It’s Now Official: Lamont Versus Ganim In Dem Guber Primary–Other Guy Fails To Make Ballot

It was apparent from the start that Guy Smith, the retired executive from alcoholic beverage giant Diageo, would be challenged to make the Democratic primary ballot for governor via a laborious signature campaign. His campaign fell well short of the more than 15,000 signatures (two percent of Connecticut’s Democratic electorate) required to qualify for an August 14 primary. This means the Democratic primary will be head-to-head, party-endorsed Ned Lamont challenged by Mayor Joe Ganim.

“It is with sadness that I announce the end of my campaign for Governor of Connecticut,” Smith said in a statment. “Although this is disappointing, I am grateful for the support from friends, family and in particular my wife Marjorie, and the tens of thousands of Connecticut residents I have met over these many months. I want to express my profound thanks to my campaign team for all their dedication and I know they share in my disappointment.”

Smith eschewed the convention process to take his case directly to voters in a petitioning drive. While Ganim has been certified for the ballot in his signature effort, leveraging an army of canvassers in urban areas, Smith found out that a significant chunk of signatures are invalidated because they are not Democratic electors. Knocking on a door of a registered Democrat is good, scouring signatures in front of shopping centers is bad.

While Smith submitted more than 20,000 signatures, about half or so could not be verified, according to the daily tabulation update provided by the office of the Connecticut Secretary of the State.

So now the focus is simply on Lamont, the Greenwich entrepreneur self-funding his race against underdog Ganim whose financial resources pale compared the endorsed Democrat’s vast checkbook. Ganim’s spend-down in the final seven weeks, perhaps a few hundred thousand, leading to the primary will be dwarfed. While the Ganim campaign by the time it’s done will eclipse $700,000 raised in total, much of that money is devoured by consultants and campaign staff across the state as well as the successful petition drive.

Ganim’s trying to drive a wedge with his second-chance message that appeals to urban voters and Lamont’s wealth.

In cities Ganim can turn his conviction into a comeback credential for those embracing his second-change message. Performing well in cities, however, will not be enough to counter suburban and rural areas of the state suspicious of Ganim’s past. Ganim must leverage some unorthodox issues, or benefit from a major gaffe by Lamont, to inspire a statewide Democratic audience against Lamont’s financial firepower in a low turnout. And Ganim must talk about the future. Where’s he gonna take the state?

Ganim, a deft debater, will try to bait the affable Lamont into a deer-in-the-headlights moment. So far, the Lamont campaign has not made Ganim’s past an issue. That won’t happen unless Lamont feels the race is tightening.

Lamont has agreed to debate Ganim but the reality is there’s no upside to the forums for Lamont other than avoiding criticism for ducking them and enhancing his debate skills for a presumed general election against the Republican nominee that will come from a large field, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, Navy veteran Steve Obsitnik and self-funding entrepreneurs David Stemerman and Bob Stefanowski.

When Ganim got into the gubernatorial race it seemed like a large field that could benefit him was on the horizon. But several of the candidate in the race, including Susan Bysiewicz who is running with Lamont, dropped out deferring to Lamont’s finances.

What’s left for Ganim is drawing a sharp contrast with Lamont and hope for a major break. In these types of races it’s not what Lamont spends, it’s what Ganim spends. Does he have enough resources to compete? It’s a looming, disquieting question for Ganim operatives.



  1. If Ganim turns those signatures into votes, his chances improve. Maybe he’s running a secret voter drive. Maybe he has new sources of funds and mystery allies. Either way, he’s got momentum and a head full of ambition.
    Lamont’s money won’t be enough to overcome the firestorm Ganim can create and the turnout he can produce.
    Lamont’s crowd will be on vacation while Ganim’s crowd will be doing their latest victory dance.

    1. I agree because the pseudo patricians from southern Fairfield county wont bother in a primary and Joe will convince the minorities he is their only hope. This of course is BS, if he gets the nod it may shake up the convention process to make it more open.

  2. “Police, Fire Chief Contract Renewals Recommended”
    | New Haven Independent

    “Alders recommended approving four-year contract renewals for the city’s police and fire chiefs, who both pledged to improve their department’s communications with alders and the public.”

    Hey Mayor Ganim, how come you didn’t do what New Haven’s Mayor Toni Harp has done and that’s to hire a black fire chief? This is New Haven 3rd black fire chief and Bridgeport has never had a black fire chief but Mayor Ganim could have a black fire chief but he didn’t. So Joe when you make your visit to the black community and the black churches tell them why you didn’t hire a black fire chief in fact there was a possible that Ganim could have hired New Haven’s Fire Chief John Alston, Jr.

  3. Paul, I’m Black and I’m not voting for Mayor Ganim’s punk ass and neither is my wife. The fact is Paul your only connection to the Black community is Ron and me. #anyonebutjoe

  4. The more Lamont spends on a primary the more he brings out Ganim’s base. It’s counterproductive. Ganim’s petition victory neutralizes Lamont’s money.
    Is the self fund-er having self doubts?

    1. Really and what base is that? You know you need to bust out JML’s red boots when you hear money in politics has neutralized a candidate’s efforts because some other candidate petitioned to be on the ballot. Not to mention that grassroot petition was advertise on Facebook and cost $70,000. A gubernatorial Democrat primary is very different from a local Bridgeport primary where Joe beat Finch by a few hundred votes with no real general election against a Republican challenger, with a base support eyeing the prize of 170 million dollars in capital bonding, like in the good of days of JG1.SMH.

      Ned going to portray Joe as also coming from a privilege background. When did success hinder success. I don’t even want to think how Ned’s going to portray Joe as being a Trump supporter and against a sanctuary city. I still stand by my initial view Joe’s should have run, garnered some support in the primary process then supported the top Democrat candidate. If Joe don’t win the govern ship and a strong candidate, with a grudge and with support in the community and Hartford, who runs against Joe in the next mayoral election, Joe could lose it. The two issues Joe ran on Crime and taxes aren’t going anywhere for the time being and all most all development has been in place during the Finch administration, it could look like it’s all about Joe and not about the city. JS

  5. Ron, is that your phone? No, thought it was Ganim2 looking for another “second chance”? How about the City getting a second chance? Maybe Lamont could dangle some genuine eye candy in front of City voters? Like:
    **Genuine ECS reform that gets the three cities into closer parity per student?
    **Makes a bold move like Weicker did in moving State Police downtown. What would make sense regionally with the State leading the charge?
    **Perhaps he could be Bridgeport voter taxpayer friendly and promise to make all future efforts for Bridgeport public well before announcements by local leadership where the Mayor can declare relief but the taxpayer gets stuck with a bill for something that was ordered at a table he never got to sit at.
    Lots more opportunities to appear more attractive than a warmed over Ganim with all his toadies, sycophants, and buddies who are loyal for the jobs and other pay days? Time will tell.

    1. JML, I’m in agreement with that mindset of Ned Lamont coming up with some type of genuine eye candy in front of Cities voters like Weicker. I never did like Lowell Weicker but he turned me when he was Republican a U.S. Senator on the Senate Watergate Committee where he became the first Republican to call for President Richard Nixon resignation, that was leadership.

  6. Stand on a milk crate and sing to the heavens:
    When it comes to Democrats and the next governor, people in all 169 Connecticut towns and cities will have a chance to vote for the mayor of Bridgeport as their standard bearer.
    He made history on that journey, too.

  7. While Lamont might be having second thoughts, Ganim is busy exploiting his second chance and the opportunity he created for thousands of Connecticut voters.
    Ganim’s base is documented and enthusiastic. Lamont’s base is theoretical, outdated and rubber-stamped by the party status quo.

  8. We will start with what has Joe done with his second chance with Bridgeport. Aside from a pie in the sky rebuild of downtown (that fortunately will not have a deadline before the primary) what does he have to how? Nothing.
    And that is all Joe ever does. Think big and 20 years out call it a success whatever comes of it. No one will remember that facts. No one will remember the promises. After 20 years anything will seem like progress.

  9. *** Moving on from the usual local gossip *** Trump’s muslim travel ban up-held by the supreme court today! 5-countries included in ban; Libya, Yemen, Iran, Somalia, Syria, all not real allies of the western world & anti America. Is this actually being anti-muslim or anti-terrorist countries & needed to keep better tabs for over-all U.S securities? *** What say you? ***

  10. I think people are putting too much emphasis on Mayor Ganim winning because of an outpouring of Black voters from the cities. I just talked to my friend, a former city councilman from Hartford and he told me everyone he talks to about Joe he tells them he cares about black’s only when he’s in trouble or needs their votes.

    When Mayor Ganim won his last election he got less than 5000 black votes. One can safely say that Bridgeport is his base and if you can’t get more than 5000 votes from your base you don’t have a realistic chance to getting more from the other large cities. Just because someone signed a sheet to run sure as hell doesn’t mean that they’re going out for a meaningless primary which historically has lower voter turnout.
    Unfortunately Bridgeport it appears as if you’re going to be stuck with him.

    1. Don, black voters came out and gave Joe Ganim a second chance and put Ganim back into office two years ago for a number reasons. Now it’s two years later and Ganim has a two year record to judge Ganim on and what people are missing is that you can like and love someone and still not vote for them even though you gave someone a second chance before.

  11. Joe Ganim has sunken to a new low, Ganim use Schools Superintendent Aresta Johnson by putting her into his campaign something that she knew nothing about. Ganim use this black woman for his own political gain and tricked her, how dare Ganim misuse this black woman, this is just another example of how Ganim takes blacks for granted.

    Here is a portion of the news article from the Connecticut Post:

    “Schools Superintendent mired in Ganim’s campaign”

    By Brian Lockhart | June 26, 2018

    BRIDGEPORT — Public Schools Superintendent Aresta Johnson’s supporters praise her as being above politics.

    “It’s ‘students first’,” said Howard Gardner, a former member of the Board of Education.

    Johnson, however, recently got sucked into Mayor Joe Ganim’s gubernatorial bid, leading to charges the mayor is manipulating city resources for personal political gain.

    Johnson was prominently featured in a news release by Ganim’s campaign which made it appear the superintendent was joining him in criticizing Ned Lamont, the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for governor. Ganim is challenging Lamont in a party primary this August.

    “I told her it was inappropriate, was very political and she should not be used by Mayor Ganim,” said Maria Pereira, a school board member.

    Ganim is recycling an old line of attack used against Lamont when the Greenwich businessman ran for U.S. Senate in 2006: Has Lamont misrepresented his 2005 stint volunteering at Harding High School by calling it “teaching”?

    Johnson claimed she was not taking sides when she cooperated with Ganim. She said she was responding to the mayor’s inquiry about the difference between a volunteer in the public schools and a certified instructor.

    “I spoke and answered questions related specifically to Bridgeport public schools and not the political campaign,” Johnson said.

    Johnson’s quote in the Ganim campaign’s release stuck to the facts: “When Mr. Lamont volunteered at Harding, it was under the direction of the building principal as well as the classroom teacher. There were sessions facilitated by Mr. Lamont … but always under the direction of a certified credentialed state of Connecticut teacher.”

    But, as presented in the news release, Johnson’s comments could be viewed as picking a side in the governor’s race. The release’s headline read, “Bridgeport Educators Join Ganim in Rebutting Lamont Claim.”

    Johnson’s cooperation with Ganim was not limited to a phone call or an email exchange. The superintendent admitted she agreed to meet Ganim at Harding and to be interviewed on video by a campaign staffer.

    State Sen. Marilyn Moore, a Lamont supporter who thinks Johnson has done a good job running the schools, said, “I see it as the mayor overstepping his bounds. It’s ethically wrong to put (city) staff in those type of positions. … I’m surprised she allowed them to video tape her.”

  12. Brother Mackey, you know I seldom disagree with you, but in this case Superintendent Aresta Johnson has been around Bridgeport long enough that she should have known that Mayor Ganim is a snake and nothing is beneath him especially politically.

    As you know the Firebird Society just had a dinner dance and Mayor Ganim spoke at this function even though in the two years he has been mayor he wouldn’t spit on the president of the Firebird’s yet they let him address the guests merely because he’s running for governor. That’s what he does, he takes advantage of the naivete of people for his own benefit and the oneness belongs to the individuals that are being used not to fall for his BS, which Superintendent Aresta Johnson nor the Firebird Society did. You can’t blame Mayor Ganim for the stupidity of others.

    1. You need more self knowledge. Nobody said Bob Walsh is closed-minded. He can be persuaded.
      That’s why some observers think his keen political mind will soon change direction and join The Ganim Fan Club.


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