Mario Kneads Pizza Dough While Needing Delegates For Ganim–A Glimpse Into The Testa Brain

Mario pizza
Mario forms delegate dough. CT Post photo.

If you’re a state political operative strutting into the Madison Avenue restaurant of Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa, or even his pizzeria near the Brooklawn area a spit across the Fairfield line, remember two key things: 1. he generally takes a siesta around lunchtime; 2. don’t come calling unless you have delegates to trade. That’s how it works, this time of year. Mario’s in a deal-making mood. You think he kneads dough at his pizzeria? He needs delegates for Mayor Joe Ganim at the state party convention in May, roughly 300 of them.

At the May 18-19 endorsement for state constitutional offices including governor, Ganim needs 15 percent of the 1927 delegates to secure a spot on the August primary ballot for governor. Without that he must engage in a labor-intensive petition signature campaign to make the ballot. There is no clear-cut leader for the Democratic gubernatorial endorsement. As a result, it lends Testa more maneuvering to cut deals with state operatives to land the 15 percent.

Let’s say you’re a candidate for attorney general or state treasurer seeking Testa’s support. Mario’s gonna say in Italian benvenuto (welcome) and then the next words out of his mouth, or soon after, let’s make a deal. In the first place he’ll not meet with you unless you have something to trade. You want Bridgeport’s support? What delegates will I receive in return for Joe Ganim?

Bridgeport will bring 93 delegates to the convention. Only New Haven, with 100, has more. The math is “derived from the average of two factors: the number of registered Democrats in a town and the votes cast for the Democratic candidate in the most recent presidential election,” according to the rules. Delegate allocation by town here.

Mario’s in the process of noodling the Bridgeport delegates he will present to the Democratic Town Committee for approval sometime between March​ ​27–​April​ ​3, as specified by the delegate selection calendar. He will expect an oath of loyalty to Bridgeport (translation: Ganim).

He’ll need to figure out a way to land Ganim a few hundred more to secure a ballot spot. All of this is a doable work in progress because the race is wide open with so many candidates across the board. If Governor Dan Malloy had sought reelection, or in lieu of that another high-profile pol such as Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Ganim would be locked out (he probably wouldn’t be a candidate either way).

This is a screwy gubernatorial cycle, both for Democrats and Republicans. Dozens of candidates have lined up for the state’s constitutional offices: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer, comptroller, secretary of the state. Only two Democratic incumbents Comptroller Kevin Lembo and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill are seeking reelection. That leaves a lot of room for maneuvering.

Example, you’re Stamford State Rep. William Tong (he’s already visited the town chairman) in a multi attorney general field seeking Bridgeport’s delegate support at the convention. You’re more likely to leverage, coming from a larger city, delegates to cut a deal with Mario. But Mario will not commit 90 of his delegates in exchange for your 10. He’ll want a larger commitment bloc. He’s shopping for a deal.

So this is what’s going on in the ballot-spot sweepstakes. You have something to trade? Mario will entertain you. Let’s make a deal.

If not, stop in, say hello, the food and drink is tasty at an affordable price. Then Mario will shrug his shoulders: what do you want from me?



  1. If he can’t manage the simplicity of a parking meter, how will Mayor Ganim manage the complexities of state government?
    Here’s the worst part: he’s abusing bonded money-the most expensive money there is, and in the process, harming the same state he wants to govern.
    Money spent with no value added equals pure inflation!

  2. I’m thinking about Mario Testa, Mayor Ganim, pizza and parking meters. Here’s my conclusion:
    When it comes to Ganim , it’s either feast or famine.

    What’d you do before the sun came up?

  3. All that effort, time and patronage contributions and we’re going to have a Republican governor. I say that with all due respect, God knows we need an overhaul. But, Joey G. will find a spot to land in either administration. Now stop being jerks and spend your money frugally while you still have jobs. Most of you know your not the most employable individuals, no one will be knocking your doors down.

    1. Yes, well,if a well connected senior center director is to be blieved Joey G. is running for governor for the benefit of the people of the city of Bridgeport. (This same person confronted me for standing in front of her husband’s dive bar on Fairfield Avenue, said “Im a bitch!” several times. Glad to hear your admission, lady. That’s not the word I would have used.)

      That’s just so much bullshit. Joseph P. Ganim has not done anything for the city of Bridgeport unless there was a percentage in it. This sort of behavior led to his imprisonment. It also led to his pseudo confession before the congregation of Reverend Stallworth’s church, a performnce that would have caused Jimmy Swaggert puke. Let’s not forget the fence mending episode. He performed that stunt to appeal to the black community.

      Now he wants to be governor? Yeah, right. He’s looking for another job.


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