Primary Lineup Complete, Absentee Ballots Ready This Week

UPDATE: Three names will appear on the September 16 Democratic primary ballot for mayor: Bill Finch, Joe Ganim and Mary-Jane Foster. School board member Howard Gardner and Charlie Coviello failed to petition onto the ballot. Mayoral candidates will have ballot company from citywide candidates as well as City Council candidates in several districts. Absentee ballots will be available this week.

Finch citywide endorsed slate: City Clerk Lydia Martinez; Town Clerk Don Clemons; Board of Education Kadisha Coates, Hernan Illingworth, Faith Villegas; City Sheriffs Willie Murphy, Mitch Robles, Dennis Scinto.

Ganim citywide challenge slate: City Clerk Fleeta Hudson; Town Clerk Alma Maya; Board of Education Dennis Bradley, Maria Pereira, Ben Walker; City Sheriffs Manny Cotto, Wes Matthews, Steve Nelson.

Council candidates running on Finch’s line: 130th District, Katie Bukovsky, Scott Burns; 131st District, Jack Banta, Denese Taylor-Moye; 132nd District, Evette Brantley, John Olson;  137th District, Milta Feliciano, Aidee Nieves; 138th District, James Morton, Melanie Jackson.

Council candidates running on Ganim’s line: 130th District John Marshall Lee and Tyisha Toms; 131st District Jorge Cruz; 132nd District Lisa Parziale and Bob Halstead; 137th District Maria Valle and Juan Hernandez; 138th District Anthony Paoletto and Nessah Smith.

Teresa Davidson in the 137th District and Charles Hare and Julia Concepcion in the 138th District petitioned onto the ballot and will be on Mary-Jane Foster’s line.

In the 135th council district incumbents Mary McBride Lee and Richard Salter rejected the endorsement to petition onto Ganim’s line. They will not appear on the September primary ballot because they have no opposition.

Just because candidates appear on a mayoral line does not necessarily mean they support the candidate on that line. For instance John Marshall Lee and Tyisha Toms will appear on Ganim’s line because he has the second placement and they as well by petitioning onto the ballot. They have not announced support for a mayoral candidate.

The following endorsed City Council candidates do not have primaries: 133, Tom McCarthy, Jeanette Herron; 134, Michelle Lyons, AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia; 136, Joe Casco, Alfredo Castillo; 139, James Holloway, Eneida Martinez-Walker.



  1. Michael J. Daly wrote an informative opinion piece in Sunday’s Connecticut Post. It read in part,

    “As of Friday afternoon, campaign operatives and maybe even some regular people had taken more than 5,670 applications for absentee ballots from the Bridgeport Town Clerk’s office.”

    “Someone must be expecting an outbreak of whooping cough or something worse, because 5,670 absentee ballots would account for the unavailability of more than 14 percent of the city’s 39,465 registered Democratic voters. Whooping cough, I mention, only because to legally use an absentee ballot, you have to be unable to get to a poll because you are sick, are on active duty with the military, intend to be out of town that day, have a religious conflict, a physical disability or are working all through election hours at a poll other than their own.”

    1. TBK,
      Maybe there has been an outbreak of “education out of town.” We have uncovered more than one family with one or more secondary school graduates who attend college and live away from home. It is good to talk with them and see how high taxes limit family income that might otherwise help them fund their education without jumbo debt. Perhaps some districts are attending to that “out of town that day” cohort. Time will tell.

      1. What seems to be working in New Haven could work here. Before that, the city’s government must be made to be more responsive to the needs of the people of the city of Bridgeport. The Democratic Town Committee is Democratic in name only and does not adhere to the ideology or policies of the national Democratic Party. According to Wikipedia,

        “Democrats support a more progressive tax structure to provide more services and reduce economic inequality by making sure that the wealthiest Americans pay the highest amount in taxes. Democrats support more government spending on social services while spending less on the military. They oppose the cutting of social services, such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and various other welfare programs, believing it to be harmful to efficiency and social justice. Democrats believe the benefits of social services, in monetary and non-monetary terms, are a more productive labor force and cultured population, and believe that the benefits of this are greater than any benefits that could be derived from lower taxes, especially on top earners, or cuts to social services. Furthermore, Democrats see social services as essential towards providing positive freedom, i.e. freedom derived from economic opportunity.”

        The above certainly doesn’t reflect any of the Finch administration’s policies, or those of Joseph P. Ganim or Mary-Jane Foster, for that matter. Foster benefited from tax abatements during the Ganim era. Giving unbridled tax abatements to well-heeled Gold Coast developers and campaign donors at the expense of Bridgeport’s long-suffering and overburdened middle class does not benefit anyone outside of Bill Finch’s small circle of friends.

  2. Ron,
    It was good to encounter you yesterday at the Black Wall Street forum at Mt. Aery Baptist. Tyisha Toms and I have prepared a space for an independent run, if necessary, in the general election. The petition process had to be completed earlier than the petition process for the Primary election.
    Tyisha and I are knocking on doors in person (and with the help of a few volunteers) and hearing what likely voters are thinking about. It’s a good process for testing your listening skills and weighing whether the public sees the City governance process is working well. You also see and hear the effect of foreclosure process at the grassroots. Does the City routinely know all the property they come to own at any moment? Like properties taken in a sale of tax liens that are conveniently quit-claimed back to the City in late June to avoid the next taxation billing? Time will tell.

    1. John Marshall Lee, yes it was nice running into you again and meeting Ms. Toms for the first time. What you are doing now was what I was always suggesting you do and that was for you to reach out past Black Rock and to listen to what they were saying. I saw no other City Council candidates there during the time I was there. JML, the event you were at was named after the historical event that happened on June 21, 1921 in Tulsa Oklahoma, which was called “Black Wall Street.” JML, I ask that you, Ms. Toms and those reading this would Google “Black Wall Street.”

  3. JML,
    I am sure you and Tyisha are getting good responses. After you talk about the issues, do you tell voters you are appearing on Joe Ganim’s ticket? Just out of curiosity, what is the reaction?

    I am thinking the huge absentee ballot is from people who are damned if they are going to let Joe get back in office and that could not be helpful to you. What do you think?

    Time will tell. I hear Ganim’s people are pushing for Danny Roach’s sister and she is on the Finch Ticket and in Black Rock that is a great place to be. Especially since Mary-Jane Foster doesn’t have a slate. In Black Rock that could have been your best opportunity.

    1. Steve, being on the same line on the ballot is NOT the same as being on the ticket. The way the ballots are printed and lines in CT is possibly the worst system I have ever seen. People aligned, endorsed and running on the same “ticket” often are not aligned on the printed ballots during primaries. It certainly confuses the uninformed voter, which is often what parties want.

        1. Steve,
          We’ll just have to do something special to have them note and get their vote. You’ll just have to wait to see what we have in mind. Like when you go to Mom’s for dinner once per week, she probably does not serve dessert first. Time will tell.

    2. All this speculation is a waste of breath and time. With nearly 6000 applications for absentee ballots piling up in the city clerk’s office, one has to wonder which candidate will benefit from all the registered Democrats who will be out of town, deathly ill with whooping cough or gangrene, working that day or otherwise indisposed to vote. Bridgeport is so magical with all the Santeria, Palo Mayombe and voodoo being practiced by the DTC to get the vote out. The DTC machine is so proficient at these various forms of polytheistic black magic they are able to resurrect the dead. You will see them shuffling and staggering to the polls on September 16th, like a scene out of “The Walking Dead.”

      Michael J. Daly’s Sunday editorial contained a few entertaining highlights:

      “Many years ago, I made an unauthorized entrance into a city-run nursing home, where, a prior perusal of various voter registration documents and absentee ballot applications showed that a startling number of elderly people had developed a sudden interest in Bridgeport politics. Some, in their 80s and 90s, had registered as voters for the first time in Bridgeport, and had voted in that year’s Democratic primary.

      “Not that all of them knew they had voted.

      “One elderly woman–a life-long Republican, she snapped, when I asked of her interest in the Democratic primary–said she had done no such thing as vote in a Democratic primary. But wait, she said, she had filled out some papers given to her by the hospital administrator, a Democratic patronage appointment and zealot. [Golly gee willickers, Batman, I wonder who that could have been.]

      “They had something to do with insurance, she said.

      “Insurance, indeed–just not the type she’d imagined.

      “Another election night memory: Polls have closed and the sporting guys are filing in to Democratic headquarters in downtown Bridgeport, waiting for returns. It is, of course, going to be another major thumping of some Republican. Spirits are high and when–I’ll call him Tony–Tony flashes open his sport coat exposing a half dozen cute little “I Voted Today” stickers to the glare of the fluorescent light, there is much guffawing. Tony has been a busy boy, voting under various names at Bridgeport polls.

      “It is not a fiction that dead people vote in Bridgeport. And guys like Tony, with the six “I Voted Today” trophies, know where they are and how to, shall we say, resurrect them for one more Election Day.”

  4. How eager will Denise Merrill and the SEEC be to take a close look at this potential, major political coup-by-fraud in Bridgeport?

    How is that investigation into Denise’s cover-up of the criminal convictions omissions in Mitch Robles’ background info reporting to her office going? I would bet Mitch’s South End operation is collecting barrels-full of absentees for Bill and Company.

  5. The Democratic Town Committee is hedging its bets, impacting its options. Zio Mario Testa is fielding two candidates, Tax Bill Finch and wine connoisseur Joseph P. Ganim. A vote for either is a vote for the corrupt political machine that has polluted Bridgeport city politics for decades. Ganim operated according to the machine’s rules; he was just greedy and didn’t want to share the spoils.

    Finch is also a product of the machine: Tax Bill was recruited by the DTC to oppose a Chris Caruso mayoral candidacy. Tax Bill played ball with Mario for a while but they had a falling-out and Tax Bill has since been operating under his own rules, administrating the business of the people of the city of Bridgeport in a judicious and autocratic manner.

    We need leadership that will conduct our business with transparency and clarity of purpose. New schools, a new railroad station, a new ferry terminal, new parks, none of that will change the fact property owners in Bridgeport Connecticut pay the highest taxes in the United States of America. Nor will new construction change the fact Bridgeport has become predatory, seizing the automobiles of the working poor, foreclosing on properties with outstanding water bills. How much does Israel Epstein kick back to the Finch administration for all the tax liens he snaps up?

  6. There’s a Bill Maher quote that is appropriate for the current events in Bridgeport:
    “We need more people speaking out. This country is not overrun with rebels and free thinkers. It’s overrun with sheep and conformists.” And pessimists, to say the least. Vote for Bill Finch, let’s have more of the same mediocrity! Eight years is not enough. Vote for Joe Ganim! Sure, he went to prison for seven years because he is a crook, but so what? Bring him back, we need more of the same machine politics that have mired the city in debt, social discord and violence. More of the same, more of the same. Please? It will never get better here so fuck it, bring in Finch or Ganim. Let’s spend eternity in purgatory.

  7. Good job summarizing the recent history of the DTC and their endorsements. We may all have Joe Ganim to thank for finally lifting the Testa cloud from Bridgeport politics, if Testa’s endorsement of Ganim proves to be irrelevant.

  8. TBK, I was reading your blog from earlier today and I’m not sure if you were serious or being sarcastic. Just some fun facts about Democrats and social welfare: Since the mid-sixties the government has spent over 20 trillion dollars on the war on poverty and we’re in worst shape than ever.
    Also, the Democrats are always talking about social security but it was LBJ who took SS out of the “lock box” and put it in the general fund. It was Jimmy Carter who gave SS to illegal immigrants at 65 even though they never paid a dime and it was Bill Clinton and Al Gore’s tax increase on Social Security benefits that imposed a 70% income tax rate on a retired couple making as little as $22,000 per year. And it was Obama who took 700+ Billion dollars out of Medicare/Medicaid to fund ObamaCare.
    As Margret Thatcher said; “socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money.”

    1. Quentin, are you for real? Look at the over $2 trillion for the two wars started by the Bushes. Look at the cost America spends every year protecting the world while we can’t provide health care for our own people. Look ae the enemies America is fighting, they have no tanks, no planes, no jet bombers, none of the high-tech weapons and radar we have; they have people who are willing to die. What is their budget?

    2. Quentin, did you forget about the American economy falling apart from two wars that were not paid for and tax cuts for the rich from George Bush 41 and 43? I would rather see my tax dollars go for paying for college for all Americans and to provide free health care for Americans than for killing people overseas and for tax cuts for the rich.

      1. I too would like to see my tax dollars spent more for the common good. I do believe when the U.S. government declares a war on a social issue, Poverty, Drugs; it only gets worse and more expensive. Almost every legislator in DC creates this utopia in their minds–that they would never and do not live in–for the rest of us; public housing, drug-free zones, three-strike rules, on and on. In the ’60s it was why can’t Johnny Read, look at our education systems today. Too much federal policy, not enough local policy. And both parties are guilty of this.

  9. Back to the subject. Over 5600 absentees is beyond excessive, just my opinion. Is this the norm in Bridgeport? How many people are actually going to be out of town or sick? Do they apply for an absentee ballot ahead of time in anticipation of being sick? Is anyone from Elections Enforcement going to monitor this?

    1. We are one of the few states that require a voter to give a reason for absentee voting. Requiring any reason to vote absentee just does not make sense to me, voter suppression anyone? However I think every candidate is beating the bushes. I know many people who do not vote in most local elections because they commute long hours to work, and who usually wins? The DT- endorsed candidate so why bother is their usual excuse.

      1. Jennifer, the problem in the 1960s was President Johnson couldn’t afford to pay for the social issues in America and pay for the war in Vietnam where we lost the lives of over 55 thousand Americans, and for what? LBJ’s war on poverty was never really fought because of money.

        1. Many of the federal departments and programs still exist and are funded today under the war on poverty initiative started by Johnson. The poverty rate is the same. Many argue the government subsidies keep the poverty rate lower by about 25%, Johnson’s stated goal was to move people off the welfare rolls and onto the tax rolls by educating and training people to work. Instead, 50 years and trillions of dollars later, poverty is still an issue. The interesting thing to me, Johnson was promoting moving power and programs away from Federal control to more local control. However that was hijacked and here we are today. I think Johnson had it right.

  10. Ron, everyone likes to blame Bush for the wars. But we were attacked and 3000 innocent people were murdered. One convenient fact the Democrats hope we forget when blaming Bush is every Democrat voted to go to war; Reid, Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, etc. Let’s go through the wars of the last 100 years; WWI, Woodrow Wilson a Democrat, WWII FDR a Democrat, Korean, Eisenhower a Republican, Vietnam, JFK. 9/11 happened because Bill Clinton was more interested in getting blowjobs in the White House than going after Bin Laden. And now because Obama refuses to call evil what it is and a nuke deal with a country who’s only purpose is to kill Jews and Christians, we are on the verge of WWIII. It’s amazing how facts become unimportant to Democrats.

    1. Quentin, the 3000 Americans who were murdered on September 11th, well America attacked the wrong country, the 18 killers came from Saudi Arabia but President Bush 43 attacked Iraq and America is still there 14 years later.

  11. Also don’t forget Woodrow Wilson was the grand poo-bah of the KKK. Actually there were five Democrat presidents who were active members of the Klan.
    Oh, those pesky facts!

  12. Tax Bill Finch claimed he “never, ever had anybody ask me for something” in exchange for a campaign donation. That could well be true. He probably offered something in exchange for the “donation.” Does a 35-year tax abatement for $4000 sound about right?

    So Harold Gardner and Charlie Coviello didn’t make the final cut. Oh dear. This does not bode well for Tax Bill Finch. Mary-Jane Foster and Joseph P. Ganim are experienced attorneys, know how to argue a case before judges and juries, know how to appeal and argue a motion or two. Both of them are type-A personalities, skilled orators able to think fast on their feet. Tax Bill Finch will be blindsided left and right. It is not terribly hard to picture him standing on the stage with a blank, dumbfounded expression on his face, looking for all the audience like a deer caught in the headlights of an SUV while Ganim and Foster consolidate their respective positions on the important issues. Tax Bill will be mumbling about creating thousands of jobs and making Bridgeport the safest it has been since the War of 1812 while his opponents wait their turn to show him to be the brainless puppet he really is.

  13. And Kid, the saddest part of all this is (from my experience here in the lovely park city), if the machine wants Finch back, he will be back. Despite the alacrity of the other two debaters. He really doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to open his mouth. Look at how they stole the last two elections by absentee ballots. First Phil Blagys for council. He won on the machines but lost by a few absentee ballots. Then the Stafstrom/Torres debacle. Again, hold your heads high Dems, 50 absentee ballots won it for the city bond counsel’s young nephew. It’s really disgusting and sad. And after many years of it, I feel hopeless.

  14. Harold Gardner and Charlie Coviello failed to make the cut for the Democratic primary. All is not lost because he hopes to make a difference as the candidate for his New Movement third party. “I am still a Democrat on the national level, but in relationship to Bridgeport … I’m going to become a third-party advocate,” Coviello told the Connecticut Post’s Brian Lockhart. A Democrat on a national level? This man is senile, delusional or high on something. Maybe all three. New Movement? In Charlie’s case that’s what happens after a glass of prune juice.

    Here are the remaining three choices:

    • Ganim’s conviction and imprisonment is well known, as are his accomplishments while in office: holding the line on taxes, reducing crime, building a ballpark and the Arena. He was able to do those things because there was more money available. His downfall was greed: he didn’t like sharing the spoils with the outstretched and ungreased palms that can be found in City Hall and the Morton Government Center. Joe needs a good-paying job since his law license was revoked.

    • Finch is just plain inept. Sure, there are “cranes in the air and shovels in the ground.” That would’ve happened if Bozo the Clown had been mayor. In Finch’s defense, it has been a lousy time to finance a mortgage, let alone urban development. We are still recovering from the recession of 2008. The city has deteriorated on his watch, however. It’s time to change horses. It’s not as if Tax Bill will be unemployed. I’m sure he could work the burrito station at Chipotle.

    • Mary-Jane Foster is an attorney, businesswoman and a vice president at the University of Bridgeport. She wants the top office and is marketing herself as the Reform Candidate. She is a practicing attorney specializing in family law. She and her husband Jack McGregor were the moving force behind the ballpark and arena at Harbor Yard. Since 2009, she has served as vice president of university relations for the University of Bridgeport. Politics is not the last resort for Ms. Foster. Downside: hasn’t talked much about lowering taxes, job creation or addressing crime. Maybe she has, just not on her website. (The only issues noted there are “Put Plan in Place Requiring Pension Obligations To Be Met,” “Forbes Magazine Analysis of Bridgeport’s Financial Outlook” and “City Council Members Must Never Be Appointed to a Paid City Position Without Resigning.”) She and Mr. McGregor also benefited from generous tax abatements (courtesy of Joe Ganim) to get the arena and the ballpark built.

    A vote for either Finch or Ganim is a vote for the status quo, a vote for La Machine, a vote for the same old same old.

    1. All the issues noted above are leftovers from Foster’s 2011 mayoral run, by the way. Kind of begs the question: haven’t though of anything new?


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