Is Lamont Nervous About Ganim? Maybe, Maybe Not–In Campaigns Appearances Matter

Less than six weeks from primaries for governor; is anyone engaged other than candidates, party insiders and political junkies? In 2010, the last time Democrats had a two-way primary race for governor, party-endorsed Dan Malloy defeated Ned Lamont. The state turnout, according to statistics posted on the Connecticut Secretary of the State website, was about 25 percent with the following results, Malloy 103,154, Lamont 77,772.

In Bridgeport, with then-Mayor Bill Finch and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa supporting Lamont, the spread was close 2,971 for Lamont to Malloy’s 2,928. The city turnout was about 15 percent. The race was close, irrespective of Lamont’s establishment support because the majority of Bridgeport’s state legislative delegation backed Malloy.

Lamont is back, this time as the endorsed candidate challenged by Mayor Joe Ganim, clearly in the underdog role who’ll be outspent heavily. It’s up to the candidates to inspire voters to the polls with messaging and rhetoric backed by a ground operation to drag voters out in sleepy primaries. Ganim needs a few major breaks in the next five weeks to pose a serious threat to Lamont, a likable plutocrat who enjoys wealth and party establishment support to churn out a vote. Doesn’t mean the Lamont campaign is taking this primary for granted against a skilled retail politician.

The other day it was disclosed the Lamont operation was reviewing for irregularities the signatures of the petition drive Ganim achieved to make the primary ballot. Ganim’s the first Democrat to qualify for the ballot for governor this way since the state ushered in the direct primary process about 15 years ago. Prior to that it was a complete insider’s game to make the ballot based solely on convention support. How Lamont goes after Ganim requires strategic nuance. The last thing you want to convey to the public in this type of race is Ganim’s a threat. Lamont’s operation, creating the impression a review of the signatures for irregularities could knock Ganim off the ballot, does just that. They’re handing Ganim a favor.

Why is Lamont afraid of Joe Ganim?

Unless something kooky happens in this primary Lamont shouldn’t say anything about Ganim. Just do his own thing and keep lines of communication open with the campaign. Lamont going after Ganim’s past in urban areas would be a fatal mistake. He’ll need those second-chance voters in the general election. What is open season to question–if Lamont feels Ganim’s gaining too close for comfort–is picking apart Ganim’s government record since his return to office in 2015.

John Stoehr, a fellow at the Yale Journalism Initiative and a New Haven resident, published this commentary in the New Haven Register focused on how party-endorsed candidates Lamont and Republican Mark Boughton react to opponents.

Front-runner Ned Lamont is facing two rivals, one directly and one indirectly. Bridgeport’s Joe Ganim, the direct rival, got enough signatures to qualify for the primary next month. As I noted two weeks ago in this space, the ex-con mayor of the state’s largest city looks strong relative to Lamont. He has a clear base–city-dwelling liberal Democrats–and a story of redemption. Lamont has neither. What he does have is a reason to be nervous.

Turns out I was right. Lamont is indeed nervous. His attorneys are poring over each and every signature, looking for discrepancies and ways to knock Ganim out of the primary. Lamont is far and way the most likely winner of the Democratic primary. So all of this can be seen in two ways. One, Lamont cautious and not taking risks. Two, he is so weak a man once convicted of corruption is threatening.

I don’t know the answer. Really. If you do, let me know.

Full story here.



  1. Ganim collected all his signatures in crowded, urban centers. But Lamont would go anywhere Ganim goes-as long as he gets a police escort, right?

    Lamont is too cautious and not creative enough.
    Ganim is fearless.

    1. Since when has Ganim travelled without a police escort while campaigning? We’re still waiting on re-payment on police overtime from his campaign.

  2. Give it a break. If Lamont was cool and collected he be characterized as the new Hillary. She could tasted victory until she lost.
    Statewide the turnout 8 years ago was 25%. In Bridgeport 15%. That is telling. Very, very telling.
    when Lamont hits the air waves, he will be criticized for over spending while Little Joe will say he should limit his self funding campaign.
    And lets be clear about one thing. Malloy was a successful mayor. right now Joe will have a hard time winning Bridgeport with a 15% turnout. There are plenty of pissed off and pissed on voters in the city who will definitely vote against Joe. How many of the urban liberals will bother to vote AND bother to vote for Joe.
    My guess not many.

  3. Some people extrapolate too much.
    When the governorship is at stake, many Bridgeporters will side with the Mayor. Some people can be persuaded.
    Prepare for primary fever. Ganim’s petition victory neutralizes Lamont’s wealth.

  4. With the Parties particularly lacking in appeal and momentum this election season, an independent gubernatorial candidate with a real message addressing the real impediments to state socioeconomic health (and with as little as $1,000,000) could squeeze in between the weak Party candidates and become the next governor…

    So far the Parties have not produced even a clue that they understand the real, bedrock issues defining Connecticut’s inexorable socioeconomic decline… It’s not about second chances and its not about high taxes… One would think that organized labor — and their endorsed candidates — would have indicated that they have a clue, but with them, the answer seems to lie only in the unobstructed flow of that Union-Leadership-paying union dues…

    Connecticut would appear to have morphed into the Land of Steady Cluelessness since the Grasso Administration…

    Is there an Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez out there in this state that can bring on and independent candidacy and a clue of how to apply the paddles to this state’s fibrillating socioeconomic heart?! Such a candidate to do and end run around the collective, tone-deaf stupidity describing the pathetic, collective gubernatorial-candidate offering of 2018…

  5. This gubernatorial election is like the last presidential election for me. I didn’t like Hillary and couldn’t or wouldn’t vote for 45.

    I hate the Republican candidates and can’t stand the Democrats running, but I have to vote for someone. None of these fools running give me hope for a better Connecticut, especially Mayor Ganim.

    Nelson Mandela said “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. Right now my choice for governor reflects my fears for Connecticut with very few hopes.

  6. While Ganim shows eternal energy working all four corners of the state, Lamont is so exhausted he’s hired an award-winning political agency to help slow the upstart Ganim, who moves like an athlete before the championship game.

  7. *** Lets not forget that Lamont with all his money has been beaten time & time again before in Ct. politics. If he has not learned his lesson to “not” take anyone or anything for granted, then he never will. ***


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