Gimme Me All Ya Got–The Push In Mayoral Primary Between Ganim And Moore

In the old days it was a final telephone call on a land line (what’s that?) to help close out the message for a vote. Phone calls still matter if electors answer. “Just leave a message, maybe I’ll call (back).”

Still, nothing like a knock on the door to sway a vote but that requires extraordinary amounts of footwork on behalf of candidates. And then, there’s consultants, mail pieces, canvassers, television, radio, newspapers, pain-in-the ass stick-up operatives stalking a payday, as well as the newfangled social media and political news sites (holding off the political dinosaur’s cry … I’m still relevant).

When it comes to a blood-sucking political win, what ultimately matters?

All of the above led by MOM–money, organization and message–which usually delivers victory.

Bridgeport’s Democratic primary for mayor has now entered the ore zone, the vein (or is it bane?) of existence.

If you’re involved in the gut of a campaign operation, in the final days it’s gimme me all ya got.

And that’s where we stand with Mayor Joe Ganim trying to hold off insurgent State Senator Marilyn Moore.

The beauty of social media is controlling your own message to supporters and potential outlier voters, something both Ganim and Moore convey in video messages above from their respective Facebook pages.

Meanwhile, Moore has received the endorsement of the Connecticut Post which also did not endorse Ganim four years ago.

So strap in for the final days of the September 10 primary for mayor.



  1. This is a new low the administration and status quo has sunk to in its desparation. The reporter should have asked, Just what is it about Joe Ganim a white Felon who squandered his second chance more identifiable to people of color? This is race baiting politics at its worst and similar to what Barack Obama faces from his detractors. Think about who said what when you vote.

      1. BRIDGEPORT — As the city last week mourned the death of Charlie Tisdale, its first black mayoral candidate, one community leader accused Marilyn Moore — who is campaigning to become Bridgeport’s first African American chief executive — of not being black enough.

        “If she was really black I probably would support her,” Councilwoman Rev. Mary McBride-Lee told Hearst Connecticut Media last Thursday as she helped Mayor Joe Ganim knock on North End doors and campaign for re-election. “I think, sometimes, she forgets she’s black. I really do.”

        Ganim and Moore will face-off Tuesday in the Democratic Party’s primary.

        McBride-Lee’s comments shocked Moore.

        “What do I have to be? What do I have to look like? I’m as dark as dark can get,” Moore said. “That comment is degrading to black people and it’s insulting.”

        Moore said that unlike McBride-Lee, who often dresses in colorful African clothing, “I don’t need to wear it to show I’m black. I know who I am.”

        McBride-Lee elaborated that she does not believe Moore — a state senator who represents the North End, Black Rock and the West Side, along with Monroe and Trumbull — has been involved enough with or done anything substantive for “our community.”

        “If she were friendly and I thought she cared I’d go for her, because we’d make history in Bridgeport,” McBride-Lee said.

        Moore admitted that “my (state Senate) constituency is mostly white.” But she also touted the shelves full of awards she has received from various black organizations for community service.

        “I’m one of the most influential black women in Connecticut. I’m on two national organizations for black women legislators,” Moore said. “What else could I do?”

        Still, McBride-Lee’s criticism sheds light on one of Moore’s challenges as she takes on Ganim — overcoming divisions among black residents, who represent 35 percent of Bridgeport’s population, to help achieve the electoral victory denied Tisdale, one of Moore’s mentors, in 1983.

        Ganim’s campaign, for example, last week announced he was endorsed by a dozen minority female pastors, McBride-Lee included.

        Told about McBride-Lee’s comments of Moore, George Mintz, head of the Bridgeport NAACP, said, “So they’re going there?”

        Mintz said he was aware of similar behind-the-scenes criticism of Moore by some in the black community but was unsure if it would go public. He said he was troubled by Lee questioning if Moore is “really black” but also acknowledged, “The communities of color don’t know her. And that’s her biggest challenge.”

        Suburban versus urban

        Ralph Ford, a black political leader in the East End, said Moore, who has a reputation as being independent of the city’s Democratic movers-and-shakers, did not do enough “to personally unite the black community behind her — to get black leadership behind her candidacy.”

        “It’s the same with the ministers,” Ford said. “Those are two key groups.”

        Moore said were she to try to tap into some of the existing Bridgeport power structure that “continues to perpetuate poverty and crime because they’re not doing anything to fight against it,” she would threaten to undermine her credibility with voters.

        “People would believe you’re gonna get the same old thing,” Moore said. “I have regular, everyday men and women, working-class people supporting me.” And, she recalled, when she ran and won her Senate race in 2014, some black leaders had refused to back her, arguing she could never win support from Trumbull’s and Monroe’s white voters.

        Although Moore proved those doubters wrong about suburban support, Ford said McBride-Lee was right that Moore has not had a presence “in the urban community.”

        “You don’t see her in the neighborhoods — at least the poorest,” Ford said. “That’s a problem. People don’t see you, they don’t know you.”

        Unlike Ganim, who, at least at campaign time, is a familiar face in inner-city neighborhoods, Moore has relied on surrogates like activist Tony Barr for aid when seeking votes outside of her legislative district.

        “We walked down East Main (Street), went into six or seven restaurants, they all knew him,” Moore told Hearst in early August.

        Ironically, Moore was born and raised in Bridgeport, while the mayor grew up in Easton.

        And Ganim has been criticized for only caring about urban areas while campaigning. That was one of the reasons State Rep. Charlie Stallworth, pastor of the East End Baptist Church and a one-time Ganim supporter, has stated he would not support the mayor’s re-election. Stallworth has also declined to endorse Moore.

        Moore has sent mixed messages about the significance of her candidacy. For example, she has recently described her campaign as an “Obama moment” — a reference to Barack Obama being elected president in 2008.

        But when asked by Hearst if she was referring to the possibility of making similar history in Bridgeport, Moore said no. She said she meant this mayoral race is an election “where people have somebody that’s different, that they can really believe in and come out and support.”

        And yet Moore also chose the symbolism of launching her candidacy on Martin Luther King Day in January, and in a recent interview said she promised Tisdale before his death on Aug. 25, “I’m going to do what you did for all of us.”

        Planning for a black mayor?

        Khalilah Brown-Dean, an associate professor of political science at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, spoke to Hearst on the subject. She recently wrote a book, “Identity Politics in the United States.”

        “Too often, we assume because people share some type of group identity that will mean people have the same political preferences,” Brown-Dean said. “People were excited in 2016 about the possibility of electing the first woman president (Hillary Clinton), but that alone is not enough to make people vote.”

        Told about McBride-Lee’s criticism of Moore, Brown-Dean said, “What it means to be an African American resident in Bridgeport is not monolithic. … There’s tremendous diversity that exists in black communities in Bridgeport and across this country.”

        Brown-Dean continued, “It’s highly inflammatory, problematic and wrong to suggest someone is not ‘black enough.’ … People questioned whether Barack Obama as a multi-racial man was black enough.”

        Shayla Nunnally, associate professor of political science and Africana Studies at the University of Connecticut, said while McBride-Lee’s comments “can be disappointing to hear” she believed the point was “not just anyone can have access to that major election in (Bridgeport) history. … That person who becomes the first black mayor, in (McBride-Lee’s) eyes, should be the one who fits and works the most in the interests of black constituents.”

        “I want to emphasize black constituents do not necessarily have monolithic interests … But, ideally, that candidate is able to reach across all of those intersections to help best represent that group,” Nunnally said.

        Mintz questioned whether this election “was the right moment … for a black to come forward as mayor” in Bridgeport.

        “Have we planned for this — having the leaders … sit down and talk as leaders in the black community (about whether) Marilyn Moore or whoever is the best thing for the black community?” Mintz said. “I don’t know if we’ve done that.”

        Moore said her philosophy has been, “You’ve got to be able to represent everybody.”

  2. “If she was really black I probably would support her,” Councilwoman Rev. Mary McBride-Lee told Hearst Connecticut Media last Thursday as she helped Mayor Joe Ganim knock on North End doors and campaign for re-election. “I think, sometimes, she forgets she’s black. I really do.” wow!!! As an African American voter and bridgeport resident I’m really hurt and surprised ganim would have people like this around his campaign. Now we have to prove our blackness? This campaign really turned ugly smh!!!

    1. I hope that many in Bridgeport will take an opportunity to read, reflect upon and discuss and then become ANTIRACISTs as provided in Ibram X. Kendi’s latest book HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST.
      In the context of that book, its message and our current days, Council Woman Mary Lee-McBride reveals herself to be a RACIST as she gives into the notion that the color of a person’s skin is determinative of who the person is. People of color have seen that card played too often, whether it is the pursuit of skin color light enough to pass as white at some times and places or skin color not black enough, meaning what?
      What comes through to me is a real gut fear from more than a few in Bridgeport that Marilyn Moore is an independent woman who is used to working for others, speaking her mind while listening to others, and looking for leadership opportunities where her spirit would not be crushed. As she has said, Bridgeport needs healing and that is something she is up to do.
      Where have women of color been in leadership and responsible positions in the community throughout the years? Churches, NAACP, parent-school organizations……..Real opportunities few and far between? Is it any reason that Moore’s journey has set her on a different path, a good path for younger folks to model certainly. As I have said before, she embraces the large community to presence in the tent, the table is large as well to attend and have your words heard, and finally, there are many chairs to welcome young and old, new residents and lifetime folks, and people who wish to see all neighbors be served fairly, efficiently, and with equal rights. Time will tell.

  3. The Ganim record:

    It’s reasonable to ask whether Ganim even wanted to be mayor. He had barely settled into his chair before he started a run for governor, a path he had laid out long before his corruption conviction. After convincing the city he deserved a second chance in Bridgeport, Ganim took the first opportunity available to seek higher office, eventually losing 168 of 169 towns to Ned Lamont in the 2018 Democratic primary.

    In Bridgeport, Ganim likes to claim more than a billion dollars of active investment in Bridgeport under his mayoralty, but, as mentioned, a large percentage of that predates his term in office. Another large chunk remains purely theoretical. He has unveiled plans to revive the historic Main Street theaters building and construct new apartment towers, but the financing has yet to develop. He has touted various casino projects, including a $675 million waterfront destination from MGM International, but there is little progress on that front. About the only tangible large-scale project that dates to his time in office is the remaking of the Ballpark at Harbor Yard into a musical amphitheater.

    The mayor has taken pride in his record on taxes, and there’s no question Bridgeport is in a difficult position for raising revenue, no matter who is in charge. There simply isn’t enough money to meet the city’s needs, leading to sky-high property taxes that discourage investment. Ganim, though, pushed through a small tax cut this year, cannily timed to his re-election effort.

    Ganim did not create the inequitable system under which he operates, but it is his responsibility to shepherd the city through it. Though he cut taxes this year, he raised them early in his term after a state-mandated revaluation process, with Ganim also blaming a deficit left over from his predecessor. But given the state of disarray Ganim himself left the city upon his conviction in 2003, that’s a difficult complaint to take seriously.

    Besides high taxes, Ganim also focused his 2015 campaign against Finch on crime. This is both understandable, given that crime is a persistent worry for Bridgeport residents, as well as deeply cynical. As a former mayor, Ganim knew well that mayors don’t singlehandedly fight crime. Rates of violence go up or down based on myriad factors, only a few of which are under an elected official’s control. And, as expected, crime has continued to fluctuate in the past four years, with some improvements along with some backsliding, much as happened under Finch. Ganim says his police department is doing the best it can; that seems a small comfort given the campaign he ran four years ago.

    It also brings up his greatest shortcoming of the past four years. The police department, which Ganim promised he could reform as mayor, has instead been rudderless, beset by one scandal after another. Led by Ganim’s longtime friend, Armando Perez, the police department has been utterly incapable of living up to its duties, with abuses, overreactions and unacceptable acts becoming regular features of life in the city. Perez has his strengths, but Ganim should never have hired him to be chief, and the city is paying a steep price for that mistake.

  4. On a side note I think Karen Jackson may be having some kind of breakdown.

    This morning my significant other was driving down Huntington Turnpike around 7:00 AM and Karen Jackson was standing on the corner of Evers Street & Huntington Turnpike holding one of her “Re-elect Nessah Smith & Karen Jackson ” lawn signs as drivers passed.

    In the FaithACTS for Charter $chools voter guide Karen Jackson what has been her greatest failure. She responded with ” Failure, My failures, I don’t have any. It hard to accomplish most goals when 75% of the council votes one way.”

    She has been publicly outed for the theft of at minimum $4,600 in taxpayer funds, but has no regrets.

    Next question. If elected, what will you do to improve education in Bridgeport?

    She responded with ” Other than voting against any budget that doesn’t fund the schools at least 75%. If 10 million dollars in matching funds can be found for the Seaview corridor to murder Remington woods 10 million can be found for the schools. Also the State Reps that have leisure to change the formula.”

    When Kyle Langan made a motion to shift $1.2 million from BPD police OT and another miscellaneous line item to the BOE she voted AGAINST it.

    Her grammar is atrocious and her commentary is nonsensical.

    Final question. Should Bridgeport schools receive more funding ? If so, from where in the CITY budget?

    She responded ” It goes w/o that they should receive more funding. So the push and lobbying must be at the state level.”

    Wasn’t the question about funding the public schools from the CITY budget?


  5. Now onto Nessah Smith’s whopper of a lie.

    The question was should Bridgeport schools receive more local funding? If so, from where in the CITY budget?

    Her blatant lie was as follows: ” We believe that Bridgeport schools should receive more funding for the children, being the largest city in Connecticut. The city recognizes this and has always given money to the BOE and will continue to do so. For this year the city first gave $16 M, plus some. (AN OUTRAGEOUS LIE). The budget committee has worked very hard to add an extra amount.

    Mayor Ganim has proposed 4 consecutive budgets without one additional $ for our 20,400 students. Nessah Smith voted to give the BOE ZERO in 2016, $387,000 in 2017, $1.1 million in 2018, and $1.3 million in 2019. Her response to this question is an ABSOLUTE lie.

  6. Republican Mayoral Candidate Dishon Francis wrote “to improve education in Bridgeport we need to have universal kindergarten…” Mr. Francis, kindergarten is REQUIRED by state law.

    1. Possibly, Mr. Francis meant to reference “pre-K”? And if forced to be more specific, he might have talked about the quality of the “pre-K” experience?
      Some potentially good news I heard from one school’s entering Kindergarten class, is that apparently the alphabet and sounds of those symbols is known to more young folks than in recent years. That allows instruction to move forward towards year end goals of preparing for first grade reading (and possibly may indicate an uptick in certain testing valuations? Time will tell.

    2. according to Connecticut requires its school districts to OFFER kindergarten.
      Connecticut does not REQUIRE students in those school districts to attend kindergarten

      there is a distinction between a mandate for offering kindergarten and a mandate that students must attend kindergarten

      my opinion is that most parents would want their children to attend kindergarten, especially if the child did not attend pre-k.

      1. Full day kindergarten is not required, however a minimum of half day kindergarten must be offered and children must attend.

        They can attend as early as 4 as long as they are 5 by January 1st. They may enroll in kindergarten at 4, 5, 6 or even seven years old. That decision is made by the parents

  7. Riding through my neighborhood I noticed alot of ganim signs on public side walk while Moore signs on private household property. Dont be suprise if Moore wins the black rock with 70% or more of the vote

  8. LMAO! Mayor Ganim ” East End” mailers featuring a photo of Mayor Ganim with Ernest Newton and Eneida Martinez dropped in the heart of the JFK precinct yesterday.
    Voters called me and I went over to pick them up this morning

      1. Donj, why would you ask for my opinion on anything when you have no respect for me?

        John Ricci bought and paid for me with his $1,000 donation afterall. 🙂

      2. Don, have you notice Maria never has anything to about any of Joe Ganim’s campaign mailings but she’ll run her mouth about things that Marilyn Moore mails out. John Ricci made the right move to help Joe Ganim to get reelected, he bought off Maria for $1000.00.

  9. Another Thomad Hooker voter who has made her disdain of Karen Jaxkson clear stopped at a light in front of Tony’s Huntington Inn this morning as Karen Jackson was standing holding her lawn sign.

    My friend looked over at her and Karen Jackson stuck out her tongue at her like a toddler.

  10. donj, Maya Angelou said, “when someone tells you who they are believe them.
    Maria said, “John Ricci bought and paid for me with his $1,000 donation afterall.


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