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If Ganim Runs, The Dynamic Changes–If Not, Advantage Finch

May 4th, 2011 · 43 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics

OIB reported on Tuesday the results of a public opinion poll conducted May 1 and May 2 by Merriman River Group www.merrimanriver.com that shows Mayor Bill Finch leading former Mayor Joe Ganim 42 percent to 37 percent in a head-to-head matchup of more than 500 likely Democratic voters. That same poll showed Finch leading Mary-Jane Foster, co-founder of the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball team, 45 percent to 30 percent. The mayor leads two other Democratic challengers John Gomes and Charlie Coviello by larger margins. What happens if all five candidates appear in a crowded Democratic primary? This, according to poll responses:

Five Candidates, Percentage

Ganim 34 percent

Finch 32 percent

Foster 15 percent

Gomes 4 percent

Coviello 2 percent

Other 2 percent

Unsure 10 percent

Total 100 percent

What if it’s a four-way race without Ganim?

Four Candidates, Percentage

Finch 44 percent

Foster 23 percent

Gomes 10 percent

Coviello 3 percent

Other 5 percent

Unsure 15 percent

Total 100 percent

Campaigns are a matter of matchups and Ganim’s presence dramatically alters the landscape. The poll’s findings show nostalgia exists for Ganim in the African American and Latino communities where he enjoys large support while Finch has much stronger support in the white community. They are evenly split along gender lines. Ganim’s performance in the African American and Latino communities holds firm in a head-to-head matchup or in a large field.

There was a sense in the political community, based on Ganim’s posturing in March, that he was positioning for a run. In fact, Finch supporters were gearing up for campaign warfare against the former mayor. In recent weeks, however, Ganim has been quiet leaving political observers to speculate he will not run. If Ganim stays out of the race the path to a Democratic primary win, and four more years, appears much clearer for Finch who opens up a 21 point lead against his next closest opponent, Foster, in a four-way race.

The data shows Foster performs best against Finch in the white community while Gomes performs best against Finch in the African American community. Coviello has trouble registering among all demographic groups.

Democratic voters say property taxes and jobs are the biggest issues. That’s why you hear Finch talking about the need to hold the line on taxes this year. A majority of voters appear to like Finch personally but aren’t happy with the direction of the city. So if Ganim stays out of the race Finch is in a much better position to play power of incumbency, continue raising campaign cash, trot out announcements, stay above the fray.

If none of Finch’s three announced opponents Foster, Gomes and Coviello can articulate a powerful need for change voters will likely reward Finch with four more years.

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43 Comments so far ↓

  • town committee

    I think this poll backs up what yahooy has been saying for weeks. The candidates have to somehow get their message out there. They have to tell the people what is really going on in this city.
    I realize this is a large task in a city with a half-assed newspaper and really no effective radio coverage.
    There are major issues that have come out of these budget hearings and yet not much has been said about the shell game being played by this administration.
    There are 5 months left before the primary, as yahooy said it’s time to get out there. This city definitely does not need another 4 years of this mayor and his clowns.

  • Up On Bridgeport

    What happens if the legislature does not allow Finch another moratorium of funding pensions and voters get a heavy tax increase?

  • Jimfox

    This is still America and everyone deserves a second chance.

    My opinion about Joe Ganim is if he throws his hat in the ring this month, he will have an 8- to 12-point lead over all others, including Mayor Finch. The National, State and local media will jump all over his Candidacy, front page news good and bad.
    Mayor Finch along with Mayor Fabrizi will go down as just caretakers, waiting for Ganim to return.
    Joe Ganim can point to all his good deeds, opening of four new Schools, Steel Pointe, the Citywide clean and green program, the beautification project at Seaside park and Went Field. New street signs, treescapes, road blocks with Jersey barriers to close off drug-infested streets, the Ball Park as well as the Arena at Harbor Yard, and above all No New Taxes.
    While Finch can only show us a false promise of a Six Hundred Dollar Tax Rebate, with potholes & rain barrels. Potholes & rain barrels will be Finch’s swan song. (To the tune of these are a few of my favorite things By Julie Andrews.) While Finch & Fabrizi both had visions of grandeur they would be the ones to finalize Steel Pointe, with Ganim in the race safe money will appear, those who give to Finch also will send a check to Ganim, but right now time is on Bill Finch’s side.
    The longer Joe sits out , the larger the lead for Finch and others.
    If Joe gets in the race by May 15, Finch may spit the bit,—Riders Up!

  • Ernie Newton

    It’s great to see if Joe ran for mayor people would look at his record.

    Joe could point to: his good deeds for Our City. Opening of four new schools, Steelpointe, the citywide clean and green programs, the beautification project at Seaside and Went Field, new streetsigns, treescapes, road blocks with Jersey barriers to close off drug-infested streets.

    The ballpark as well as the arena at harbor yard, and above all No New Taxes.

    It’s great to see people of Our Great City are able to look at a MAN’S record of good deeds that outweigh his mistakes in life. It’s great to see there are people who truly believe in second chances!

  • Bridgeport Girl

    I think Jennifer and the kids have been through a lot and the last thing they need is to relive it all in the press. That being said, I would take Joe Ganim back in a minute over Bill Finch. What are the chances of Joe throwing his support to Mary Jane? Or will she shy away from associating with him?

  • yahooy

    I’m astonished. None of these criminals deserve a second chance. Forgiveness, yes. Restoration of confidence and trust, never. We are at the very beginnings of a renaissance of great value that can give us a detailed map and plan to redemption and success. Do you really think the investors we need have benevolence in their hearts and are willing to give vast sums of capital to the very people who destroyed the futures of the people in deference to personal greed? Can you imagine anyone doing business with the Pay to Play For Lunch Bunch? BTW … Ernest “T,” your nefarious criminal past is but one component of why people have no interest in putting you back into office. The other reason is that you are an illiterate asshole.

  • Antitesto

    Jimfox,
    Regrettably I must agree with you. Ganim’s list of accomplishment do outshine the other candidates. But do we support a known Calamarian? Does Ernest “T’s” support damage Ganim’s chance of a September coup? Will his entrance into this campaign secure a victory for “Kaiser Bill?” These are all questions we must address before the September primary. The very existence of BRIDGEPORT is riding on this coming election. Joe Ganim did have the ability to cut out the bullshit and get things done for us. If Joe came in and said “We need a Casino” I would give him my support. But again you are right, his clock is ticking and he only has a brief time to enter the campaign. He remains a very viable contender in this race. Pray for BPT, vote for change.

  • Ernie Newton

    That’s ok yahooboy! It still lets me know people do FORGIVE! and the VOTERS WILL SPEAK come election time. So I may be a asshole in your eyes, but we’ll just see who will have the last WORD in my chapter, you or the voters!

  • town committee

    Joe Ganim’s time has come and gone. I served on the Park Commission under Joe Ganim. I was the deciding vote that sold Beardsley Park to the state so the city could receive money from the state that helped us out of our financial free fall. All that being said Joe Ganim was not a man of his word.
    I voted for the sale of Beardsley Park after Joe Ganim and I met and Ganim promised me that in exchange for my vote he would not sell or lease Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course. Well so much for a man of his word. Within a short period of time RFPs were put out to lease the golf course.
    We listened to proposals from the Jack Nicholas group, the Arnold Palmer Group and from National Fairways Group.
    During this timeframe I was approached by a mayoral aide and told if I voted for Palmer group I could get free golf and a free cart for 5 years. I reported this to the FBI, nothing came of it. Lo and behold the contract was given to National Fairways, a group that had no assets. I know this because I had someone in OPM giving me the information. National Fairways never paid the city and for a few years we saw no revenue from this group. The city ultimately took the course back. Ganim even allowed National Fairways to use the course as collateral when the went for a loan.
    The point is not everything was roses and lilacs under Ganim. We need to go forward not backwards.

  • Ernie Newton

    tc you are right, Joe made a lot of mistakes as mayor! But the voters will also look at the good things that happened in Bridgeport while he was mayor of this city and at the people who are now running for mayor. Whoever has a clear message on how to turn our city into a great city will win.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    This isn’t Washington DC. We don’t want to be known as a town that re-elected a convicted felon, or two.

  • yahooy

    Ernest. I’m sorry I referred to you as an asshole. That is the last time you will see in print from me that or any other words of vulgarity as I address my concerns over your ability to resume public office implying a restoration of the public trust.

    I intend to do everything I can to make sure you do not succeed. You are not what we need in the legislature. We need focused professionals who have identified the issues that must be resolved and have the intellectual capacity and business experience to effect worthy implementation. You possess none of those qualities and characteristics. Neighborhood popularity does not qualify you for such a vitally important role in the recovery of what could be the greatest city in the state. Any attempt by Ganim to assuage his misguided ego is going to see the same message coming from me. The greatest benefit you could provide to the people you stole from is to sit this one out, remediate yourself with some form of rudimentary education and find work in an environment suited to your skill level.

    • Ernie Newton

      yahooy, maybe you and Bpt Kid should run for mayor since you have sooo much power to stop Joe AND I. Listen I really don’t care what you think or say about me because I don’t need your approval. Just run for public office and you’ll need MINE!

      • Ernie Newton

        Hey Kid! Did you take a course in Politics 101? Because you know nothing about this game!

        • The Bridgeport Kid

          I know clowns like you think it is a game. Everyone else takes it seriously. Focus on your musical career, Ernie. You can play for tips in the lounge at the Holiday Inn. That ought to be appealing, all that cash that doesn’t have to be reported to the IRS …

        • Lake Forest Guy

          Ernie,
          Serious question. Are you on drugs?

        • Jimfox

          Jim: You’re right, I would call every member on the DTC looking for support. Mail them a flier along with a phone call. Mario’s getting too old for this game and the DTC feels it, he no longer has a lock on the DTC members. But if you don’t show up, Finch wins.

        • Vigilante

          Regretfully, and once again, IT’S A GAME? Is that what you think running a municipality is? You got picked off first base!!!

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Ernie, you are so full of shit your eyes are brown.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Why be sorry for calling him an asshole? He IS an asshole, for Christ’s sake.

  • Follow the Money

    Interesting that if you add up 3 besides Finch it is almost a dead heat. If all these 3 can get together behind one candidate with the ability to raise money, the dynamic would change. Remember the 2003 mayoral primary when more people clearly voted against Fabrizi.

  • Follow the Money

    “There are no gimmicks in this budget,” said House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, in the traditional summing up of the debate just before midnight. “It fully funds our pensions. There’s no borrowing, there’s no one-time revenue.”

    I guess Bridgeport always needs a gimmick!

  • BEACON2

    My friends, I posted yesterday a major financial failure leading to a much higher current tax liability from Joe Ganim’s administration and no one commented on it. So I am asking you to read this again. Under his financial management, the Pension Bond concept was raised, got support in the State legislature, went to market and was invested by Trustees at that time, AND THEN NO FURTHER PAYMENTS OF SIGNIFICANCE or even those ACTUARIAL MINIMUMS that were pointed out each year by Segal and Company, were made until Mayor Finch came into office. According to Finch there were $100 Million of investment losses and it would seem those were caused by the TECH BUBBLE during Ganim’s term.
    For ten years three machine teams have kept this major mismanagement secret, quiet and out of the public eye so they could keep saying NO INCREASE IN TAXES. If you guys and gals cannot react to this set of facts, please re-read yesterday’s posting (below). Let me know why the “apathetic voter” won’t connect the dots on this story? But tell me how you feel about it, especially if you are identifying yourself as a Ganim supporter or of any other candidate without the talent and integrity to work us out of issues like this over the next four years? By the way there are other major issues just like this one lurking in the closet.
    FROM YESTERDAY:

    So let me attempt to hang some black crepe around the necks of those who become all excited at the prospect of a Joe Ganim political resurrection. Have you been following anything I have been saying about Pension Plan A? Are you a taxpayer?

    Well, while Ganim was on a roll with wine in the car trunk, custom shirts, etc. he had City Bond Counsel issuing $350 Million of Bonds to fund pension obligations that had been ignored previously during his term and earlier ones. The bonds were from a municipality, but interestingly were issued as taxable bonds rather than non-taxable, as is more usual. Therefore to attract notice they carried a 7.4% coupon rate, higher than for tax-free issues at the time. City taxpayers have paid over $30 Million per year for eleven years with nineteen more years to go. That approximates $906 Million. So we borrowed $350 Million and must pay an additional $550 Million in interest plus the original principal to fund a closed Pension Plan for about 900 beneficiaries. Sound like a good idea to you today?

    The radical idea at that time was to get the closed Pension Plan funded to a level near 80% of what the State saw as necessary. Then with minimal annual funding the corpus of the investments plus the City annual contribution directed by the actuary plus the amount required from still-working public safety employees would keep the Plan running smoothly and accomplishing its objective: paying retirement income to former public-safety employees.

    What happened instead? The lump of borrowed money was invested, and each year so were the employee contributions. But the “smart money” people in the City hit at least two bad investment markets in 10 years and lost maybe $100 Million of the funds invested according to Mayor Finch. And from 2000 through 2006 the City funded less than $1 Million per year while benefits were being paid out of the fund of $25-30 Million.

    How many “smart money” people can the City afford? Equity markets, bond markets, and currency markets are the same as any “market.” They can be volatile and people can lose money when markets go down, just as people can end up with more money in their accounts when markets rise.

    All those who have been telling us what a great thing Ganim did for the City: Please tell us how paying $906 Million for bond repayments alone plus annual contributions of unknown amount for unknown years into the future (until the last retiree or retiree’s widow dies) looks to you today in hindsight? By the way, just the Bond payments each year to benefit 900 income beneficiaries means on average the taxpayer expense is $1 Million per beneficiary for principal and interest. And since the fund is about 99% likely to expire before the last beneficiary does, more tens of millions will be required in as soon as 5-6 years. How does that look as a Ganim legacy to Bridgeport? How do the Monday-morning quarterbacks assess that particular pension game? Did we win this one, or lose it?

    Let us know what this means to you? Maybe you can figure what another $15 Million or $20 Million of taxes annually would mean for your tax bill??? Now how does the mismanagement and lack of truth-telling feel to you? I don’t like it. I will not reward incompetence or efforts to avoid OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, and TRANSPARENT with my vote. I am only one, but I am ONE!

  • Follow the Money

    BEACON2 knows how to follow the money! Does the Connecticut Post?

  • donj

    No Joe Ganim on ballot, I will not vote. If he is I will. Ganim is our best hope. Like I said before all the rest of these candidates bore me and they have their own agenda why they are running.

  • flubadub

    Let me post again: While the city did become cleaner, during one of the largest economic boom times in our country’s history (bubble notwithstanding) there was very little economic development during the Ganim years. The Ball Park at Harbor Yard and subsequent Arena were built primarily with taxpayer funds, federal, state and municipal. We got a BOB’s furniture store. BIG DEAL!

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Hahaha, Bob’s Discount Furniture. Those stores pop up like mushrooms on cowshit after a spring rain.

    • BEACON2

      And lost a hotel? But got a State Police site because of Weicker? And an expanded Community College? But where were the taxpayer businesses that makeup who would pay for the government the machine likes to serve up?
      And donj, I have no idea why you have been away from OIB for a while, and also no idea why you will only vote for Ganim since you have not told us. He and the two who have followed him seem to be the ones with the AGENDA: KEEP MARIO HAPPY!!!

      So if the ideas put out by Gomes, Foster, Kohut and Chuck Coviello are boring and seem to have nothing to offer you, perhaps it is better that Ganim is not on the ballot and you therefore have your own excuse for staying home. It’s a long time to primary and election. Perhaps you will have an epiphany!

  • Palin Smith

    Keep voting for the crooks in both parties and you get more of the same. Bridgeport missed out BIG TIME by not electing Rick Torres in 2003.

    You should get down on your collective knees and beg Rick to run and win this time. Genius Albert Einstein and fictional moron Forrest Gump, had different ways of saying the same thing. If you know what I mean, you are smart enough to vote smart. Try it … you might like it!

  • Jim Callahan

    This poll reminds me of the model warplane I hung above my kid brother’s crib when he was a baby. He’d jump and jump. His itty-bitty fingers couldn’t reach the P-40 mobile that was just hanging there. As big brother I was very amused. Then one day the little bastard jumped a little higher and swatted away the airplane like a diaper-clad King Kong.
    Mayor Finch has been around that 40 percent mark in the OIB poll for two years now in various combinations of opponents. Everybody is jumping but no one gets a good whack at him.
    The mayor, if not the first choice, is the second choice of most voters polled in the various alternatives of opponents. No one shows the SPRING to be THE opponent.
    This could all change, and quickly, if someone latches onto a message as an alternative to Finch.
    They are all there and many have been described at OIB.
    Kudos to B2 on his description of the pension issue. I don’t think Joe Ganim fares well with that issue in play. On the other hand, the guy best able to articulate himself, who I have read, is Ganim.
    Some fundamental Democratic Party split appears to be needed to hurt the mayor. That split existed before the gubernatorial campaign. It would be unlike Bridgeport politics for that not to show up.
    I’m looking for that split. Mario and the mayor? Maybe, but not necessary. The mayor and district leaders? Could be a couple loose ones. The mayor and personalities? For sure.

    Where do the personalities go? Gome and Foster both talk well, but Foster has money.

    Money counts. I’m guessing–and this is a guess–Foster collects the loose party personalities who can help organize a political headquarters, advising whatever mercenaries are needed.

    Something else I’m guessing at. It is traditional in Bridgeport politics to form a counter “organization” to challenge for the top spot. It’s always been done that way, district by district, challenging all offices. It is also traditional for incumbent mayors to get their party nominations.

    But since Democratic Party nomination is tantamount to election, why not skip the entire organization thing? Just put together a personality-based campaign for mayor and screw the rest? I mean, the game is over when you knock off the king. It doesn’t matter how many knights and bishops and pawns are left on the board.

    You win the Democratic nomination for mayor, you win. The rest–aldermen, district leaders, Mario–have to come kiss the ring.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Ernie learned how to make crack pipes while he was in prison. He needed a useful craft and trade when he re-entered the “real” world of the 23rd voting district.

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