Ganim To Explore Long-Shot Run For Governor

Ganim on Face The State.
Ganim on Face The State.

Eager for another shot at the governor’s office, one he thought was his time until derailed by a public corruption conviction in 2003, Mayor Joe Ganim on Friday filed exploratory papers for a statewide run. He ran for governor in 1994 and ended up the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor when Bill Curry lost to Republican John Rowland.

Ganim issued this statement Friday afternoon:

“I look forward to the opportunity to talk with people all across Connecticut about our future and how we can work together to make this a better place to live, work and raise our families,” said Mayor Ganim. “I look to bring a sense  of optimistic, creative leadership that can restore the strength of our cities as engines that can drive a better economy that benefits all of Connecticut. I look forward to having  conversations with the people throughout our state in the coming weeks and months about how we move forward together.”

Ganim made a remarkable comeback to the mayoralty in 2015 defeating incumbent Bill Finch in a close Democratic primary on his way to a convincing general election win harnessing a second-chance message.

Although just back in office 16 months it still eats away at Ganim that he’d have likely been the Democratic candidate for governor in 2002 if not for the federal investigation. He also sees a potential field of gubernatorial candidates that thus far, to him anyway, is unimpressive. Governor Dan Malloy’s recent announcement that he’ll not seek reelection changes the Democratic landscape.

Ganim, Wyman
Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, center, looking at Ganim at ceremony marking 30th anniversary of L’Ambiance construction tragedy. Is anyone looking at Joe as viable?

To Ganim’s way of thinking he has a free run. If he fails at a statewide run in 2018, he’s still mayor with about $200K already banked for a 2019 mayoral reelection. But running for statewide office is a different animal than Ganim’s historic comeback on a local level with a Connecticut electorate not nearly intimate as city voters. He will face many questions about his history that requires more progress in the city to overcome suspicion. But this is Joe Ganim and he shoots high irrespective of the odds. It’s something he must get out of his system.

For city voters who brought him back and may feel betrayed by Ganim’s seeking statewide office he has this message, “I can do a lot more good for Bridgeport from that position,” as he told the Connecticut Post.

A big question for Ganim remains, will he be able to participate in the state’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded races? The state legislature passed a law four years ago prohibiting office-related felons from participation. Ganim has asked the State Elections Enforcement Commission for clarification on the law.

Arnold Skretta, an elections lawyer representing Ganim, asserts there are constitutional issues such as unfairly applying the law retroactively to Ganim following his conviction on federal corruption charges in 2003. Courts generally disfavor laws applied retroactively.

Ganim’s lawyer argues if the state wants clean elections then it would require–not ban–the participation of individuals like Ganim and others similarly situated.

If the SEEC rejects Ganim’s argument, he may run into court to seek relief on constitutional grounds. He is in the process of interviewing lawyers for such an effort.

Meanwhile formation of an exploratory committee allows him to raise money with a maximum personal contribution of $375. If the SEEC staff and commission rule in his favor he could roll that money into a full-blown candidate committee, but only donations of $100 and less could apply to qualify for a major public grant.

If Ganim is blocked out both by the SEEC and court efforts he still has the option of raising money the old-fashioned way with large dollar donations, but that would undercut his second-chance narrative rejecting dark-money donations.

Ganim is a relentless retail politician. Will his second-chance message translate beyond Bridgeport? It’s a very high bar. But one possible scenario could be a large primary field in which Ganim galvanizes urban voters to a second-chance message. Given that chance, would unaffiliated voters feel the same in a general election?

Still to be heard from, however, is Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman. Will she jump in?

The Republican side is also loaded with candidates.

In a Thursday evening taping of the Face The State, hosted by Dennie House, to air Sunday morning, Ganim announced his exploratory run. From House:

During the taping, Ganim called the budget situation in our state “depressing,” and told us he believes as mayor of the state’s largest city he is uniquely qualified to be governor, because he has balanced budgets without tax hikes.

“At this point, I’m gonna get out there and explore it as an opportunity to provide, I hope, maybe an opportunity for public service on the state level.”

“Filing allows us to begin the process of looking for financial support, be in the process, and as we go–that’s why I thought it was important to do that now.”

Ganim’s hometown was very forgiving, and the mayor hopes the rest of the state will feel the same way.

“We will find out how pervasive the concept of second chance is … I think that’s what Connecticut is about.”



  1. Delusional is Joe thinking he can will the governor’s seat 2018. Was he delusional to think he could win back the office of Mayor in Bridgeport? Was it delusional for Trump to think he could win the US Presidency?

    If Joe wins the ability to participate in the Citizens Election Program, He won.

    The only thing he can run on is a second chance initiative in 2018.

    Taxes,Crime,Corruption, and development are not going to be in he favor, not even the demonization of Malloy the others Democrats who will run for Malloy’s seat, to extent.

    If anythings he gets his name out there and dips his toe in the water and with a turn around in Bridgeport, meaningful development achievements that he can call his own and tax decrease for the city, 2022 is not that delusional.

      1. Trump did fairly well in Connecticut, and Malloy has not did the Democrats any favors. Him not seeking reelection is going to give a lot of people pause on the Democratic party in 2018 coupled with the state of the state. Delusional TWT

  2. I predict a citizen of Bridgeport, not Easton, may well be the next Governor. Thank God the people of Ct. aren’t as stupid as the citizens of Bridgeport so this crook and Mario will spin in the history of a corrupt city.

    1. Could there possibly be a Republican out there, or an Independent with the correct talents, skills, and integrity to meet the needs of the State this time around? Why pay attention to “second chance” candidates who would be working on their third or more opportunity for significance? Can’t trust because they refuse to verify what they say? Time will tell.

    1. And then Tom McCarthy would get to serve? Check the radar. Will that change result in more Open, Accountable, Transparent and Honest governance in the City? Time will tell.

    2. Trumbull needs a full-time First Selectman. If Tim Herbst wants to run for Governor he should resign.

      Let both of them resign and make both municipality’s population happy!

  3. I fully expect a cadre of OIB posters to work tirelessly to help mayor Joe Ganim to become the governor of Connecticut so that Bridgeport can become great again.

  4. The way I see it, Joe should run, promote the city and his second chance initiative. Something Malloy and most Democrats and probably Republicans as well supported.

    Paint a positive position during the campaign and in the debates. Than make a conciliatory withdraw after evaluating the campaign and endorse the likely Democrat nominee. He comes out like the winner by backing the winning Democrats party’s nominee and unite against Republicans. (And pray the Republicans win) See you in 2022.

    If the Democrat’s win he is seen as helping the party’s nomination win. Which can amount to having a better standing in Hartford? BAM I AM OUT 🙂

  5. Hey Joe,
    The budget situation in our city is depressing but maybe you can’t see that from Easton.
    Clean up your own house before you go looking to move.
    Or maybe you are just getting out of town quick before it’s too late.

  6. Joe Ganim is delusional if he really believes he has a chance at the Governor’s mansion. This is an exercise in banking campaign funds for another run at the mayor’s office. For the rest of us that translates into another four years of inertia and intransigence.

    The city is still swamped with litter, street gangs, drugs and a number of other social ills. The mayor ought to clean up the mess as he promised to before considering other employment.

  7. Joey G. is a master of perception. He has brass ones, I have to give him that. He knows any press is good even if it’s bad. He’s keeping his name out there, raising money, staying below the radar, and at some point he’ll see where all this takes him. He knows he won’t be governor, he also knows he will have a difficult time if he chooses to run for his present office, he’s posturing and having fun doing it. So all my fellow bloggers, don’t put too much brain power into your comments, this is what he wants.

  8. Bridgeport voters have three basic requirements for a mayoral cassndidate:

    1. They must be a democrat
    2. They must be a democrat
    3. They must be a democrat

    Connecticut residents outside of Bridgeport will find the Joe Ganim story repulsive. Sixteen felony convictions, lying under oath, etc. Has Ganim admitted guilt yet for the felony crimes he was convicted of? (No, he has not)
    Hearst publications has plenty about Ganim’s fall from grace in their archives.

  9. Tom White,

    Seriously? Joe Ganim is Mayor. You are talking about his admitting guilt. Has Donald Trump released his taxes like he promised? Is Russia not the biggest scandal going? He became President. I don not think it is such a stretch to imagine Joe Ganim achieving higher office. What I do find strange is while most people are standing still and still knocking him, he is still moving forward. Win or loose he is moving forward with his life agenda. He is not wasting his energy putting obstacles in anyone else’s way.

    If Steelepointe moves forward and the downtown theaters get renovated that will be a home run.
    Ganim’s latest PR piece promoting Downtown and the arena is good for the city and driving by Brewport at 4:30 today, it was packed. So it appears only in Bridgeport will be another 2-3 years of “We hate Joe”? What a waste of energy. It certainly will be a very interesting debate and hoping for Joe to fail is just sad on every level.

      1. Steve,
        Have you been teaching Civics subject matter in any of your substitution activity in Bridgeport schools? If so, then what you mean is that Joe Ganim was found guilty of using his position to benefit himself personally on multiple occasions at the expense of folks who wished a favor or more. When he made his bad choices, the people who elected him were not in his mind. And I have found it difficult to find in Joe Ganim’s words since that time any acknowledgement of remorse for the people of the City or a focus on owing those who are part of Bridgeport today, a better showing with full integrity and verification at every step of his administration. Ed Adams, former FBI investigator, who now wears a banner all year round declaring an era of Open, Accountable and Transparent, yet the behavior does not rise to the level of the personal promotion. It is why we continue to ask questions, Steve, as well as to wonder why you are so easily satisfied? Don’t you teach young people that they need to learn about subjects like conflicts of interest, balanced budgets, checks and balance withing governance structures, etc.? And if they see other behavior, isn’t it time to ask questions and expect answers? Time will tell.

    1. Steve, Steve, Steve, we all know that you are the biggest cheerleader for Bridgeport on OIB but please don’t mix whoever is the mayor with being up on Bridgeport.

    1. Tom , I just re- read my comment. I do not feel that anything I said went beyond my typical positive spin.

      If my comment can bring you a Donald Day closer- well then I am a miracle worker.

      Fact 1- I have nothing positive to say about Donald Trump and will not until he is impeached for treason.

      Fact 2- Joe Ganim went to jail. Paid the price by being confined for a long period of time. He was released and was given a second chance. It is not a stretch to see him run for Governor. Win or defeat he has put his intentions out there. Don’t think he is a worthy candidate, don’t vote for him. Nothing I stated was an attack on you. It was merely stating the obvious in the world as I see it. I certainly do not use any of the commentery on OIB to formulate my opinions.

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