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Numbers Show Geographic Split In Primary, Ganim Breakthrough Wins

September 21st, 2015 · 52 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics

Finch, Ganim

Crunching Finch-Ganim numbers.

The results from last Wednesday’s Democratic primary for mayor tell a story of neighborhood geography in which Bill Finch had voter successes in the South End, West End, West Side and Black Rock while Joe Ganim’s sweet spots included the North End, Hollow, Upper East Side and East End. Ganim also broke through in Finch-projected areas, cementing the difference.

Ganim won by roughly 600 votes on the machines with the final tally 405 factoring absentee ballots, an approximate 3.5 point spread between the two. Examining it simply, Finch performed well in districts 130 to 132, Ganim in districts 134, 135, 136, 138 and 139. The Latino-dominant 137th District on the East Side was basically evenly split with Ganim winning on machines and Finch running even as a result of absentee ballots advanced by the city’s queen of absentee ballots Lydia Martinez who squeaked out an unofficial win over incumbent City Clerk Fleeta Hudson. The Martinez-Hudson vote is close enough to warrant a recount, scheduled for Wednesday.

Ganim CT Post ad note

Tax message helped Ganim in North End.

There appears to be some correlation between the support Finch and Ganim received from the Democratic Town Committee comprised of active political players and the results. Finch is the first incumbent mayor in history to win the endorsement (a close vote) and lose a primary. Finch’s political support from the 90-member DTC is mostly reflective of the areas he won and the same with Ganim. The difference is Ganim performing well in the North End 134, and East Side 136 (includes Hollow) and 137 Districts.

An examination of primary results shows that some Finch-supporter political leaders had bad days including City Council President Tom McCarthy and former State Senator Andres Ayala, now the commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles appointed by Governor Dan Malloy.

Andres Ayala with Dannel Malloy

Andres Ayala with Dan Malloy at the Steel Point redevelopment area in 2010. Ayala’s support for Finch did not translate in his East Side base.

Finch steel point

Finch made many Steel Point announcements this campaign season that did not resonate with a majority of neighborhood voters.

Ganim ran even in the North End 133rd District that is the domain of McCarthy, a Finch supporter. Ganim performed higher than expected in Latino precincts including the East Side where Ayala has a base of support. Just days before the primary a Spanish-speaking reporter on behalf of National Public Radio interviewed a number of Latinos on the East Side. Most of them said they’d be voting for Ganim. Latino support for Ganim is reflected on the machines. In fact, if there’s excitement for the major urban renewal Steel Point area of the East Side and East End heavily promoted by Finch it was not reflected in votes for him Wednesday. Ganim collectively carried the closest neighborhood precincts.

Ganim, shooting victim

Ganim with Trumbull Gardens shooting victim.

Ganim had more blowout precincts than Finch. Other than Black Rock, Finch could not produce a precinct with a 100-vote advantage. Ganim had them at Wilbur Cross, Hallen, Hooker and Dunbar. Ganim enjoyed 200-plus pluralities in African American-rich Dunbar and Wilbur Cross, the precinct of Trumbull Gardens that experienced heavy violent crime this summer where Ganim was a high-profile presence.

What does it mean? Finch has a lot of work to do in African American precincts.

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52 Comments so far ↓

  • Come Back Bridgeport

    I’m curious as to how Finch will respond to the expected observation from Ganim this fall that Finch was a total failure in the private sector before he threw himself at the mercy of the public trough in the 1990s. Fired from at least six jobs! Many of us still believe Bpt deserves better.

  • Jimfox

    Now it’s time for our leaders to ask Bill Finch to step aside for the good of the party and this City, its people! No one wants to see a mud war from ex-Mayor Finch, he lost a good race.
    It’s time to come together as Democrats and win the general election on November 3rd!

    • Local Eyes

      A win is a win but Jimfox makes too much of a 2% margin. Those who chase history sometimes make history. It’s not time to drop out. It’s time to think of the future and what victory means to Bridgeport.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      Jim Fox, curious here. Whom are the leaders you are referring to?

      • Jimfox

        Bill Finch was endorsed by:
        U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
        U.S. Senator Chris Murphy
        Congressman Jim Himes
        Governor Dan Malloy
        Attorney General George Jepsen
        Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
        Boston Mayor Martin Walsh
        Sacramento, Calif. Mayor Kevin Johnson
        New Haven Mayor Toni Harp
        Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza
        Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee
        Former Bridgeport Mayor Leonard Paoletta
        Former Bridgeport Mayor Tom Bucci
        Former Bridgeport Mayor John Fabrizi
        Bridgeport Firefighters Union (IAFF)
        International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
        Fairfield County Building Trades Council
        Carpenters Union Local 210
        National Association of Government Employees (NAGE)
        Fairfield County Labor Council
        Laborers International Union of North America, (LIUNA) Local 665
        Connecticut AFL-CIO
        American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 4 & Local 1522
        United Food & Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Local 371

        • Jimfox

          Jen, just these leaders. I’m sure most of them would like to have a do-over today on their sponsorship.

          • Jimfox

            Jen, Just for the record.

            The Sonny Fox Endorsement was November 13 2014 for Mayor Joe Ganim.

            Jimfox // Nov 13, 2014 at 8:29 pm
            I like Joe Ganim, he ran this city without a tax increase for 10 years, while Finch taxed many people out of their homes for the last seven years.
            It’s great to be green, but this is a poor city and being green is a luxury we can’t afford at this time.
            On one side of the coin Finch wants this city to be green at the taxpayers’ expense, while he lets the UI Co. choke our kids and seniors to death, and adding to the global warming crisis.
            Joe Ganim and John Fabrizi have done the most for this city, John has given us all the new schools being constructed right now, and Joe gave us the Arena and Ballpark at Harbor Yard and it was Joe who started the Steelpointe project.
            Finch has been playing the part of a caretaker so long, he has nothing to call his own.
            We will not see a dime from Bass Pro or any other retailer on Steelpointe for the next 20 years, that’s if Bass Pro is even coming.
            So what’s next on Steelpointe, Bill; Nino’s Italian Ice?
            If it comes down to Ganim vs. Finch, I’ll vote for Joe!

            Steven Auerbach // Nov 13, 2014 at 8:50 pm
            Jim, now who is the ass? Ten years of corruption, sure let’s give him four more years. I guess the Steelpointe lawsuit caused by Ganim’s pay to play scenario has temporarily been forgotten. It was John Fabrizi who got the ball rolling but it is Bill Finch who will have bricks and mortar. So many new voters who will learn about Ganim and older voters who will never forgive him. Not a revaluation and a tax increase can change the captain at this point. My money is on Finch.

          • Jennifer Buchanan

            Pretty sure they are doing some head-scratching. With DeParle the head of Finch’s party now, Jobs Whatever Party, wanted to be sure you were not asking him to ask Finch to step down.

  • Steven Auerbach

    That was a great synopsis of this past primary. One thing is clear, it is yesterday’s news. The entire city is not going to rally around Ganim.

    Finch will win by a landslide and the rest will be forgotten. Democrats, unaffiliateds and Republicans will want to “save our city.” Maybe not.

    • LennieGrimaldi

      Steve, you said Finch would win the primary by a landslide. Crack me up.

      • Steven Auerbach

        Lennie, actually you crack me up, you write an awful lot of stories that seem to support Ganim and I really appreciate that. However let me ask you something. Lennie, do you believe the city was not stunned by the primary? Do you imagine the voters will let it happen again? Lennie, I have been wrong many times in my life and I can be wrong now. I’ve seen hard workers on the campaign trail and I have seen slugs. In the end I think Mayor Finch will make his case and people will agree. The bottom line, it is about Bridgeport, the bottom line, Ganim and Testa have to go, the bottom line there will be only one choice in November and Bill Finch is the Bottom Line!

        • LennieGrimaldi

          Steve, I write from the perspective of a strategist. Why did Joe Ganim win the primary? If Finch had run a more positive race would he have won? That’s what I think.

          • Steven Auerbach

            I think if Finch spent more time articulating his many achievements with development it would have been better. I think if we didn’t always say convicted felon that would have been better. They could have identified all 16 felonies instead of the same one-liner. Convicted felon became as nauseating to hear as Bridgeport is getting better every day. Joe Ganim has a past. Finch has a great opportunity before him to make history. Mary-Jane Foster could join him and become relevant again. The bottom line Lennie, whether you like Ganim or Finch, it is not about personalities, it is about progress, support, respect and Steelpointe. The bottom line is we need Bill Finch to continue our positive momentum. The bottom line is where you will find Bill Finch. :-) Republicans and unaffiliated voters will support Finch.

          • LennieGrimaldi

            How about respect for the University of Bridgeport? Should Finch do that as well?

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            Steve,
            You must have eaten too many Colombian hotdogs. Republicans will NEVER vote for Bill Finch.

        • Ron Mackey

          Steve, your give and take shows us how out of touch you are. The 200-vote margin at Dunbar School shows how the much the black community in the East End doesn’t care for Finch and he can’t cut into that margin. Steve, how did Finch let a convicted felon who stole money from the City beat him? Steve, look at all those endorsements and money Finch had and he still couldn’t beat a felon and now you think Mary-Jane Foster who is the vice president of UB would back a mayor who hates UB, that she would support Finch? Steve, you and Finch need to take your meds. Finch would better off supporting Rick Torres.

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            The only “support” Finch has is the jockstrap he wears while playing tennis.

  • donj

    Great great article Lennie to read on a Sunday night. To be honest I thought Ganim was going to win Black Rock outright seeing so many Ganim signs on owner-occupied properties. Remember, Finch had lost big in Black Rock in previous years. I have heard people say Finch did good building up Bridgeport but bad on taxes and taxes is what made him lose the North End with owner-occupied houses. Anyhow I think David Daniels will take away black voters from Ganim, no doubt about it. Bill Finch for Mayor!!! Torres does not have a chance of winning so I won’t vote for him. Btw why are so many Bpt police openly supporting Ganim on his Facebook page, what has Finch done to them?

    • Ron Mackey

      donj, why would Daniels take black voters from Ganim and what is Daniel’s plan to lower taxes and to improve the school system or just tell me something he would do as mayor?

      • BridgeportBooster

        Ron–what is Ganim’s plan to lower taxes and improve the school system? Ganim has no plan. No candidate has articulated specific plans for fixing Bridgeport’s systemic problems. This is a popularity contest, plain and simple.

        • Ron Mackey

          BridgeportBooster, whom am I replying to?

        • Jennifer Buchanan

          I must agree with you. MJF has a solid first 50 days in office strategy to address some of the basic problems, but you are correct, no one has given solid complete plans. The next tax re-val is going to hit either the city budget or the voters’ pocketbooks hard and fast. No one is addressing that ticking tax bomb. So the reality seems pretty clear, unless there is a plan with serious city budget cuts in place, taxes will be increased.

  • Andmar

    These are interesting numbers. One observation I have is Ganim may have done well with homeowners. The homeowners in the North End and upper East Side/End are homeowners who have gotten hit tremendously by the high taxes and the economic meltdown. On top of this there is a lot of discouragement because, while taxes are high, many parts of the North End appear to be declining. For example, if you drive up Main Street and other areas of the North End it is not what it used to be. There is a lot of graffiti, loitering, pan handling, loitering, crime, kids driving recklessly on bikes. So when you couple this with homeowners treading water, it creates significant disillusionment. While progress on Steelpointe is great, at the end of the day most people care about what is happening within 400 feet of their home. And most people care about how they are going to get through the month because they are living paycheck to paycheck. So in some ways, the promises of Steelpointe are nice and all, but it is not as relevant to that constituency (i.e., homeowners).

  • Local Eyes

    Never say never. This is an unusual election. If Republicans think Bill Finch is best for them, he will get their vote.

    • Wicca

      The Republicans are running a candidate. That candidate is Rick Torres. Torres will carry the Republican vote.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      Nope. Nice try. Turns out a vote for MJF is a vote for Joe did not pan out statically, so that line not gonna work on Republicans or unaffiliated voters.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        There is much more to politics than lawn signs, shaking hands, cutting ribbons, press releases, etc. To think otherwise is to take the short-sighted view. There is a much broader picture.

        The Republican Party at the local and state levels is taking a more active position in this mayoral election. Bridgeport is Connecticut’s largest city yet is is also among the poorest. We had a golden age of industry. Over time the factories moved away leaving brownfields everywhere. Why is it other cities and towns, Stamford and Shelton for example, have been able to thrive? Bill Finch would have you believe Joe Ganim’s greed, avarice and lifestyle preferences that couldn’t be supported by a six-figure salary are the reasons for Bridgeport’s decline. The truth is the city’s finances have been mismanaged since the late nineteenth century. The municipal payroll has been a source of patronage employment for that long.

        Bill Finch has a long row to hoe if he is to succeed in November. A primary loss makes campaign donors reluctant to limber up their wallets. Ganim, on the other hand, looks like the winning horse. Skeptics will now be more willing to financially support his candidacy, but his primary win could well amount to a Pyrrhic victory.

        Rick Torres has been through this before, running in opposition to Mario Testa’s well-oiled political machine. He has much more on the ball and the line than a few lawn signs dotting the properties abutting Saint Mary’s by the Sea. The Republican Central Committee has undergone some important leadership changes. The people at the top now see Bridgeport as important to the overall economic and political health of Connecticut in general and Fairfield County in particular.

  • BPT REBEL

    Finch’s priority should be his health right now. He is mentally losing it, crying on TV and blowing up during stressful moments in the public eye. Many of Finch’s top volunteers have already come over to Ganim’s side.
    Steve, you say Testa should go? You think the people who pull Finch’s puppet strings are better than Mario, namely Stafstrom who tried to steal and sell the Board of Ed (yes, he was the power behind that fiasco) and Adam Wood who is the bully’s bully behind the bully named Finch?

  • DavidDanielsIII

    Please check out my first campaign video.
    youtu.be/f3uLd6gSwrc

  • Denis OMalley

    Sunday’s CT Post editorial makes the very best case for why it should be Finch instead of Ganim.

    Makes solid points on Bridgeport’s self-destructive political culture and at the same time, doesn’t sugarcoat Bill Finch’s tenure. Most importantly, it makes the case for now, it’s in everybody’s best interests to let Finch continue.

    My suggestion would be to create a newspaper ad, mailer, TV/Radio spot, with the CT Post editorial as a backbone, showcasing why he should be re-elected. It should take the same moderate tone of the editorial and make the same points. Maybe the mailer or newspaper ad would have a long list of Bridgeport residents’ names at the bottom.

    I’ve been fairly vocal on why Bill instead of Joe. Since the primary, I’ve had several Joe supporters tell me they’re now nervous with how a Ganim administration might derail economic development, that maybe their dislike for the Finch team overshadowed their vote. Hope more people come to the same conclusion.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Has anybody bothered to look at what happened in the 130th below the mayoral vote? Endorsed and supported by the machine, Katie Bukofsky, Danny Roach’s sister, and newcomer Scott Burns, received the DTC endorsement, support and funding. They got 54% of votes cast for City Council. Toms-Lee got 46% with a first-time campaign. We petitioned for the November 3 Election Day and will be there with our message to all of the 130 (tip of the hat to Joel Gonzalez and others for highlighting the West End part of the 130th is often ignored). Toms-Lee ran ahead of Ganim and Foster even though we were placed on the B-Line, Ganim line avoided by many in Black Rock. Experienced and unconflicted Watchdogs or rookie lapdogs (with full DTC machine support) for the Council on Election Day? Voter choice. Time will tell.

  • Bob Halstead

    Too bad we both lost in the Democratic Primary, John. I would have liked working with you on the Council but as you said, the DTC and the full weight of that support is still a formidable obstacle. I wish you and Tyisha luck in the general!

  • PavlickInTheNorthend

    Ganim promises to keep taxes flat, but how will he do it? The same way he did before by having no re-evaluations for endless years so people’s properties are assessed for far more than they could ever actually sell them for???

    During his administration my condo was assessed for over twice its actual value and stayed that way for years!!!

    • John Marshall Lee

      Great question. Why not ask that question of the City Council? They do not hear enough from citizens/taxpayers. They are not forward-looking. Do they really trim budgets presented to them? How do “ghost positions” get funded and stay so for years? Where does the money not spent as budgeted get spent? If the closing monthly report each year does not fill out the VARIANCE category for City budget lines, how is the public to see how Bill, Adam, Tom, et al. are actually spending funds? And who keeps the Capital records for that budget along with grant funding? Will the public ever get to know? Ask your Council person. Answers? Time will tell.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Mary-Jane Foster will not be running according to a press release a few hours ago. She will not be endorsing any candidate. I am saddened that she will just drop out of sight, but that is her decision and I am sure many of us on this blog will wish her well. Perhaps we will hear from her again in a few years or perhaps she will just retire from the political scene completely. Personally, I feel Mary-Jane would have served her purpose to join the Finch team. But then again, is Mayor Finch actually eligible to run???

    Good Luck to Mary-Jane Foster on all of her future endeavors and thank you for wanting to run for mayor again. It was not your time.

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