Susan Bysiewicz has thrown in with Ned Lamont as his running mate for governor. Now what? It leaves Mayor Joe Ganim as the likely last option to avoid an August Democratic primary heading into the state convention this weekend. What will Ganim do? Depends on Lamont’s outreach to Ganim. Both of them have a balancing act in the short (primary) and longer term (general election) that requires key turnout in cities against the Republican nominee who comes out of the primary.
In the short term it’s as simple as this: if Ganim manages to get on the ballot via either 15 percent delegate support at the convention or petitioning on through signatures, what are his prospects for August? He’ll be outspent 10 to 1 against the self-funding Greenwich millionaire who has backing him a majority of the Democratic apparatus that churns out a vote. The Ganim campaign model relied on a larger field of Lamont and Bysiewicz splitting up the establishment vote with Ganim appealing to a heavily urban audience. SuBy threw a grenade into that prospect. So Ganim’s looking at a head-to-head maelstrom against Lamont. What’s the point? Especially with Ganim looking down the road to 2019 and his mayoral reelection. Does he want to risk a ballot embarrassment heading into his mayoral reelection?
Ganim is a pragmatist, but he’s also a negotiator. Fundamentally, if he decides he must cut a deal with Lamont, does he have more leverage having qualified for the ballot?
Lamont’s outreach to Ganim is key.
Within the next few days someone on behalf of Lamont, if not himself, will likely reach out to Ganim and/or Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa. “We want you on board to unite the party. How do we get there?”
There’s no real statewide position they can pitch that’s a fit for Ganim, be it attorney general, treasurer or another constitutional office. A commissionership? Eh. That won’t blow Joe’s hair back, whatever he has left. So likely, this will come down to what Lamont, if elected, promises to do for Bridgeport, be it strong support for a commercial casino, money for a new Congress Street bridge, full reimbursement to the city on tax exempt properties, etc.
Whatever the conversation, Lamont’s headed for a beastly general election that requires energized urban voters. Without it, the next governor–barring something kooky happening–will be a Republican. He cannot afford to ignore Ganim. The Lamont-SuBy ticket is not exactly urban energizing.
A window exists over the next few days for Lamont to reach out to Ganim. If he ignores Ganim, or mails in a unity message to him, Joe will likely head to the convention to be a pain in the ass. If they work something out that includes a high-profile speaking role for Ganim at the convention, then he’s in position to be cast into the kingmaker’s role rather than dropping a turd in the party punch bowl.
This is not a one-way street. It behooves both of them to be pragmatic because neither has a slam dunk prospect for this year (governor) or next year (mayor).