Moore Sidelines State Political Ambition For Mayoral Consideration

Marilyn Moore and Joe Ganim cut ribbon to opening of Cherry Street Lofts in West End.

State Senator Marilyn Moore’s an intriguing study in tamping down ambition. She eschewed a running-mate offer by Governor-elect Ned Lamont, placing her next in line historically, as a black woman, to lead Connecticut. She could easily position herself as a state commissioner, something Lamont would embrace. The Connecticut Department of Social Services, given her health care, nutritional, senior citizen and child advocacy credentials, would fit. Nope. Not right now, anyway.

She enjoys being one of 36, the number of state senators in Connecticut, with an influential position on the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee that directs the flow of money to her district.

Lamont Moore
Marilyn Moore coulda been Ned Lamont’s running mate.

For now, Moore’s very selective in what she piles on her plate, one of them, in the short term co-chair of Lamont’s Women’s Policy Transition Committee coming off Tuesday’s Policy Summit at Eastern Connecticut State University.

“As the incoming governor develops priorities for our state, it’s critical that the voices of Connecticut’s women–especially women of color–are at the table,” she says. “I am honored to be asked to co-chair the Women’s Policy Transition Committee and I look forward to working to identify areas that impact women and making recommendations to Governor-elect Lamont on ways we can improve.”

Now 70 years old, Moore sports a persona much younger than a septuagenarian. Her decision making embraces a form of existentialism, cutting against the grain of the political establishment.  Her supporters are urging her to go for it … for mayor. If she thinks the moment is right she will.

Such was the case in 2014 when Moore earned her campaign stripes defeating incumbent Anthony Musto in a Democratic primary largely on a reform message. Connecticut’s 22nd State Senate District is about as eclectic as they come, combining one third of Bridgeport, all of Trumbull and a portion of Monroe. The suburbs did not know Moore. She drew a line in the sand in Bridgeport while reaching out to the suburbs with an accessible ear.

Moore was perplexed that members of the city’s legislative branch, including City Council President Tom McCarthy, worked at the pleasure of the mayor. How can the legislative branch provide a check when paychecks are tied to the chief executive?

Moore’s political establishment opponents argued she had manufactured an issue. They missed a key point that resonated with city voters. State Rep. Jack Hennessy had proposed a legislative fix on behalf of reformers who wanted true checks and balances in government. His bill was blocked by Musto on behalf of Bridgeport’s political insiders who were just fine with the status quo.

Moore connected Musto to the defeat of Hennessy’s bill. She promised, as a state senator, to advance the legislation. She was true to her word and the bill passed the upper chamber in her first year, but never made it out of the State House.

The issue, however, had legs. Lo and behold, in the ensuing years, city council members on the public payroll were weeded out, either by defeat at the polls or foregoing reelection.

By the way, in 2016, McCarthy sought revenge of Musto’s loss. Moore croaked him in a primary.

Since that time Moore has built prestige. Rejecting high profile state positions, Moore’s thinking about running for mayor, pushed by a cadre of supporters and insurgents (paging Bridgeport Generation Now) who view her as the messiah of their government sensibilities.

If Moore goes for it, this is a much different animal than taking on Musto.

Musto (we’re talking pure campaign skills now) is no Joe Ganim.

Ganim’s an exceptional retail politician who emerged from six years in the joint in 2015 to reclaim the office he was forced to leave following his 2003 conviction on federal corruption charges.

Name someone else who did that.

Campaigns are about matchups. In 2015 Ganim matched up well against incumbent Bill Finch who alienated black voters. Along the way Ganim received a few breaks, courtesy of an incumbent disconnected from a portion of his constituency. Long story short they felt Finch, a talented policy wonk, talked down to them. They did not connect with his green-technology mantra boasting the juxtaposition of the sun to the solar panels in Seaside Park.

What? How about some basic stuff: paved streets, new sidewalks, a grocery store, a new library? Talk to us, don’t talk down to us. And for crying out loud, when our people get shot don’t say, “crime has never been lower.”

It happened and Finch became the first incumbent Bridgeport mayor in history to lose a primary.

Campaigning on a citywide basis in Bridgeport is like a controlled frenzy. It takes strength, endurance and yes, good ol’ MOM–money, organization and message.

Ganim certainly faces a poised anti bloc of voters, following his misplaced run for governor after city electors brought him back, as well as his first budget that featured a revaluation of taxable property that tax-smacked some neighborhoods. Taking him out, however, will not be easy given the power of incumbency, his campaign resources and retail skills.

Can she do it? Depends on a number of factors.

If Moore’s gonna pose a serious challenge to Ganim, barring anything kooky occurring, she must spend the next two months building an organized, passionate campaign infrastructure focused on MOM.

She must also juggle a mayoral campaign with her role as state senator in a lengthy legislative session that starts in January. Not easy. The decisions she makes in Hartford–be it budget, jobs, education, infrastructure improvements–hit home in Bridgeport, something Ganim will pounce on if he sees her as a threat.

So stay tuned into Moore’s potential mayoral mission.

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33 comments

  1. I love having Marilyn Moore as my State Senator, I don’t want to lose her to Bridgeport as their mayor. I dread who the Testa machine would put up to replace her in Hartford if she won.

  2. Despite their different skin tones and different genders, Joe
    Ganim and Marilyn Moore have a lot in common. Who needs “retail” politics when you can exploit wholesale campaigning? Besides, I have a retail handshake that’ll keep me in the game. This blog has made some me a self-styled expert on local politics. As a result, their similarities allow a third party to enter and offer a genuine choice.

  3. RUMOR MILL:
    New Movie called Oprah’s Endorsement, the story of how a cup of coffee changed the course of politics in Bridgeport CT USA. Local Eyes plays the male lead. Sample dialog:
    Local Eyes: Oprah, just because I bought that cup of coffee doesn’t mean you have to endorse me for Mayor of Bridgeport.
    Oprah: I’m a billionaire, did you think you were going to earn my endorsement with a cup of coffee?
    (thunderous applause)
    That’s when she momentarily tapped my forearm and said “let’s get started”.

  4. Loco Eyes
    Go back under that rock you crawled out from and wait until spring. Your babble will not make any Moore sense but we wil make thru the winter with no Moore comments from you.

    1. She’s a spend-a-holic. That’s the way she ended the last GA session. She ended it with a spending spree and the next one starts with a projected deficit. She even spends the most expensive money on Connecticut’s balance sheet. She voted for things she disliked to reach a compromise. She’s not anti-establishment, she’s pro-status quo and there’s a voting record to prove it.

      1. LE (Paul)?
        Imagine the absurdity, which is what “Only in Bridgeport” records daily, of a local person offering fiscal observation about a current legislator i.e. “no more taxes, no more debt, and no more spending,” but nary a record of Democratic practice with 100% party backing in Bridgeport itself. Where is your outrage on these issues locally Paul?
        I know that Bridgeport taxpayers can use anyone on fiscal oversight, even someone who is accused of wearing aluminum helmets. I am not calling you to be 100% consistent, but are you fair minded, or have you been recruited into another “league”? Perhaps Steve Auerbach’s replacement in the Ganim2 defensive alignment? Time will tell.

        1. What you call absurdity is exceeded by my enthusiasm, insight and originality. But I have not been recruited into another “league”. I can do anything under the all-inclusive Democratic banner, if that’s what you mean. The rest of your post is cryptic and difficult to decipher. However, Marilyn Moore cannot bring home the bacon without ballooning the debt! The benefit is always less than the cost.
          In closing, I only wear one aluminum helmet at a time!

          1. Paul, Is all bonding by public for projects or other public spending a sign of a spend a holic? Why can’t a smart guy like you comment on the local municipal bonding plans, what they buy, at what expense, and compared to your estimate of value? Instead you call this “cryptic and difficult to decipher”? Is that because Ganim2 has had no “comprehensive priority list” for the past three years, against which to measure his bonding plans? Does the public have a right to see inside each of the capital budgeted accounts to see what has been spent and how much money is left as well as work to do? Where do you see this Paul? Time will tell.

          2. Yes, Connecticut has reached its borrowing capacity-we’re choking on it. Borrowing always means spending tomorrow’s earnings today and that’s a fiscal non-no.
            Bond money is an expensive cookie jar used for everything from pencils to pensions! If I were Governor, I’d disband it.

      2. Paul is back on OIB after being embarrassed in the CT. Gubernatorial Elections. Let’s not forget Paul’s (Local Eyes) astute observation in the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary. Welcome back,Paul.

  5. Mayor Moore, I mean Senator Moore keep doing what you’ve been doing and ignore the man behind the curtain.
    Moore shepherded nearly
    $6,900,100 grant-in-aid to repair the Barnum Museum.
    $1,854,000 grant-in-aid to the Discovery Museum.
    $850,000 grant-in-aid to assist Achievement First Bridgeport Academy.
    $850,000 grant-in-aid to assist Capital Prep Harbor.
    $775,592 grant-in-aid for improvements to Barnum, Batalla, Geraldine Johnson and Waltersville.
    $175,869 grant-in-aid to assist The Bridge Academy.

    Bridgeport deserves all that you do Senator Moore and thank you so very much for your commitment to excellence.

  6. How many people have been hired under David Dunn’s illegal tenure as Personnel Director ofThe City of Bridgeport. They all have to go. Every single member of the City Attorneys Office have to go. Every single one.

  7. Ms. Moore is better placed in the State Senate on the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee. She knows how to bring the bucks to home. Judge Carmen Lopez should and ought to challenge Little Joe for mayor. He’s a weak suck. If it weren’t for Mario Testa Ganim would be selling insurance or used cars.

    1. Whoever is the Mayor of Bridgeport is still responsible for working with ALL political leaders(U.S. Senate,U.S House of Representatives,CT Governor and CT legislators. Ganim remains radioactive. The higher-than-average voter turnout in BPT for the recent election cycle,Governor etc,( which was still lower than the entire State of CT) was fueled by Anti-Trump sentiments. The Testa “machine” was worthless.

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