Tolls. Pot. Sports betting. Gaming expansion. Like them or not they all potentially provide mega revenues to a Connecticut unearthing new ore.
About 10 days ago Governor Ned Lamont sequestered members of Bridgeport’s legislative delegation advancing that he’s trying to craft a grand bargain between the state’s two tribal nations that operate Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, and MGM that has proposed a mega waterfront destination at the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment area.
Navigating Connecticut’s exclusive gaming deal with the tribal nations is like a white-knuckle drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, a breathtaking view can plunge into the ocean abyss.
Now we’ve learned that Lamont’s unsure about a gaming deal global solution with four weeks left to the legislative session. Is he now leaning toward a tribal casino in Bridgeport These things can change, but if you’re State Senator Marilyn Moore who occupies key legislative responsibilities screening bills and pondering bonding dough infrastructure investments it’s like please, please, please…no special session.
Why? The legislative session ends early June. If things are not resolved before then it could require a special session to finalize revenue streams to buoy the budget, and other lobbying interests.
Moore, Mayor Joe Ganim’s chief rival, has made clear to constituents in Bridgeport, Trumbull and Monroe that she’ll not abrogate her legislative responsibilities in the cause of mayoral immersion. She missed all three public hearings on Ganim’s proposed municipal budget as well as City Council action on Ganim’s spending plan. Press releases, statements, comments, proposals, public positions have been minimal.
It’s tricky enough running for mayor from a legislative seat demanding caucuses, time, travel, negotiation, votes. Add to that raising money to rival a well-financed incumbent who enjoys campaigning more than governing. Ganim’s at peak efficiency when something’s on the line; in this case a reelection campaign.
If Moore bails on her legislative responsibilities it leaves her open to criticism about her ambition. What! Joe Ganim’s the most ambitious pol in Connecticut? The difference is people expect that from Ganim, they don’t expect that from Moore. Nor does she.
The calendar, however, creates a menacing challenge for Moore. Her legislative responsibilities will only intensify over the next four weeks. That brings the mayoral campaign cycle into June. Let’s suppose there’s a special session. It extends closer to July. What does that mean?
If Moore fundamentally decides her best course of action to take out Ganim is a September primary it leaves her little wiggle room to build an apparatus to secure the more than 2,000 validated petition signatures required to appear on the ballot. That’s because the Democratic mayoral endorsement will take place in late July.
According to the state election calendar the party endorsement must take place between July 16 and July 23. Ganim, barring a major event, will cruise to the endorsement. Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa will conduct the mayoral endorsement as late as possible, it’s what he does, to challenge opponent ballot access.
Moore, or any other mayoral challenger, would have essentially two weeks to submit primary petitions to the local registrar, if Testa hosts the mayoral endorsement at the back end of the endorsement window. He will. Welcome to Bridgeport politics!
All of the above supposes Moore’s mindset is for a primary. But she could opt to bypass the primary for a direct general election challenge either as the standard bearer of the Connecticut Working Families Party where she’s admired or as a petitioning candidate.
When was the last time someone other than a Democrat or Republican standard bearer won a Bridgeport mayoral election?
Jasper McLevy, a Socialist, who served as Bridgeport’s mayor from 1933-57.
History is a consideration, but also something made to be broken.
Moore has decisions to make.