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Will Ganim Get Back In The Game?

November 14th, 2014 · 57 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics

Joe Ganim, Blumenthal, Paul Ganim

Former Mayor Joe Ganim, left, chats with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and his brother Paul Ganim in front of Wilbur Cross School on Election Day.

About 10 months from a Democratic primary–if there is a Democratic primary–Mayor Bill Finch has amassed a mighty $300,000 campaign warchest in his quest for a third four-year term next year. Several potential candidates have expressed interest in running for mayor while one high-profile pol, former Mayor John Fabrizi, has pulled out, sobered by the daunting process to raise money to wage a competitive contest.

The mayor who was the first elected to a four-year term in city history, Joe Ganim, never completed the term, replaced by Fabs, then City Council president, in April of 2003 when Ganim was forced from office following his conviction on federal corruption charges. Ganim toyed with running in 2011 following his release from the joint. He’s been making the rounds chatting with city pols to test the strength of a comeback, even schmoozing pols and voters at polling places Election Day, accompanied by his brother Paul, judge of probate.

For all his baggage, there’s still some nostalgia for Joe in some neighborhoods that saw progress and 10 years of no tax increases.

Among the candidates considering a run, former mayoral candidates John Gomes, Bob Keeley and Charlie Coviello, as well as school board member Howard Gardner and retired city police officer David Daniels. Can any of them can raise money to wage a competitive race?

Finch will have all the money he needs plus development projects teed up that he can boast on the campaign trail next year. Can he hold the line on taxes or at worst a small increase? When it comes to the competition, it’s not what Finch spends so much as what the opponent spends.

Someone like Ganim, if he gets in, doesn’t need as much as the others. Good, bad or ugly, many voters know him even though he’s been out of office more than 11 years. A poll recently commissioned by John Fabrizi shows Ganim plays well in some areas of the city, not so in others. Ganim’s buddy, former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci lost his bid last week to reclaim his old job after he was forced from office more than a decade ago.

Supporters of Mary-Jane Foster, Finch’s 2011 primary opponent, are waiting to see if she goes again or sits it out.

On the Republican side two-time mayoral candidate City Councilman Rick Torres is pondering another run.

Other candidates could emerge, but based on the possibilities who would be your choice for mayor from the following field whether primary or general election? (Feel free to add names.)

Bill Finch

Joe Ganim

Mary-Jane Foster

David Daniels

Howard Gardner

Charlie Coviello

John Gomes

Bob Keeley

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57 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I will not vote for Joe Ganim, he does not keep his word. It’s time to put him, Fabrizi, Keeley and Coviello to rest.

  • Ron Mackey

    Joe Ganim, without a doubt Joe is number one for me. He did the crime and he did the time, I truly believe in second chances. In dealings with Mayor Bill and Joe Ganim I found Finch will tell you a lie at the drop of a hat, as for Ganim, if can’t do something he will tell you and not tell you a feel-good lie like Finch. Mary-Jane Foster has not said anything about running so I will leave her name out. Like it or not there are a lot of voters who like Joe Ganim no matter what.

  • WittyUserName

    What about Chris Caruso? Is he still in the game?

  • Harvey Weintraub

    I’d vote for Ganim in a second, it scares me to think of Bill Finch for another four years.

  • Jimfox

    I like Joe Ganim, he ran this City without a tax increase for 10 years, while Finch taxed many people out of their homes for the last seven years.
    It’s great to be green, but this is a poor city and being green is a luxury we can’t afford at this time.
    On one side of the coin Finch wants this city to be green at the taxpayers’ expense, while he lets the UI Co. choke our kids and seniors to death, and adding to the global warming crisis.

    Joe Ganim and John Fabizi have done the most for this city, John has given us all the new schools being constructed right now, and Joe gave us the Arena and Ballpark at Harbor Yard and it was Joe who started the Steelpointe project.
    Finch has been playing the part of a caretaker so long, he has nothing to call his own.
    We will not see a dime from Bass Pro or any other retailer on Steelpointe for the next 20 years, that’s if Bass Pro is even coming.
    So what’s next on Steelpointe, Bill; Nino’s Italian Ice?
    If it comes down to Ganim vs. Finch, I’ll vote for Joe!

    • Steven Auerbach

      Jim, now who is the ass? Ten years of corruption, sure let’s give him four more years. I guess the Steelepointe lawsuit caused by Ganim’s pay to play scenario has temporarily been forgotten. It was John Fabrizi who got the ball rolling but it is Bill Finch who will have bricks and mortar. So many new voters who will learn about Ganim and older voters who will never forgive him. Not a revaluation and a tax increase can change the captain at this point. My money is on Finch.

  • Steven Auerbach

    I am laughing my ass off. Lennie, is this a last-ditch effort to give Joe Ganim relevance? Typical only in Bridgeport. One could only imagine Steelepointe in his hands. LAUGHING MY ASS OFF. I haven’t heard anyone mention Mary-Jane Foster and I think she would make a wonderful mayor. I think John Fabrizi would be great. Joe Ganim may be a nice guy. A lovely family. The footage and newspaper articles would send Bridgeport back to a very very very sad place. Bill Finch is not going anywhere. I could not imagine anyone other Ron Mackey financially supporting Joe Ganim because with all of Joe’s convictions, Bill Finch is not worthy? Totally embarrassing. It all comes down to taxes and development. John Fabrizi is a wise man. Joe Ganim, really? His vision would be? The comeback kid? Not gonna happen, I know it, you all know it and Bill Finch knows it. Lol, who is Ernie going to support? Joe Ganim? Mary-Jane Foster? Steelepointe, Steelepointe, Steelepointe. Lennie, you gotta stop mentioning Joe Ganim. His dossier is scary. Oh I know, Charlie Coviello can work his ass off for him. :-) Politics is very strange, but the people of Bridgeport are just not that stupid.

  • Jimfox

    Steve, take the Musto lawn sign out of your ass for one minute. Bill Finch needs to put his thumbprint on something he can call his own, what the hell has he done so far but take the taxpayers’ money and give it to his friends like Sal and Manny? The budget keeps going up every year, our streets are in the worst shape, he shortchanged the BOE year after year by 3.5 million, and he sucks at blowing snow.
    So tell me what the fluck has he done for you?

    • Steven Auerbach

      Roads were not decaying under Ganim? There was development under Ganim? Jobs created? The city was bankrupt, Weicker helped Ganim the way Malloy is supporting Finch. Downtown is moving forward. Under Ganim, nothing! The money for the Arena could have rehabilitated the Poli and Majestic theater. Granted people felt good about the City but what we found out after 10 years in office is best forgotten. His family will never survive the rehash of his non-apologetic tenure with the City and the money money money money taken from the taxpayers and developers to enhance a greedy lifestyle. Ganim was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and why people would forgive him and hand over the keys to the kingdom is way beyond my comprehension. These days, I’d just assume Joe Ganim choke on his silver spoon. I forgave him years ago. His wanting another ride on this train just shows the size of Napoleon’s balls. That shipped has sailed. Ganim should enjoy his family and his career. Why remind people of Bridgeport’s darkest hour. Do not compare Finch to him. I wish Ganim well in the private sector.

  • Bob

    Just like with the unrepentant felon who got defeated in August’s primary, Joe Ganim, for better or worse, is also an unrepentant felon who VIOLATED HIS OATH OF OFFICE!!!
    Lennie, most of the list provided above is just more of the same old same old. Only three of the names mentioned deserve attention and only two of them have any idea how to rehabilitate Bridgeport.
    Mary-Jane Foster and John Gomes are those two. Dave Daniels is an unknown entity, but is a leader, however with no business experience.
    The rest are a pile who have either harmed Bridgeport in one way or another or been in the “game” (and it ain’t a game) for personal gain.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Foster and Gomes, I like them both, as well as Finch. It’s going to probably be a very very very quiet election cycle. I do not see any changes.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Run Joe, run!

  • Maria Pereira

    I lived in New Haven and Philadelphia during the majority of his administration so I don’t remember much about his corruption case, however I would definitely be willing to meet with him and speak with him. I met with Tom Foley but could not support him based on his urban education platform. We did however have an interesting conversation.

  • DavidDanielsIII

    SMH.

  • Maria Pereira

    Steve, it means “shaking my head.”

  • Maria Pereira

    Convicted felons being re-elected to office is not unusual. Here is a link about a state representative in Texas who was just re-elected and he has had one issue after another. If you Google “convicted felon re-elected” you will probably be surprised at how many articles and news stories come up.
    www .ijreview.com/2014/11/199771-corrected-worst-legislator-of-2013-won-re-election-by-a-landslide-despite-felony-indictment-and-was-then-convicted-3-days-after-his-epic-win/

  • Bridgeporteur

    I think Howard Gardner is the one with integrity and brains who could pull a lot of people out. I also think Ganim is more popular than Finch in this City at this time and I believe in second chances. As far as Steelepointe goes, there should not be any bragging going on by Finch, but a huge apology from everyone involved to the people of Bridgeport.

    • Ron Mackey

      Bridgeporteur, how could Howard Gardner pull out a lot of people when he is probably the least known candidate who has their name out there to run for mayor?

      • Bob Halstead

        Ron, he is a new face and that is what a lot of people are looking for. There is a tremendous anti-Finch sentiment among the Bridgeport populace. Gardner is pretty well known amongst the opposition and could have a lot of volunteers working for him.

        • Joel Gonzalez

          Bob, if people are looking for “a new face,” then why is it when people vote, they vote for the one they know or heard of (name recognition)? A new face doesn’t mean much if voters can’t make a connection between the face and name. The biggest challenge for most challengers is going to be being recognized by voters. Who are you and what have you done?–the question voters will be asking.

        • Mustang Sally

          Not to diminish Gardner’s obvious intelligence, integrity, and probable ability to make good choices, he won’t beat Finch the first time out. He has much to learn about running for Mayor in a Democratic primary; the types of lessons that can only be learned by doing it.

          An insurgent can wage a tough primary, and in a long shot, even beat Finch. Not that a very strong candidate can’t beat an incumbent with less money, that absolutely CAN happen. But comparing apples to apples, Finch is $300K ahead of the game and Gardner has no published experience in raising lots and lots of moola.

          The above-mentioned candidates would do well to identify the BEST of the lot and pool ALL their collective resources on behalf of her. (Oops, did I say her?)

          It does take a village, folks; and in this case UNWAVERING LOYALTY AND VOLUNTEERING. The whole time. No bullshit. Raising money, tight strategy, relevant and consistent messaging, strong campaign management, constant research, and a GREAT field operation.

          • Joel Gonzalez

            Are you really volunteering?

          • Mustang Sally

            Joel, why would you ask me that? I said nothing about me volunteering or otherwise. But for the sake of the ask, I will leave you with this. My volunteer commitment during the last mayoral race extended to almost a year after the election. Did yours?

          • Joel Gonzalez

            I assumed you were part of the “village” you made reference to. I actually went on for three years since the last mayoral campaign. Funny how you and I went on for a while after the election while the candidates went into hibernation.

  • Donald Day

    I’ve talked to a lot of black folks in Bridgeport and each one without exception would love to have Joe back as mayor. They all said they could put what he did behind them because of how much better their lives were under his leadership.

    Mayor Ganim, we talked on election day and I told you then and I’ll tell you again let me know what I can do to advance your cause. Blacks and women were getting hired as police and firefighters unlike under Finch where the lowest number of hires have been black in 30 years and for the first time in 25 years no women were hired.

    But on a side note we’ve hired more suburban white males for both police and fire than we have in 20 years. Good job, Mayor.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Donald Day and Ron Mackey, while you are talking to the black community as though they are a unique group and not Bridgeporters and taxpayers, what about David Daniels III and Howard Gardner? If we are talking black votes what, they are not pillars in the black community??? Charlie Coviello has a large black following. Oh yes, John Fabrizi and Bill Finch the current Mayor have a huge huge huge black following. I as most people will not be voting by the color of my skin. I could care less which of the candidates my “white” neighbors are voting for. Could care less who my Jewish neighbors are voting for. I would definitely be concerned about the Hispanic community as they are the fastest-growing voting bloc in the city–oh yes, they love Bill Finch. So how about a candidate with vision and credibility, not an ex-convicted non-apologetic candidate?

      • Joel Gonzalez

        Steven, if I put drugs in your hands and you get arrested for it, are you the only guilty party? Let me remind you what Joe Ganim was convicted for was approved and put on his desk by the majority on the City Council and in particular the Chairmen of the Council Committees. The same way I left you with the drugs in your hands when the authorities arrived, Joe Ganim was left holding the bag, likewise. If there is one reason I’d like to see Joe Ganim enter the mayoral race in 2015, it would be to see and heard the debate/give and take between Joe Ganim and Bill Finch. BTW Steven, next time, flush the product. Keep your mouth shut and I’ll take care of you while in jail. :-)

  • Bob Halstead

    A lot of people would get to know Gardner. When they talk to him face to face they will get a good impression. Interesting points you both made. With the name recognition point, it is the name recognition of Finch and how people will vote against him, is what I’m talking about. I also think Gardner would do well in the black community. A decision has to be made soon.

  • charlie

    The majority of the population is black or Hispanic. I find it difficult to believe there are no qualified people to represent the population. Somewhere in the city there must be a qualified non-professional politician who is not a thief.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Donald Day, Ron Mackey, your support of Joe Ganim is not only questionable and disturbing but to say you have spoken to many black people and they would vote for him is also disturbing and questionable. WHY WOULD BLACK PEOPLE VOTE FOR GANIM??? I know many many many many black people in Bridgeport. The thought of Ganim is vomitus to them. They live all over the city and are not dependent on city jobs and unions. They see him as a thief and a poor role model. They see him as an embarrassment. To verbally come out in support of Joe Ganim, both of you at this time has made me question again your enthusiastic support for Marilyn Moore and why you think it is appropriate to overlook other candidates in support of an unrepentant convicted felon who destroyed the image of Bridgeport and stifled development for 10 years. There is nothing you guys could say against Finch that could rationalize your support of Ganim.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Steven, just about every project Joe Ganim was convicted on was approved by Contracts and Appointments Committee Chairmen Bill Finch and other members of the committee at the time. There is nothing you could say that could erase the fact many others knew and participated in perpetrating the crimes for which only a dozen were convicted. Like I’ve said many times before, “The difference between Joe Ganim and many others is they haven’t gotten caught yet.”

    • Ron Mackey

      Steven Auerbach, that’s what is so good about America, we have the right to disagree and vote or express what we feel without the government doing anything to us. If Joe Ganim does decide to run for mayor he will be questioned about his past and he will give account of what he did. Steve, a lot of know people who have run afoul of the law, family members, friends, co-workers and we have seen people change their life but there are those who didn’t. I will not put a life sentence on Joe Ganim’s ability to run for public office. In the past I’ve supported Chris Caruso and Mary-Jane Foster in their effort to be mayor but as of now they have not placed their names out there to run. To me, it’s about business. Ganim would come into office on day one knowing what to do and how to do it, he would not need a learning period like most of those who have said they want to mayor but that will be up to the voters. I’ve spoken to a lot of white voters who have said, “boy, I sure wish Joe were mayor because Finch is terrible.” Finch is mayor ONLY because the leadership in the DTC did not want Chris Caruso to be mayor because they knew they couldn’t control him so the only person out there to save them was State Senator Finch who did not want to be mayor but he was drafted and then only won by 270 votes. The best thing I can say about Finch is he will tell a “lie” to anybody.

  • Jimfox

    Steve,
    So far you’re the only one on this blog supporting Bill Finch! Come to think of it, you were the only one supporting Musto!
    Steve, do you find yourself doing any of these things?

    Frequently washing hands, showering, or brushing teeth or overusing items to hide body smells
    Constantly cleaning, straightening, and ordering certain objects
    Repeatedly checking zippers and buttons on clothing
    Checking lights, appliances, or doors again and again to be sure they are turned off or closed
    Repeating certain physical activities, such as sitting down and getting up from a chair
    Hoarding objects, such as newspapers
    Asking the same question or saying the same thing over and over
    Avoiding public places or taking extreme measures to prevent harm to yourself or others
    Religious rituals, such as constant silent praying

    Steve, it sounds like you have OCD to me, just saying.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Jimfox, how about checking for bugs?

    • Steven Auerbach

      Jimfox, the only reason I supported Musto was because I believed he was more supportive of Steelepointe than Marilyn Moore. Now Moore will have to prove what she can do, especially to those who are not part of her fan club. I am hopeful for Moore. As for Finch, let me be clear. I have no personal relationship that holds me to Mayor Finch, and like DUH–I have no problem standing alone in support of Finch. My support of the Mayor totally outweighs all of the negative hot-air-filled people who are so Jesus-like in their forgiveness of a thief of his magnitude. The council did not approve $10,000 oriental rugs and $500 bottles of wine. BTW, I admire $10,000 oriental rugs and $500 bottles of wine. I have never questioned Joe Ganim’s sense of class. I also might add that was one of the things I actually liked about Joe Ganim, he did add class to an otherwise culturally deprived, illiterate society where $5 can buy a vote. I voted for Ganim twice.

  • Donald Day

    Thank God Steve, what you think, feel and/or believe isn’t of any consequence to me, or Ron I would suspect. My support for Marilyn Moore has absolutely nothing to do with my support for Joe Ganim as the next Mayor of the City of Bridgeport. My support for Joe has everything to do with the level of support he has demonstrated for the black community during his tenure as Mayor. My support for Joe is his commitment for diversity in the Police and Fire departments during his tenure as mayor. My support for Joe has everything to do with his keeping property taxes down for the residents of Bridgeport during his tenure as mayor. My support for Joe has everything to do with the fact, while he couldn’t do everything I asked of him, he never looked me in the face and told me a bald-faced lie. I can’t say that about ya boy Finch.

    In one of your posts you say it’s not about city jobs when in reality it is about city jobs. If it weren’t about city jobs, why would white males from the suburbs continually line up to take these jobs from Bridgeport residents and why would Mayor Finch continually make it more difficult for blacks and women to get these transformative jobs? I say transformative jobs because I understand first-hand how these jobs can change your life and if they can change your life then they can change the lives of your children. I understand how Bridgeport residents deserve these jobs after being educated here, living here, paying taxes here, having parents who live here, over the status quo, white males from the suburbs who have no connection to this city other than the tens of thousands of dollars a year that they take to Milford, Fairfield and other suburban communities.

    Ya boy Bill Finch has lead the exodus of city jobs in the police and fire departments from city residents to suburbanites in numbers that haven’t been seen in 35 years. These jobs that leave the city are taxpayers, homeowners and supporters of the local economy. What does Bridgeport get in return for this exodus of city money? Don’t bother answering, that’s rhetorical.

    Steve, feel free to question my support of Joe Ganim all you want because my life doesn’t revolve around having your support for or against anything this world has to offer. Finally, go talk to those many, many, many black folks you say you know and ask them if their life is better under lying-ass Finch or Joe Ganim and I am sure they most if not all will say Joe. What you and Finch underestimate is the capacity of black folks to forgive and let me assure you that is one of our biggest strengths because we’ve had to do it our whole lives, whether dealing with whites or other blacks.

  • Donald Day

    Steve, one other thing you say, it’s not about city jobs, but are you aware the unemployment rate for Bridgeport is 14.3% and for blacks between the ages of 18 and 25 it is 23.1%? So I guess it is about the jobs. What say you?

    • Steven Auerbach

      I say run Joe, run. I want to see Bill Finch crush him and end his delusions. I was hoping to sit out the next cycle and watch and observe. Run Joe, run–Steeleponte, Steelepointe, Steelepointe. I am certain there will be so much excitement and buzz, all of these little grumblings will be forgotten. Donald Day, you and Ron Mackey may not care what I have to say and it has no consequences, but I do care what you have to say. Even if you seem to only be concerned with your vision of the black community to the chagrin of the whole city of Bridgeport.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Donald Day, I said the black community in Bridgeport that was not dependent on city jobs or city unions found Ganim vomitus. That was the only reference I made about city jobs. Black people’s lives were better under under Ganim? Was he the President? I say let Joe Ganim run, I am curious how the “black” community is so quick to re-elect a convicted unrepentant convict to the highest office while Bridgeport is in the middle of a rebirth. The fact you are discounting other well-respected well-educated individuals in the “black” community is also questionable since the majority of the posts you and Ron Mackey make are generally concerned with only black issues, which is sad. You really need to expand your horizons. In my 45 years in Bridgeport I cannot remember any Mayor being biased one way or another to the Black, White or any shade in between community. I still cannot think of anything that was in Bridgeport during Ganim’s 10 years that made life extraordinary for the “black” community that hasn’t been magnified during the Fabrizi and Finch administration.

      • Ron Mackey

        Steven Auerbach, there are those on OIB who post about education, taxes, the City Council, redevelopment; so what is the problem with two black men discussing the concerns of blacks who pay taxes, vote, live and work in Bridgeport and if elected officials are doing anything to address their issues?

        • Steven Auerbach

          Ron, because you and Donald post as though you are the Voice of Black Bridgeport. YOU ARE NOT!

          • Ron Mackey

            Steven Auerbach, Donald Day and myself are the Voice of Black Bridgeport as much as you are the Voice of White Bridgeport.

          • Steven Auerbach

            Ron Mackey, I am not the voice of white Bridgeport. I do not see my city in terms of color, nationality or religion. I only speak for myself and I generally embrace all.

          • Ron Mackey

            Steven Auerbach, that’s mighty white of you, I’m glad your world is so perfect but I can’t say that about the black community but I do know one thing, you wouldn’t trade places with a black man who has the same financial status as you in Bridgeport.

          • Ron Mackey

            Steven Auerbach, when I see a mother I see a female who would have had to go through pain to birth a child, I don’t see a man, they are different but seeing everybody as the same is thereby overlooking the pain and suffering of that mother in birthing her child. Steve, there are all kind of differences in people.

      • Ron Mackey

        Steven Auerbach, you said, “In my 45 years in Bridgeport I cannot remember any Mayor being biased one way or another to the Black, White or any shade in between community.” Well Steve, the City of Bridgeport and the mayor lost two lawsuits based on not hiring blacks and Hispanics in the fire and police department, in fact in the fire dept. case the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the lower court decision would not be overruled, that case cost the taxpayers $5 million.

        You also said, “The fact you are discounting other well-respected well-educated individuals in the “black” community is also questionable.” Steve, Donald Day and myself are not discounting anyone, if these well-respected well-educated individuals have something to post on OIB they are welcome because there is nothing we can do to stop them, maybe you should encourage them to post something.

  • Local Eyes

    If Joe Ganim can’t get back into the legal game (law license), what makes him think he can get back into the political game?
    Also, Donald Day only talks about public service jobs and his stats are about demographics, not jobs!

    • Ron Mackey

      Local Eyes, the standards are different, in the political game it’s up to the voters. And what is your point about public service jobs, are you saying police and firefighters don’t work for a living?

    • Donald Day

      L Eyes, my post was demographics concerning city jobs. It was done to illustrate the point Finch is sending police and fire jobs to the suburbs while the unemployment rate on Bridgeport is twice as high as the national level and four times as high for black males from Bridgeport. City jobs should be for city residents.

  • Bond Girl

    Dennis Murphy.

  • Bob Walsh

    Dennis Murphy for Mayor???
    That ain’t gonna happen. His spouse would have to give up his job as bond counsel.

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