Former mayoral candidate and Ethics Commission member Jeff Kohut shares his take on the general election results:
It is difficult for this lifelong Bridgeporter to believe that the only issue facing Bridgeport, politically, is corrupt and/or inept “party politics.” The Wednesday-morning quarterbacking-talk that is circulating about state and local circles is that the political craziness/idiocy in Bridgeport politics is all about local corruption. Well, that is simply not true. Indeed, there is deep, destructive corruption at the core of the political and socioeconomic rot that describes Bridgeport in 2023, but the local corruption is just a symptom of the hopelessness that keeps 80% of the Bridgeport at home at municipal-election time, which itself is just a symptom higher corruption/exploitation and callous indifference toward Bridgeport and its people.
Bridgeport’s real problem is the intentional, state and federally-sanctioned, regional parasitism that has siphoned the social, economic, and political vitality from this once-proud city and relegated it to a politically and socioeconomically dysfunctional pariah that serves as a literal and figurative dumping-ground for the tax-negative types of services and land uses that are needed by the Gold Coast/suburbs to maintain their robust tax bases and genteel lifestyles. Hence; Stamford gets the businesses and lucrative tax base, while Bridgeport is designated and development-subsidized as the regional “housing-hub” that is stuck paying for the infrastructure and services for said workforce, even as we are forced to provide the sanitation infrastructure and services that allows a growing Trumbull commercial tax-base while Bridgeport’s ability to court and develop such is undermined and restricted. And so on for our relationship with the rest of our suburbs and the Gold Coast.
With the state and federal governments are very content with this state of affairs, it is only logical that they would be willing to look the other way regarding the corruption that their political enablers perpetrate in Bridgeport (especially when those enablers turn out the Bridgeport vote for them at state/federal election time… (Recall the bags of Bridgeport ballots that were suddenly found when Dan Malloy’s election for Governor was looking shaky, some years ago?…)
Hence, no noise or federal investigation concerning Bridgeport’s “Ballotgate” from the Governor, Attorney General, or the Connecticut federal delegation.
Regarding the Bridgeport general election of 11/7; the Wednesday-morning quarterbacking-talk, locally, is that the absentees were once again manipulated for Ganim, even as the Lamond Daniels candidacy was a creation of the Ganim faction of the Democratic Town Committee used to divert votes from the Gomes Campaign.
Those that attribute the Ganim “win” to the petition-candidacy of Lamond Daniels and his 1,836 votes are truly missing the big picture that is right under their political noses regarding the 2023 Bridgeport Mayoral Election (round #1).
First off, they are not looking hard enough at the actual number of votes in the Ganim-Gomes Primary versus the General Election:
Sept. 12 Primary: Ganim — 4212 votes/51.5%; Gomes – 3961votes/48.5%. There was a separation of 251 votes/3% difference, Ganim’s favor…
Nov, 7 General: Ganim — 5,729/41.3% ; Gomes — 5,550/40%. There was a separation of 179 votes/1.3% difference, Ganim’s favor…
When we look at the numbers and percentage-differences between the Ganim and Gomes vote totals, we see that with only D voters in the Primary, there was a 3% difference, with Ganim having the 251-vote advantage in a purely-D field of voters. In the General, with D’s, R’s, Independents, WFP’s, and the other miniscule parties, for a total of 13,880 votes, there was a difference of 179 votes (Ganim advantage) between Ganim and Gomes, with the percentage-difference between the two being 1.3%. Those numbers and percentages, in real terms, are not that far apart.
Now, as previously stated, there are assertions that the General election was as tainted as the Primary and that is why Ganim won. But, as also previously stated, there are also assertions that the Daniels candidacy was to blame in the General for Ganim’s win… Well, which should we believe? Should we believe that both ballot harvesting, and the Daniels, vote-siphoning effect, working in tandem, were to blame?
While ballot harvesting was clearly at work in the Primary election of 9/12/23, looking with clear and logical eyes at the General election, it wouldn’t seem that either ballot-harvesting or Daniels vote-siphoning were at work. But, for the sake of argument, assuming that there was some ballot manipulation, albeit tamped-down out of fear of discovery, 179 votes and a 1.3% difference in the count between Ganim and Gomes does not suggest a “Lamond Daniels factor” – especially when the total “additional vote” shared by the candidates, as compared to the all-D primary election, was only 3106 out of a possible 60+k of registered Bridgeport voters!
Looking at the percentages of votes cast in the Primary, with only 20% of D’s (8173 out of 41,000 D’s turning out, including the phony-ballot faction), and the General, with only 20% of all voters (13,880 out of 70,000), we can see that the electorate stayed away, en masse, in both elections.
Clearly, the candidates that were offered to the D voters in the Primary were considered undesirable/lackluster by the registered D’s, and similarly, the candidates with name-recognition were similarly regarded in the General election, with all of the national election excitement of a national election day being able to stir only 5,000 more of Bridgeport’s 70,000 voters to come out and vote — even with all of the cajoling of all of the municipal campaigning by all of the candidates…
The fact that the Daniels Campaign, with 1,836 votes, and the Herz Campaign, with 765 votes, garnered that many votes — despite low name recognition, minimal funding, and minimal campaigning — speaks to the action of a faction of disenfranchised voters, desperate and determined to exercise their precious voting rights despite the realization that their choices, while well-regarded by them, would not be in a position to ameliorate the plight of their city, or their own plights, in this regard… The additional votes received by the Ganim and Gomes D-candidacies (their name-recognition is tied to the D Party), which was 3106 votes more than the D Primary, represents the elevated election-consciousness caused by the ballot-stuffing scandal, as well as the national-election energy/excitement (consciousness) factor that stirred the outer layers of the Ganim and Gomes factions of the D Party to action. Such a low general-election increase in votes for the strongest candidates on the ballot (from an electorate of 70,000), with a separation of only 179 votes, speaks of voter disenchantment and not of ballot manipulation or voter diversion from one candidate by use of a faux candidate by the other.
The use of a faux candidate in a predictably low-turnout situation can backfire too easily and is contraindicated and illogical, as is ballot manipulation in the face of a huge ballot-manipulating scandal…
So: attribute the Ganim win in the General election to the votes garnered by Candidate Daniels (and Herz?!)?
It doesn’t stand up to reason. With the scant turnouts of both elections sending a message to both Ganim and Gomes that they are largely seen as losers — both before and after “Ballotgate” — it certainly seems more logical to see the Ganim win as an artifact of hard-core Bridgeport-D preference, rather than as a result of deliberate voter diversion a la a Ganim-Daniels Campaign scheme. It is much more logical, given the similar numbers and percentage-differences between Ganim and Gomes in both elections, to see the slim Ganim victory as political artifact, versus political artifice…
In closing: Bridgeport corruption – with its rampant ballot-manipulation, among other sorts and types of corruption — is a symptom of the larger corruption at the state and federal level that makes Bridgeport ripe for, and indeed encourages such corruption. And rather than focus on just a few corrupt characters in Bridgeport politics, we need to focus on the larger corruption of the bigger players, at the state and federal level, encouraging and enabling our local corruption, even as we seek to weed-out the most blatant, local players… (And furthermore; the 1,836 votes for Lamond Daniels surely came from the small faction of democracy-dedicated, Bridgeport-loving, Bridgeport voters that saw Daniels as a last, best hope for Bridgeport that was worthy of their vote, though unlikely to win the election. This writer was one of those voters…)
On to Round #2 of Bridgeport Election Series, 2023. Will Hartford and DC pay real attention to this next round?!