Edging closer to a formal declaration for governor, Mayor Joe Ganim on Saturday pitched members of the political action organization The Voices of Women of Color, stressing cities as the economic drivers to build a “new Connecticut economy.”
Ganim feels buoyed by Lieutenant Governor Nancy’s Wyman’s announcement she’ll not run for the state’s highest office. There’s no clear front runner in the Democratic field, be it declared or in exploratory, that includes Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, former state commissioner Jonathan Harris, former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei and Ganim exploring a run. Former Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin are now contemplating their candidacies for governor as well.
In his pitch, see video above, Ganim emphasized cities as the rallying point both politically and governmentally. Ganim spoke in the Hartford home of Janice Flemming-Butler who founded The Voices of Women of Color.
“Can you come back beyond Bridgeport?” he wondered rhetorically to the group, a question raised often about his past.
Ganim said as a Democratic Party “We gotta get our act together” with a ticket that is geographically and ethnically balanced with cities as the energized epicenter for turnout.
He took a few swipes at Republican candidates collectively, some of them “small town mayors … walking around pretty cocky” about Republicans seizing control of the legislature and governor’s office next year. Some of those small town mayors include outgoing Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti. Bridgeport resident David Walker, the former U.S. comptroller general, is also a gubernatorial candidate.
Republicans in charge of Connecticut, said Ganim, is “death for me and my city.”
Ganim talked about his first tenure as mayor, his federal conviction and his comeback.
That 2003 conviction on federal corruption charges prohibits him from participating in the state’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded races. Qualifying candidates will spend roughly $1.4 million in a primary with the party nominees infused with $6.5 million for the general election.
Ganim is challenging the State Elections Enforcement Commission ruling in federal court. If the court rules against Ganim he’d have to raise money the old-fashioned way through big-dollar donations. Even if Ganim’s message resonates and he’s able to build coalitions to win an August 2018 Democratic primary, the next day his campaign treasury would be zeroed out and the Republican nominee would instantly have $6.5 million to spend through election day. He’d be raising money again while the Republican spends in earnest, a fragile narrative for winning a general election.
Ganim introduced several city officials at the event, including blight czar Tom Coble, a long-time city political operative who backed his 2015 comeback bid. Ganim is eyeing a formal declaration for statewide office in January while his public money federal court challenge plays out.