Tight Vote Over Chair Fight

Update: Democratic Town Committee chair vote. After four ballots Mario Testa one vote short of chairmanship. Will report back soon.

When you control the candy store with a cane poised over someone’s head, chances are the head gets ahead of the heart.

At the point of a bayonet, real or imagined, several Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee members on the city payroll (or hope to be) have succumbed to Mayor Bill Finch’s overtures to vote for John Stafstrom as party leader tonight. We’ll find out later if it’s enough to keep Stafstrom in power, or if it goes to former chair Mario Testa, or Black Rock District Leader Danny Roach.

One thing’s for sure, it looks like a nail biter. It appeared the other day Testa had just over the 46 votes needed to become chair, but a few town committee members on the payroll at the mayor’s urging have switched commitments. When it’s this close, a kingmaker may emerge at the last minute.

Bridgeport’s Democratic Town Committee has 90 members, 9 in each of the 10 districts in the city, so 46 is the magic number for victory.

In discussions I’ve had with town committee members, they spoke of phone-call relentlessness from the various camps, particularly the mayor. Some are holding firm with their commitments, some are just terrified about losing their job. When a mayor calls and says I need your vote (and you work at his discretion) for some the decision is easy, for others it’s a nightmare, especially if you’ve committed to another candidate.

I have not seen a mayor weigh in this hard to deliver his candidate for party leadership since Mayor Thomas Bucci handed out jobs like they were nickels and dimes to sway town committee members to support Chris Caruso more than 20 years ago. Yes, the same Chris Caruso that recently came within a whisker of becoming mayor.

Bucci had committed to support Caruso for city council president to the late North End political leader Richard Pinto in exchange for Pinto’s support for mayor. Something backfired on the way to the vote. Enough council members rebelled to sway the vote to Lisa Parziale. To keep the peace with a steaming Pinto and Caruso, Bucci threw the town chair John Guman under the bus in favor of Caruso. (Guman is the late husband of East Side District Leader Dottie Guman who’s not happy with Finch’s heavy insertion into delivering Stafstrom.) It was a war leading to a lot of bad blood. Bucci was forced to sell the store to secure enough votes to deliver Caruso. Bucci and Caruso were never a good marriage. Two years later, Guman was town chair again.

The difference here is that Finch doesn’t have the jobs to hand out that Bucci did, placing a premium on making sure town committee members on the payroll do not stray.

If Finch delivers Stafstrom tonight it may do more harm than good. Sounds like he’s breaking too many bones over this, and the observation to the outside world from a guy that promised to be different, open, honest and transparent, stinks.

Finch is showing a narcissism I had not thought existed. Interesting about this whole thing. Finch is now being accused of exercising the heavyhandedness he’s associating with Mario Testa to woo votes away. The difference is that Mario isn’t/wasn’t mayor. Finch is. Governing without credibility is senseless.



  1. Finch has stepped over the line with his constant telephone calls to select city employees. One appointee received calls from Finch; Finch’s wife and Stafstrom. there was enough pressure exerted to force this person to switch their vote. They told me face to face that they have a kid in college and cant afford to lose this job.
    I dont think Finch will ever be able to repair the damage he has inflicted no matter what the results of tonights vote.
    The vote was called for tonight because Finch Wood and Stafstrom have prior commitments Wednesday & Thursday. It does not mean thy have the votes which tey dont.

  2. Hi Yahooy:

    Thanks. I appreciate it. Gogola and I never had a spat. He’s certainly disappointed that I left. I just wanted to do my own thing. As for traffic to the site, it’s better than ever. The comments are down because I’ve instituted a registration system, something that I had requested over and over again at FCW. Meanwhile, it’s gonna be a heckuva fight tonight at the Schwaben!!

  3. Wondering- I agree with you and I think you are real close with your numbers from earlier post.

    It’s all Greek to me!

    Also, cell phones will be burning up at the Schwaben tonight. Best reception is to go outside because of poor cell tower range inside hall.



    Go to the FCW blog site and read the absolute trash that Gogola had the nerve of posting. That SOB actually compared the latest shouts against Finch’s strong-arm tactics to the Caruso-esque style of politics.

    At first I thought the little spat between Grimaldi and Gogola should be reconciled so that blogging as usual could be restored. After reading that utter manure, I am convinced we are getting a true journalist objective view more so from Grimaldi especially since he agrees with many of my positions.

    I’m done with FCW. May they wallow in their own whatever.

  5. yahooy,

    Gogola is a philistine who lacks perspicacity. (?Who said that?)

    In answer to your question, it was the great writer Delman Mangrove who wrote that in his essential work “The Layman’s Guide to Perspicacity” … although his exact phrase was “GOOFY is a philistine who lacks perspicacity.”

    Mangrove was never a big fan of Goofy, but did admire Pluto for his socialist views and Donald for his stance against the encroachment of facism in pre WWII Europe.
    Perhaps the Duck can help Bridgeport in her time of growing Finch Facism.


  6. Mr. PT

    A sucker may be born every minute, but it does not attribute itself to I … at least at this minute.

    A Mr. envoy5 has endeared himself to this blog’s readership and postership with his incessant reference to the philistine and those who lack perspicacity. As any who is familiar with the merits of the Venn-Euler diagram will attest both concepts often intersect.

  7. It’s about 5:30 and I’ll soon be off to Schwaben Hall for tonight’s festivities. Rumor has it that right now Testa has 40 something votes, but NOT the 46 he needs and that Stafstrom/King have just under 40. Apparently, Danny Roach has the rest and may emerge as the “King Maker.” Will he throw his support to Testa or Stafstrom/King? I have no idea. Although I’ve been told Roach had a meeting this afternoon with Stafstrom and Finch. Were they able to win him over? Only time will tell. As soon as I hear anything I will get word to the blog.
    This is going to be fun!

  8. Bridgeport, the city where the circus never left town. What a bunch of retrograde reprobates, hucksters, con artists, hustlers, bunko artists, etc. ad nauseum. A pox on all their houses. Will I ever see any good return to our fair city in what is left of my lifetime?

  9. flubadub: Your eloquence in describing Bridgeport politics is only surpassed by your mastery of euphemisms. But the answer to your question is, yes! Even though you may have to wait another 3-1/2 years.

  10. Yahooy:

    Announcement? No, just an observation. At his current learning pace, in 3 1/2 years Moonbeam might just be up to speed with the requirements of the job. On the other hand, he might not. Then it’s a whole new ballgame.


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