Fighting for the heart and future of our great City.”