No Ink Love For Gardner And Coviello, But Could They Be Factors If They Make The Ballot?

Howard Gardner
Howard Gardner, so professorial.

Every day someone asks who’s gonna win the September 16 Democratic mayoral primary? And every day, so far at least, no clear picture has emerged that makes this a slam dunk with so many variables in play.

Elections officials will be counting through the weekend petition signatures submitted by mayoral candidates Mary-Jane Foster, Charlie Coviello and Howard Gardner to determine if they will be on the ballot with party-endorsed Bill Finch and Joe Ganim, whose signatures have been verified. It’s a labor-intensive process securing signatures as well as counting them. Elections officials must match the signature name against the voter file to determine if they are a Democratic elector.

Although there has been no official word, let’s assume Foster makes the ballot, her campaign has submitted roughly 3600 signatures in a process that requires about 1900 certified for ballot approval. She’d need a 50 percent failure rate not to qualify.

In an embrace to bring dear ol’ MOM along the campaign trail–money, organization, message–only Finch, Ganim and even Foster fit the bill. Why don’t we hear more from Coviello and Gardner? Coviello and Gardner just don’t have the financial firepower and campaign organizations to compete. They also don’t work news organizations well. But could they be factors in different ways if they petition onto the ballot?

Charlie Coviello
Charlie Coviello.

For instance, Coviello has been working the East End turf for decades where Ganim appears to have strength. The last time Coviello was on the ballot in a large mayoral primary field in 2003, he managed 50 votes from the two neighborhood precincts while finishing last citywide. Fifty votes ain’t much, right, but in a potentially close contest, every vote certainly counts. Most of Coviello’s political friends such as Ralph Ford, Ernie Newton and Tom Coble who know the territory well are with Ganim. In fact, Coviello gave his Democratic Town Committee vote to Ganim at the party endorsement session last month, but has carried on with his own candidacy for mayor. So if Coviello manages a ballot spot, does he swipe votes from Ganim?

Gardner, a member of the 2013 school board coalition that scorched three Democratic endorsed candidates in a primary, hails from the West Side. Gardner is a gentleman in city politics, smart, thoughtful, professorial. He found out just how hard it is toiling neighborhoods in search of ballot signatures. Gardner is largely unknown citywide but one area where he has some recognition is the West Side, particularly the Brooklawn neighborhood where Foster appears to have strength.

Gardner, an establishment fighter, ran on Foster’s mayoral ticket four years ago for City Council in the neighborhood. If he makes the ballot, does he peel votes from Foster?

In campaigns little things mean a lot, and although Gardner and Coviello lack the apparatus to win the primary, could they still influence the primary if they make the ballot? Right now that’s a big if.



  1. Howard is a very intelligent, articulate individual whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for years. He would make an outstanding Mayor, but he still has work to do in Bridgeport to get name recognition and if he is serious about running again I would be happy to offer my assistance in the future.

  2. Howard Gardner, just a reminder you will owe me $100 as well as Maria P.

    Howard Gardner is a very smart man and it is too bad he has no name recognition at all. He could have been a contender. His wife is also an asset as she is a very well respected presence in the Military Academy as well as from Bassick High School where we first met.

    Charlie Coviello is a nice-enough guy. I have known him for 30 years. He has signs in the East End and he will get some votes. He will not help or hurt any candidate. The race is not going to be close. Mary-Jane Foster is the question. If she comes out fighting she may gain some votes she lost to Ganim as well as her supporters. I believe people supporting Finch have already decided.

    Today was an interesting day. Starting in Nob Hill, I think the Ganim campaign is wasting dollars by putting a number of signs in a condominium just to have them removed and put out again and removed. It is a condominium, stop throwing your money away. Nob Hill is Finch territory. Should the maintenance crew collect them and return or just dump. So I was in the 138th just briefly.

    Maria P., great job up there. Three signs on your property is a little overkill, no? So spent some time in the 137th lower East Main. Very pro-Finch.

    The highlight, ending at 6 pm in Black Rock after putting out a number of signs at St. Mary’s and standing there chatting with some property owners and registering a few people. This beautiful black car pulls up to us, like a scene out of a James Bond flick, the window opens and the woman says, are you Steven Auerbach?! I recognized you from the blog. The woman was Carmen Lopez, a woman I always believed would make an amazing Mayor and the first Hispanic. Had a nice little conversation with Judge Radcliffe and called it a day. It was nice chatting with Ms.Lopez, I have admired her from afar for years. She has great energy. Four years from now do not be surprised if we have our first Hispanic Mayor.

    I look forward to running into many of you tomorrow as there will so many gatherings celebrating our diversity and of course, the food.

    1. Steve, I have two signs on my lawn, not three. My neighbor’s sign borders my driveway. Plenty of Joe Ganim signs in TH. I have only seen two Finch signs.

      I spoke with the property manager of Nob Hill. He was adamant, the Ganim signs were not being removed by himself or maintenance staff. It is a violation to prohibit political signs of a reasonable size in condominiums. Only one Finch sign in Nob Hill, but 12 Ganim signs.

      You are sounding a little jealous, Steve.

      1. Maria, I gave the Ganim campaign a heads-up. Every Ganim sign is being removed by maintenance and it is definitely against the bylaws. Are you insane? That is common property, four units to a door. If Ganim can afford to throw away 12 signs a day, that’s great. Signs do not vote. If Gage or Melanie Jackson will not tell you the condo rules, I as a friend will. You may contact R.D. Rich in Stratford. Mr. Mark Moran in charge of maintenance or a personal friend of mine who owns 24 units and a Finch supporter Mark Provanzano whose son serves on the board. That would be 24 Finch signs. Now, if you are putting up the signs you may want to remove them. I am just being nice. Me, I think the Ganim signs look very nice. 🙂

        1. I did speak with Mr. Rich personally. He assured me he was not having them removed. Each unit owner can have a political sign in a limited common element or a window as per CT state law. If it is against the rules, why wasn’t the one Finch sign taken down?

  3. Steve, you have finally said something I agree with and that is what you said about Judge Lopez and Judge Radcliffe, they are great together and separately. Also Howard Gardner, I’ve never met him but I believe what Donald Day has said about him. So this was a good post, Steve.

      1. No Steve, you are right. I don’t care about the superficial aspects of this campaign or any other. But Carmen Lopez (judge) is an amazing woman in so many ways. Can you believe I nominated her for the Board of Education about four years ago and the ignorance of many of the DTC refused to endorse her? We’ll never know what a difference she would have made. Her husband Judge Radcliffe is equally amazing. I’ve spent personal time with them over the years, I treasure their friendship.

        1. I’m sorry, I forgot to mention Howard Gardner. He is everything positive that is said about him. After this election is over, Howard, me and a few others will be working together to start at the level of politics that gets it all started, the TC.

    1. I agree, I have spent time with the judges, they are outstanding people. I have also spent time with Howard Gardner, I wrote a check for his campaign–if Torres were not running, I would be working for Howard.

  4. I was knocking on a particular street tonight that is one block long. At least four voters told me Mayor Finch knocked on their doors, and one even told me Mayor Finch registered him to vote. I just couldn’t believe it. Finally a voter tells me Finch asked him to sign a petition. I realized it wasn’t Mayor Finch and I showed one of the voters a picture of who I thought it might be. BINGO! It was Charlie Coviello. I laughed so hard. Everyone on this street thought Charlie Coviello was Mayor Finch.

    We knocked it out of the park tonight. On that one block we got 12 ones with only two voters considering Finch. I registered two new voters, too.

    I approached this man cutting his grass and he asks me who I am running with. He tells me he is so happy to see me because Finch people have knocked on his door three times and he and his wife will be voting for Joe because they remember all the violence with the Latin Kings and how Joe cleaned up his old neighborhood. I then registered his 18-year-old daughter as per her father’s request. Locked down three ones in that house in minutes.

    Another great night.

    1. Maria, you are outstanding. It is nice that Joe is getting every vote at Hooker and two people are only considering Mayor Finch. I would guess either there is something in the water or the Finch group responsible for Beardsley park are just sitting on their hands. That is entirely possible. I would imagine any Finch operative with half a brain would identify the headquarters responsible and the individuals responsible and get cracking.

      I am very curious just how reviled Mayor Finch is in your neighborhood that makes Joe Ganim the man. Almost as though they need to be seriously reminded what he did to the city and that is not the redundant one-liner but thousands of pages of documented testimony.

  5. Maria, just look at the Mayor Bill Finch campaign ad on the bottom and the top of this page. See for yourself and tell me if that’s Charlie or Finch.

      1. I would say all white male politicians of a certain age do all start to look alike … on both sides of the aisle. Not sure if it is the same as people start to look like their dogs, or if the kingmakers know a certain look will automatically get votes from the uninformed.

  6. Carmen and Dale are great people whom I care for very much. It is Bridgeport’s loss neither is setting policy here. Howard is the epitome of a gentleman and will be a major player in Bridgeport politics for many years to come.

  7. This has really degenerated into a sniping contest. The Ganim and Finch campaigns are “fighting” for votes as if they were contestants on “American Idol” or “America’s Got Talent,” puffing themselves up like professional “wrestlers” parading through the crowd and into the ring like the hunks of masculinity promoted by Vince McMahon at a WWE event. You know, “Who’s bad, who’s bad?!”

    It’s all just so much bullshit. Neither will do much for the people of the city of Bridgeport. A vote for one or the other is a vote for the status quo, the DTC machine that is apathetic toward the real needs of the people of the city of Bridgeport. Who cares about a fucking strip mall? Who cares about new sidewalks? WHO CARES ABOUT THE GODDAMNED YARD SIGNS?! None of that matters.

    What is most important is the way properties are taxed by the city, the sorry state of our public education system, the lack of jobs. Bill Finch has bragged–with a smirk on his face–he has created thousands of jobs. If that’s true, why is Bridgeport’s unemployment rate over 8%? Joe Ganim is fully aware of the lack of jobs in the city; he proposed repairing sidewalks. Oh, and let’s not forget he also proposed an ethics commission. A little late on that one, sir; the public believes once a man is a felon he will always be a felon.

    The other candidates may not be silent on the issues but they haven’t made an effort to get out the message. We don’t need bullshit, don’t need any more shopping centers, we need jobs so people can afford to patronize the existing retail establishments.


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