It sucks to lose a vote so close.
You grind it out for a year to become chief executive to come up short 251 votes.
John Gomes has a decision to make: eschew a court challenge and focus on November or drain precious weeks and resources on a long-shot?
Four years ago Mayor Joe Ganim’s primary win total was by 270 votes over State Senator Marilyn Moore sans a November ballot spot because she flubbed the signature process to become the candidate of the Working Families Party line. She once again failed this cycle to petition successfully for September’s primary, with the backing of her dubious political arm Bridgeport Generation Now Votes that wants to unrig Bridgeport of absentee ballot influence but mailed out 20,000 absentee ballot applications to Democrats, the largest mass mailing undertaking in city history.
Four years ago Gen Now financed the primary legal challenge and lost. Moore had nothing to lose because of her signature gaffe. She orphaned a write-in candidacy. Ganim was reelected handily.
City Councilwoman Maria Pereira, the pol parsing a potential court challenge on Gomes’s behalf – reviewing absentee ballot applications as a basis – lost heavily on the machines, elevated by absentees. Pereira is under criminal investigation for entering the vacant home of an elderly woman, suffering from dementia, in search of her absentee ballot. Video surveillance of the event was turned over to local and state investigations.
The woman’s daughter set up the video for fear her mother was being manipulated.
Investigators have contacted local elections officials in conjunction with the absentee ballot. State law is clear about who may handle an absentee ballot on behalf of another: a close family member or care taker. Pereira, who’d be the beneficiary of the vote, is neither.
Will Pereira be charged? Either way, this does not play well into Gomes’s narrative that funny business cost him the primary, even though his campaign operation focused heavily on absentees as well, led by Pereira who’s become the new queen of absentee ballots.
Let’s say Gomes manufactures a court challenge. That process will take an oxygen-sucking four weeks that could be better spent totally focused on fundraising and organizing his November ballot spot on the Bridgeport Independent Party line.
If he goes the court-challenge route Deputy City Attorney John Bohannon has a strong track record defending the city in election challenges.
Last year Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens ordered a new vote in the Marcus Brown-Jack Hennessy state house primary but that involved a couple of votes. Brown defeated Hennessy, and his campaign manager Pereira, handily in the redo.
It will be a high burden for Gomes to persuade a judge there’s 251 ways that would change the primary vote outcome.