Bridgeport’s general election turnout of 33.67 percent last week was about one point above the statewide average for municipal elections, according to statistics released by Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. The turnout in the city was substantially higher than the mayoral election four years ago, driven by Joe Ganim’s presence on the ballot. The Democratic primary turnout was also about one third when Ganim startled incumbent Bill Finch. Ganim will receive the oath of office December 1. One of the locations under consideration for Ganim’s inauguration is McLevy Green Downtown. City Hall on Lyon Terrace and the Klein Memorial have been locations for mayoral inaugurals in recent history.
For the general election 20,660 city electors participated out of 61,368 eligible voters with petitioning candidate Mary-Jane Foster and Republican Rick Torres finishing a distant second and third respectively. In 2011, when Finch defeated Torres and petitioning candidate Jeff Kohut, 12,232 electors cast a vote for mayor. Torres received 500 fewer votes this cycle than 2011, that’s in part the nature of the beast in a seven-candidate field versus three. The raw primary turnout was the highest for a mayoral cycle in 30 years.
Comparing Bridgeport to other cities, Waterbury posted a 21 percent turnout, New Haven 18.51 percent, New Britain 34.43 percent, Milford 38 percent, Middletown 45 percent and New London 23 percent. Comparing area towns to Bridgeport, turnout in Fairfield was 39.49 percent in a high-profile race for first selectman, Stratford 34 percent, Trumbull 48 percent in which Republican First Selectman Tim Herbst survived a strong challenge, Easton 23 percent and Monroe 38 percent.
“Municipal elections typically have the lowest turnout when compared to state or Presidential elections,” said Merrill in a news release. “This year, figures were on par with municipal elections in recent years. It always strikes me as paradoxical that local elections, which have a strong and direct effect on our everyday lives, would bring out the smallest number of voters. I wish to thank and recognize those voters who made the effort to exercise their right to have their voices heard, as well as the registrars, town clerks, moderators and poll workers who made the administration of this election day such a success. I extend my congratulations to the winners and my appreciation to all the candidates for their commitment to public service.”