Moore Versus McCarthy Retail Campaigning In Full Swing

Moore, flags
State Senator Marilyn Moore works the crowd at Barnum Festival Parade.

The Barnum Festival weekend has become the gateway for retail campaigning, especially during legislative cycles with August primaries just six weeks away. Two years ago State Senator Marilyn Moore was campaigning in earnest trying to take out three-term incumbent Anthony Musto in a Democratic primary. She prevailed in a close contest on her way to a general election win. Now she’s the incumbent but this time facing party endorsed City Council President Tom McCarthy with the winner opposing Republican Elaine Hammers in November in Connecticut’s 22nd District covering all of Trumbull and portions of Bridgeport and Monroe.

Political party operatives consider this a swing district because of its city-suburban makeup. The Moore and McCarthy campaign operations are taking form in the six-week run to the August 9 primary. Summer campaigning is a different animal than what voters are accustomed to in higher-turnout November general elections, especially in this presidential cycle.

What? You want me to vote in August?

Yup, I need you to come out for me.

I’m on vacation.

Okay, you can vote by absentee ballot.

This stuff matters, especially in low-turnout primaries in which just 15 percent of the electorate will vote based on recent history. Moore, like all incumbents, is leveraging the power of incumbency sharing information to constituents in her final taxpayer-paid legislative mailer about her votes in the General Assembly.

Moore, franking
Moore state mailpiece

Moore by virtue of state law is able to craft personalized mailers throughout her district. One recent mailer to Bridgeport constituents highlighted the additional state education funds she delivered, her vote to cap the mil rate on car taxes that means a 30 percent drop for Bridgeport auto owners and additional money to improve roads and bridges. Legislative incumbents with primaries have entered the window that bars government-paid mailers, but Moore can now rely on her taxpayer-financed public campaign money–assuming it’s approved this week by the State Elections Enforcement Commission–that will avail her about $100K to spend in the final weeks.

McCarthy hopes to qualify for the money as well under the state’s Citizens Election Program of publicly financed campaigns that was put in place years ago to limit the influence of campaign cash. He’s out in force trying to identify serial Democratic primary voters in the Bridgeport part of the district. He’s also introducing himself to suburban Trumbull and Monroe.

McCarthy Black Rock Day
City Council President Tom McCarthy, a candidate for State Senate, greets the peeps at recent Black Rock Day parade.

In an eclectic district such as this it’s difficult to center on one primary issue that covers all the bases. It’s generally better to cherrypick issues that resonate with the respective constituencies. What plays strongest in Bridgeport may not work as well in Trumbull and Monroe. But those suburban moms and dads are equally passionate about their issues, be it taxes, education, transportation, zoning, seniors, veterans, daycare and health care.

The campaign operation that connects and identifies strongest with these primary voters goes on to the high-turnout general election.

Meanwhile the other state senator representing Bridgeport, Ed Gomes, has a court hearing Thursday morning before Judge Barbara Bellis whom Gomes has asked to place his name on the August primary ballot to face party endorsed Dennis Bradley. The Office of the Connecticut Secretary of the State denied Gomes’ request for ballot access following a paperwork glitch even though Gomes received sufficient support at the party convention to qualify for the Democratic primary.



    1. Bob Walsh–I’m not so sure about Nordstrom. Moore is wearing a badly wrinkled white suit that looks like she might have borrowed it from the Good Humor man. She is in the public eye and should dress the part.

      1. It was hot and she was wearing white linen. Perfectly appropriate attire for the Barnum Parade. Infinitely better than the sweat-stained armpits seen on many a polo shirt.

        1. Apparently Godiva doesn’t recognize linen, or has never owned linen attire, because (I’m assuming it’s a woman) she would have known it wrinkles under the best of circumstances. Since I’m on the topic of the two candidates for the Senate, how about Tom’s pot belly with his polyester shirt? Very Senatorial, would you say? Now I’ll bet Godiva recognized the polyester.

          1. Now now dear, don’t get your granny panties in a wad. It’s my opinion, you don’t have to agree. I didn’t get out of bed this morning aiming to please the world.

          2. Now in the essence of fairness to both candidates, they seemingly both have pot bellies–can we all agree?

          3. WHISTLE!!! Technical foul. Unnecessary use of personal insults. All parties go to the penalty box. Me included! 🙂

    1. Godiva, let’s do a play on words. Granny pants, yes I’m a granny, how about you?! Your clock probably stopped ticking so long ago you can’t even remember when it did. Children and grandchildren are priceless and a gift to some. I’m sorry for you, you probably never had that life experience. What a waste of eggs, you should have donated yours. Whoops, maybe it’s better you didn’t, then we’d have a little Godiva.

  1. How could anyone support McCarthy when you look at his record with respect to the raises he gave to Bill Finch and his cronies? While what he did wasn’t illegal, it was certainly unethical. Why would anyone support an individual who has demonstrated his unethical behavior when dealing with the public?

  2. Politics and opinion are great reasons to support McCarthy over Moore. In less than one term Senator Moore become an instant member of the status quo, while her insurgent challenger chooses the policy of reform.

        1. Tom McCarthy chose politics (risk) over money (certainty). Thanks to savvy tactics, some say he got both. But his brand of power wasn’t taken–it was granted. Upon scrutiny, things changed.

      1. He turned the job down because he could not do the job. He was also petrified to work for Toni Harp. Gee, I wonder why? He is clueless enough to try to take out the only Black Female Senator in the State; he could not last half a year working for the last one.

  3. I am supporting Tom McCarthy–enough said.

    Side bar: For U.S History and Black History enthusiasts. I just saw an amazing film this weekend. “Nation of Jones.” It was an eyeopening wonderful film. Educational and entertaining. It will be up for every Oscar next year guaranteed. I learned quite a few disturbing facts. Five stars!!! Ron Mackey and Donald Day, please take note. It is a must-see. 🙂

          1. Fox–do you ever think before you post?

            Fox, for the record. I have never lost a political bet in my life. Never confuse support for knowing the obvious. Unlike many, I do not have my hand out and I do not always help the winning team, but I generally know who the winner is. And BTW, when it comes to food and movies, don’t even question it. I am not being paid to promote the restaurants or movies. When good movies come around, I share. Enough said on that.

            No need to insult anyone who doesn’t support you candidate. Seems to me you were a staunch Ganim supporter and now you just seem totally confused like most Ganim supporters on this blog who have buyers’ remorse.

          2. Stevie A’s batting record (AKA the kiss of death list).

            Mary Moran
            Mary-Jane Foster
            Toni Musto
            Bill Finch
            Mary-Jane Foster

            0 for 5

            Soon to add
            McCarthy (the tax shepherd) to Stevie A’s list.

    1. Steve, first get the name of the movie right, it’s “Free State of Jones.” One of America’s most famous abolitionists was born in Torrington Connecticut, John Brown. Brown was an American abolitionist who believed armed insurrection was the only way to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States.

      Steve, give us a good reason to vote for McCarthy besides he’s a white male running against a black female.

      1. Ron Mackey, thank you for correcting the name of the movie. I do not need to give you a reason why I and so many Bridgeporters are voting for Thomas McCarthy. It is up to you to tell the city why Marilyn Moore deserves a second chance. Do not waste your explanation on me. I have my candidate. I do believe Tom will be great for Bridgeport. BTW am I the only city resident who had their car taxes go up $30?

        Free State of Jones–an excellent flick!

        1. If you have the same car (one year older than last year) and your car taxes actually increased, as you indicate, there is likely an error involved.
          However, with the mil rate one year ago at 42 and this year at 37.0 (for autos), it would seem otherwise impossible.
          Unless Steve, your tax bill for car last year was high enough to spread the total tax into two semiannual payments. If that was the case and this year the actual payment falls below $100, they may have charged the full amount to be paid in one installment due July 1, 2016.
          Will you re-check your statement and let us know what the facts are, Steve? Time will tell.

          1. JML–I will be paying my car taxes tomorrow or Thursday. I will let you know. Did you ever get that info for me??? NAACP?

  4. What some people call a $20 million deficit, others call a $20 million inheritance. I have yet to hear of a city worker who repudiates his/her paycheck.

  5. Under McCarthy’s eight-year-plus watch over the Council, Bridgeport has found itself in a $20 million budget hole this year. Led by McCarthy, the City Council recently approved next year’s budget unanimously. That budget raises the city’s current mil rate an unprecedented 29%–from 42.198 in 2014-2015 budget to 54.37 for 2016-2017 budget. After passing the budget unanimously, McCarthy and six other members of the City Council voted against the mil rate increase; pure political tomfoolery that’s disingenuous, to say the least. And how about the millions in retroactive raises, in the 11th hour, for McCarthy, Finch and company? Enough!

    Up until recently, President of Bridgeport’s City Council, Tom McCarthy depended on his six-figure salary, with benefits, from the City of Bridgeport. He served as the City’s Deputy Director for Labor Relations, reporting ultimately to the Mayor. This was in direct violation of the City Charter and contrary to prevailing “good governance” practices. Current state and federal laws prohibit federal and state employees from serving in their respective legislative bodies. Of course! Otherwise, public employees might end up voting on their own department budgets, giving themselves or their political allies special treatment and powers.

    In a 2015 article in the Connecticut Post, then Bridgeport Councilwoman, Trish Swain, Democrat, was quoted, “… I have rarely seen him [McCarthy], if ever, disagree with something that is being proposed to us. … And you can’t help but wonder, is that because he works for the city?”

    And now, Tom McCarthy is running for State Senate in the 22nd District, representing Trumbull and sections of Bridgeport and Monroe.

    If Tom McCarthy comes looking for your support to become your State Senator, consider asking him these questions:

    • How can it be okay for Bridgeport City employees to vote on their own department budgets as members of the City Council? This is a violation of the Bridgeport City Charter and good governance practices, is it not?
    • How come you, Mr. McCarthy, approved last year’s budget when it left the city in a $20 million hole? Didn’t do your homework? Duped? Just went along to get along? How have you provided a “check and balance” on the executive in Bridgeport? How would you do so in Hartford?
    • Why in a recent year did your salary for your city position increase $15,000? Why was that raise not made public until the next year’s budget came out?
    • Why in a recent year did you spend more than the maximum annual stipend for City Council members of $9,000 with impunity? Are there any public records of your expenditures? Where did those dollars go?
    • What about the $600,000 driveway in Stratford that Bridgeport paid Manny Moutinho to build to, yes, Manny Moutinho’s coastal estate? You are the co-chair of the Airport Commission that approved that, yes? Has your commission issued a final report on “Driveway-gate?” Or was that impossible since former Mayor Finch had reportedly received thousands in campaign donations from Moutinho and his family?

    Local Eyes needs a new prescription. And Steve A., my insincere sympathies to you as brain transplant is not yet covered by major medical; although, you might consider becoming a pioneer volunteer in this field for the good of mankind, since your brain has been given over to the latest source of your latest brunch bliss and to the Bridgeport Democratic Machine.

  6. Sorry, Pete Spain. Crystal clear political vision is a byproduct of reading this blog.
    The reason Steven A. is smiling is because he just stole your dinner plate using his bigger-than-a-battleship brain.

  7. Speaking in tongues is a tough gig, Paul “Local Eyes” Griffith of Trumbull.

    As you say, “You don’t have to be a leprechaun to find a jackpot.”

    I’m just looking for facts; your jackpot is all yours.

    Have you any factual response for any of the questions I posed regarding Tom McCarthy’s tenure as President of the Bridgeport City Council?

    1. A big “Gong!” for your attempt at a suburban rap-star answer, Paul. Problem is you’re not a rap star, not even a suburban one. So how about some intelligible facts for the kids at home? Or is this all kind of a big touchy-feely thing for you, as it is for Stevey A, regarding Tom McCarthy?

      1. Pete Spain, your juvenile responses are those of a desperate individual who has a poor campaign style. Just accept we are not Moore fans. I cannot speak for Local Eyes or anyone. Your vain attempt to malign McCarthy based on his record as Council president, well, you left a few important things. Tom McCarthy is very well respected and intelligent as well as articulate. You don’t like him? Too fucking bad. His constituents continually vote him in. Why? He reports to them. They like him. Finch liked him, Ganim likes him, the entire council likes him. You don’t like him? Too fucking bad. Get over it. Insulting people not supporting your candidate is childish. Supporting her as one of the only African American woman in the Senate? Really? That bullshit boat has sailed with the election of Barack Obama. Pete Spain, it would behoove you to get off the blog and start canvassing. You may be shocked. You stand alone. All the Finch and Ganim supporters who read the blog just read the absurdity of the responses of the very few responders such as you and myself. They get a chuckle. Do not think for one minute the Moore Cheerleading squad and character assassinators reflect the reality of what’s out there.

        1. So Steve, how about your response to my questions above?

          The questions are not the malicious and unjustified harming of a person’s good reputation, which is the definition of character assassination.

          Of course Finch, Ganim, and the political bosses like McCarthy. Why? Because 99% of the time, McCarthy does what he’s told.

          And the results … for our city? For our state?

  8. You’re a tough hombre, Pete Spain. Due to the limitations imposed by nature (daylight), the BirdCam is useless at night. The birds will return at daybreak.
    Simulating dollars is called counterfeiting–I don’t have any of those. Let’s compare legally earned dollars instead, okay?

    1. We have had a Mayor who was sent to Federal prison for seven long years because he used his position to receive things that had a dollar value, but they were not “legally earned.”

      The undated budget letter that accompanied my Bridgeport tax notice(s) references the 2015-16 budget gap that was never mentioned during the campaign, though the failure to include pension expenses and error including certain State revenue streams must have been obvious earlier to some. So $20 Million became the measure of Ganim2 effort? Well kicking certain pension payments down the road to save almost $18 Million from operating budgets over the G2 first four years and without explaining what he was doing is disingenuous. Because taxpayers in the out years will be paying more than $50 Million because of that “sleight of hand” in requesting the State for this change. That is the same “sleight of hand” that Finch used when he did not like the 2013 revaluation numbers. Go to the State and ask for permission to defer. Have things improved in the past two years or gotten worse in Bridgeport? Or at least in certain single-family home neighborhoods?
      But spending increases, including a false Police Department budget that reported 470 employees and 17 vacancies. That is a lie, when senior department personnel are currently reporting around 350 personnel, isn’t it? And does the Department have the capacity to train a total of 100 in a 12-month period? Not from what they told the CC in budget hearings. So why the dissimulation?

      Lennie should publish the Mayor’s letter that refers to “big goals” for “our great city.” Why has the Mayor not mentioned them all along, in priority order, and also explain why education operating expenses are not part of “big goal” FUNDING?

      One year ago, Joe Ganim was running with signs that said “Stop Raising Taxes.” One year later he is raising taxes without sharing goals or priorities with the Council or the people. Trust but verify? Not yet. And McCarthy, a big cog in the machine over time, is trying for the bigger pool. Issues dealing with his competence and integrity have been put on display regularly on OIB but all Local Eyes and SA can do is refuse to provide answers and attack the questioner. Really sad state of affairs. By the way, I am a taxpayer whose taxes went up 12% even after seeking adjustment in the Assessment Appeals process.
      Our City budgets (and increased future post retirement obligations) are increasing faster than our Taxable Grand List. And that means more taxes. Let’s see on Tuesday evening July 5 whether anybody noticed the increases. Public speaking before the Council Meeting usually begins at 6:30 PM. Time will tell.

      1. Great analysis as usual, John Marshall Lee. Thank you.

        As for the LE and SA faction, it reminds me of the following:
        “We can easily forgive the child who is afraid of the dark … the real tragedy is the adult who is afraid of the light.”–Plato

        1. I spent a lot of time in the dark. I want others to see the light. That’s why Plato gives me a high-five every time I give a child a flashlight. That’s not tragedy, that’s triumph.


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