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Will Mayor’s Race Be A Yeller Or Yawner?

February 26th, 2015 · 38 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, News and Events

Diaz, Ganim

Will Ganim get in?

The special elections are over, March is on the horizon, time to segue to the city’s big enchilada: the race for mayor.

Less than seven months from a Democratic primary, there’s no formally announced candidate to challenge Mayor Bill Finch who’s seeking a third four-year term. If he wins reelection and completes the term he’ll be the second longest-serving mayor in city history behind Socialist Jasper McLevy who served from 1933-1957.

Bill Finch

Mayor Finch says city’s going in boom town direction.

The former mayor who is currently number two in years of service, Joe Ganim is making the rounds trying to build political support and a campaign infrastructure to challenge Finch. Dispatched from office in 2003 following conviction on federal corruption charges, Ganim fronted precincts on Tuesday’s special election gauging voter response for a possible comeback. In January Ganim issued a public apology at an East End church in his calculation for a comeback. A number of political operatives unhappy with Finch say they will support Ganim. A Joe Ganim for Mayor page was recently launched on Facebook.

Some say they’re not prepared to support Ganim openly until he actually gets in the game. As one district leader says “I’ll wait until he makes a decision. I’m not gonna cut my throat.”

If Ganim’s gonna get in he needs to make a decision soon to raise money.

Finch is coming off a politically difficult special election in which two State Senate candidates his political organization had supported, Ricky DeJesus and Ken Moales, were croaked by political nemesis Ed Gomes at the polls. Finch tried to insulate himself publicly by not announcing support for either DeJesus or Moales, but his political organization delivered the endorsement to DeJesus then pivoted to Moales after public revelations revealed DeJesus’ back tax and child support issues. Finch, creating distance from DeJesus, declared he should step out of the senate race.

Meanwhile city minister Moales, a controversial figure on the school board, has his own back tax issues with a day care facility he operates under the umbrella of his church. Moales performed poorly in the special election claiming not one city precinct.

There’s good news for Finch, irrespective of some political skirmishes: he’s well financed with more than $300,000 in the campaign treasury and counting. He enjoys the power of incumbency to make things happen with the Steel Point redevelopment area under construction on the East Side. He’ll have plenty of dough to make his case and cast doubts on Ganim, if Ganim gets in.

Mary-Jane Foster at the ballpark at Harbor Yard

Mary-Jane Foster, co-founder of the Bridgeport Bluefish, at the ballpark at Harbor Yard

Still to be heard from is Finch’s 2011 mayoral challenger Mary-Jane Foster who cracked 40 percent of the vote against Finch in a Democratic primary having been outspent by nearly two to one. She’s contemplating another run, but her window to raise money is shrinking. She brings a Black Rock base of support to the table with some strength on the West Side and North End. Her reach, however, into the black and brown voter communities does not measure up to Ganim’s anti-Finch support.

A Finch/Foster/Ganim primary would create an interesting dynamic for votes.

But if neither Ganim nor Foster challenge Finch, what would have been an electric campaign season would likely be a yawner because there’s no one else out there who could raise the campaign dough to be a viable alternative to Finch at this late stage.

Click link to see the special election Tally Sheet.

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38 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I can’t vote for either Joe Ganim or Bill Finch. This administration has enough skeletons in its closet to keep the Feds busy for years; here is an example.
    Let me put this out there for the people of Bridgeport to read and discuss. My hope is people with information on the wrongdoing of this administration will publish or add to what I have written.
    Which city higher-up has a gambling problem that forced him to borrow a substantial amount of money from a local individual? What city job was this individual given as a thank-you for the loan? I will give you a hint, it pays more than $60K.
    This same city official went to a city entity and asked for a check for $1,500 for his wife’s business and was told there would be no money in the budget to cover this entity if the check is not written. The check has been written.
    How do city hall high and mighty pay for their bar tabs?
    If you know of similar stories add to this post, who knows maybe the feds are reading OIB.

  • Harvey Weintraub

    The city hall high and mighty pay their bar tabs by padding the catering bills when there is a luncheon or something similar in the city. Isn’t this common knowledge, though? It’s been going on for years.

  • Maria Pereira

    It is ABSOLUTELY going to be a YELLER!!!

  • WittyUserName

    Regarding Ganim: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice …

    If it’s a two-way race, I’ll hold my nose and vote for Finch. I’ll gladly vote for MJF over Finch and Ganim, but would Ganim and MJF split the anti-Finch vote and hand Finch another term?

  • Lisa Parziale

    Maria, as usual I agree with you. We have to work together again!

    • Maria Pereira

      I am with you, Lisa. Quite a few people have signed on to defeat Mayor Finch. I am absolutely committed and feel confident Mayor Finch cannot win Thomas Hooker. Others have already committed to do the same in their districts. I feel confident we can defeat Finch.

  • charlie

    Ganim, haven’t you hurt this city enough? Get the hell a real job and stop bringing the FBI back to this State and city!

  • Ron Mackey

    Andrew C Fardy, okay, I need a hint, two little questions, has this person name been kicked around on OIB and has this person had other serious issues in the past?

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    Which candidates (and elected officials) will attend and speak at this public hearing?

    PUBLIC HEARING ON THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST BILL

    Monday, March 9th, 2015
    5:30 p.m.
    Bridgeport Public Library
    First Floor Meeting Hall
    925 Broad Street, Bridgeport

  • Steven Auerbach

    John Fabrizi just had dinner at the Cheese Cake Factory. Your friend Johnny Salami and his wife would like you to run. We enjoyed great dinner conversation and they sent their regards. He is a Republican, do I have to tell you how loud we got? :-)

    Good people.

  • Local Eyes

    Rumor Mill: OIB will be closing soon. Here’s why:
    Joe Ganim and Lennie have buried the hatchet because their common goal is to recapture City Hall, which they both miss.

    • LennieGrimaldi

      LE, I’ve spoken to Joe Ganim once in the past 14 years and that was a quick hi and bye on election day in front of Wilbur Cross School last November. The last time I was on the city payroll was 1992. Not going back.

      • Local Eyes

        I was using a Machiavellian tactic–his ghost rides shotgun in my car–to try to force you to establish your position concerning Joe Ganim.

        • John Marshall Lee

          Paul,
          Lennie has been consistent in reporting the extent of his relationship with former Mayor Ganim in recent years. Perhaps you have forgotten? Or has there been some other activity you have noticed that causes you to raise the ghost of THE PRINCE? Are you about “disclosure of relationship” or “establishment of position?” Time will tell.

          • Local Eyes

            JML, The Prince told me to float a rumor. To answer your question, I’m all about establishing a position. That’s the fun of me.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    The reason I posted this about a high-up city employee (appointee) was in the hopes others with similar knowledge would come forward with what they know is going on.

    • Ron Mackey

      Andrew C Fardy, look, you and I don’t always agree but when you are right I will say so, on this issue I know you wouldn’t bring this up unless you knew what you are talking about. This is very serious, there is real danger the City might get into legal problems with some of the decisions this person is making for the City.

      • Andrew C Fardy

        In some cases this person is using his position to blackmail certain entities that rely on the city for financing to further a relative’s financial gains.

  • John Marshall Lee

    In the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2014 the State of CT provided Total Assistance of $297 Million. During that same time period, the Federal Government provided $56,612,951. City taxpayers provided property taxes about $290 Million.

    As Tom Sherwood, Office of Policy Management, puts the 2015-16 numbers together and deals with estimates and limitations of these outside revenue providers, what will this year’s budget look like when it is unveiled and we get to assess the naked numbers to operated local government in the City? Who will get to look at the “abated cash flows” authorized by the City Council with OPED blessing? Will there be a change in budget presentation (as regards three-year view)? What risks loom for the City when revenue estimates from other governmental bodies loom so large in our annual scheme? When a large increase in mil rate is delivered to property owners right after the election, will the yelling then drown out all other citizen noise of the year?
    What if today’s Council voted to have the revaluation results published and available to the public before the election in fairness to taxpayers? Time will tell.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    John, we are or I am trying to expose corruption here, not budget stuff. How about tell the folks about the council stipends and such?

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Well folks, here is a little more or just the tip of the crooked iceberg. Remember a few months ago JML and I wrote about the council and its illegal activity. Tom McCarthy authorized the spending of $30,000 of taxpayer money to make donations to various charities. Ironically some of these council people are also members of the charities or nonprofit agencies such as Mike Marella and PAL, Amy Paniccia a member of a senior drum corps along with Mike Marella. The law prohibits such donations. Then we have the council people who used their city-paid debit cards to pay for their grocery Bills for a year along with their cable bills. My question is how long are people on this blog and people of this city going to put up with this illegal behavior.

  • Bob Walsh

    So Andy, did you call the FBI?
    I sat down with them on several occasions during the Ganim investigation. Contrary to rumors, they don’t bite. Give them a call.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Bob, I have been to them on three occasions, twice to report corruption and once when they tried to get me in a sting operation and that did not work.

  • flubadub

    From what little I know about political campaigns, it appears to me it is already very late (or too late) in the game to mount a credible run for mayor against the incumbent.

  • Ron Mackey

    Will Mayor’s Race Be A Yeller Or Yawner? Of course it depends on who the candidates are but Mayor Finch has done a lot of damage to his future reelection try by his lack of action and not speaking out about DeJesus and Rev. Moales’ financial problems with the City with their run to be a state senator. Finch seems confused about who he should have supported, first it was the endorsed candidate DeJesus until his tax issues came up then he dropped him, then he unofficially supported Moales even with his problems, so now the black community and the Hispanic community both have seen Finch is a sometimes supporter. This anti-Finch feeling is citywide and is building with all groups of voters. Mary-Jane Foster and Joe Ganim need to make a decision soon.

    • John Marshall Lee

      Ron,
      While Steve A. is having a Musto moment again, more property owners are latching onto November 15, where the incumbent will run for office and face election day in the first week of the month, and turn around to face the ire of a broad swath of taxpayers when the revaluation results are reported in letters to each property owner.

      There is a current valuation process to redo the 2013 results for presentation late this fall. But there is nothing stopping the City reporting the “raw results” as Sue Brannelly called it, or the cooler judgement of those who looked at the numbers and ordered them filed away, shredded or hidden from human view. How about the valuation firm itself? Would it look to its vendor agreement and not release any results unless asked to by the Mayor? Or would it cough those results up in a heartbeat with the right amount of request from a court, or prosecuting authority? Using governmental position to advance personal agenda is part of what 1-800-CALLFBI is about. Make a call. Time will tell.

  • Steven Auerbach

    It’s going to be a yawn … yawn.

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    Thus far I have been asked to rent my vacant apartment to Joe, and would I consider being his treasurer. Dear candidates, my house is for sale. Find a buyer and I will leave in the dark of the night never to be seen or heard from again in CT.

    • Ron Mackey

      Jennifer Buchanan, I’m sure you will find a buyer and I wish you the best but I hope you would reconsider the last part of your post.

      • Jennifer Buchanan

        Awww–have been asked by two Dem friends to sign an affidavit I will leave and find Democrats in other states to torture … All in good fun!

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