Whew! Now that we’ve survived the end of the world (or maybe we didn’t and we’re all in heaven?), time to reminisce about the future. Anyone going to Mayor Bill Finch’s fundraiser at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn tonight? Money is the mother’s milk of campaigns and the mayor’s camp has done a nice job loading up the war chest. The mayor’s probably at $300K raised and counting. See invite:
Friends of Mayor Bill Finch invite you to a fundraising dinner Monday, May 23rd, 2011 6:00pm to 8:00pm Bridgeport Holiday Inn, 1070 Main Street Bridgeport, CT
Individual Ticket: $100
Certified MBE Owner or Employee: $50
Table of 10 and Pre-Reception: $2,000
Finch for Mayor may accept up to $1,000 per individual.
Finch for Mayor may accept up to $1,500 per political action committee.
Corporation and Partnership checks not accepted.
Personal or PAC checks payable to “Finch for Mayor”
The mayor’s still the favorite to win the Democratic primary in September with potentially three opponents on the ballot, Mary-Jane Foster, John Gomes and Charlie Coviello, carving up the anti vote. How could that change without the opponents joining forces? One of them must raise at least $200K to compete or otherwise rely on unforeseen circumstances such as a major mayoral gaffe to change the dynamic. It’s hard for candidates on this level to make a persuasive case to voters if the electorate isn’t hearing regularly from the opposition. That takes money. Well, what about campaign losers Ned Lamont and Linda McMahon having all that money? The opponents Dan Malloy and Dick Blumenthal had enough to compete. That’s the most important question in these races: do you have enough money to compete? It’s the first step in meeting MOM’s criteria–money, organization, message.
Example: Bill Finch outspent Chris Caruso by more than twice in the 2007 Democratic mayoral primary. Were it not for a myopic message Caruso would be mayor today. Of the three announced challengers Foster has the most loot, and is running closest to Finch in OIB polling, but if her fundraising stalls it’s going to be hard for her to make a case because the Finch campaign is going to spend heavily in July, August and September.
Now if former Mayor Joe Ganim gets in the race the dynamic changes instantly because of his high name recognition and presumably the money he’ll bring to the table.
Foster recently picked up an intriguing ally in her quest to become mayor in former State Rep. Americo Santiago, a veteran of numerous city elections the past 25 years, including a key Bridgeport campaign coordinator for Dan Malloy. While most of the Democratic party establishment including Town Chair Mario Testa and Mayor Bill Finch supported Ned Lamont for governor in the primary, former Party Chair John Stafstrom and Santiago supported Malloy. Stafstrom, as city bond counsel, supports Finch’s reelection. Santiago supports Foster. For Foster to be successful she must attract operatives split from Testo’s political establishment. Santiago is one of them. He’s not a fan of Mario and Mario never a friend of Americo.
In Santiago, a former assistant secretary of the state for Connecticut, Foster has a pol who understands city campaigns, can leverage community alliances and help run a headquarters operation. He has lots of friends in the South End, West End and East Side. He’s the father of State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago. Americo’s not afraid of a good fight. Let the games begin!