With Spring, Mayoral Campaign Blossoms Take Shape

Mayor Joe Ganim, center, joined State Senator Dennis Bradley, left, for announcement to bolster East End police presence.

This first week of April is key as the mayoral campaign season segues into the bloom of spring. Mayor Joe Ganim, seeking another four-year term, will propose a modest tax cut in the budget proposal he presents to the City Council on Monday while his chief opponent State Senator Marilyn Moore finalizes the dollar figures for her first quarter campaign finance report that will determine her initial fundraising strength, or not.

Four years ago at this time, Ganim stunned many who predicted his past indiscretions stifled his fundraising ability to challenge incumbent Bill Finch. We all know how that worked out. Ganim raised enough dough, combined with an extraordinary retail outreach, to lance Finch in the primary on his way to a historic comeback.

Ganim is now back as the incumbent leveraging the power of incumbency. That means a tax cut representing about $150 to the average homeowner, trotting out economic development initiatives, paving streets, fixing sidewalks, yadda yadda yadda. Goes with the territory.

The larger question: can Moore present herself as the viable alternative?

Moore has been quiet on the public issues front, balancing her duties in the state legislature while raising money cramming multiple evening events in the city, suburbs and around the state including an event in West Hartford the other night featuring Ted Kennedy Jr.

From left to right: State Senator Matt Lesser, Marilyn Moore, Commissioner Of Early Childhood Beth Bye, Ted Kennedy Jr., and Commissioner of Higher Education Tim Larson at Moore fundraiser.

Thursday night, at the endorsement to fill the late Ezequiel Santiago’s State House seat, it was not lost on the many political operatives mostly in support of Ganim that Moore had missed an opportunity. Her city counterpart in the State Senate, Dennis Bradley, announced that day a partnership with Ganim to reopen a police precinct in the East End to address the recent spike in neighborhood crime.

Why hadn’t the Moore camp thought of that? She enjoys the same platform as Bradley. No, she does not represent the East End in the State Senate but she’s now presented herself as a citywide candidate for public office. It’s a missed opportunity, especially since Moore enjoys a strong relationship with Governor Ned Lamont. Ned’s ducking this mayoral battle but if Moore says hey Ned I’m doing this announcement for support of the East End, say all the right things, Ned will assert “Me Too!” He’s done the same for Ganim.

Moore represents the portion of Bridgeport that covers the North End, West Side and Black Rock, roughly one third of the city. Voters there like her by virtue of her reelections. But she’s largely unknown in the other two thirds of Bridgeport. Ganim’s name recognition in Bridgeport, in this Lenten season, is reliably placed between Jesus and Moses. That can be good or bad, depending on the power of your staff.

Voters have a way of parsing elected officials this way or that way. I like Moore as my state senator, do I prefer her as my mayor over Ganim? Depends on the standing of the incumbent and growth from the competition.

Right now Ganim’s in better shape for reelection than Finch four years ago, a disquieting notion to the anti-Ganim crowd. That’s because Ganim, an indefatigable retail campaigner, doesn’t have anyone of his campaign skill set running against him. Most city political operatives support him. Doesn’t mean he’s home free in the capricious world of elections relying on a number of factors.

Moore’s growth as a campaigner, finding that extra gear, is key.

Will Moore’s first quarter report show she has fundraising staying power? How will she emerge as a citywide campaigner? Can she inspire volunteers to join her cause? Who’ll join her ticket? Will a major event alter the course of the race?

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5 comments

  1. Ganim’s proposed less than one mil tax decrease is an election year stunt. A .8 mil rate decrease equates to a $64 reduction in property taxes on an $8000 tax bill. It appears he is about to propose a fourth consecutive budget without one extra dollar for our 20,400 BPS students.

    We have cut $38,000,000 and 231 positions in Ganim’s first three years in office. If we do not get a minimum of $16,000,000 this year, we will have made $58,000,000 in cuts over Ganim’s four years in office.

    Ganim and the City Council have severely underfunded our schools to the point that schools will be closed which will negatively impact our most impoverished students, destabilize school communities, and decimate property values where boarded up school buildings negatively impact neighboring property values.

    Ganim is an absolute liar and broke EVERY single campaign promise he made regarding education.

  2. Great picture above, Lennie. Who represents the PD in this photo-op? Don’t you want the Chief to be present to announce policing changes? Perhaps he is attempting to reduce the Overtime? By the way, the 2018 CAFR noted that in that FY ended June 30 2018, Police Overtime account was not one of the expense line items over-expended? How was it accomplished for that year? Is there a place where the number of active duty police on the force relative to the intended staffing is made public and regularly updated?
    If you open a site in a neighborhood, do not regularly staff it, will you expect to change the nature of incidents or expectations in that neighborhood? If it is about “feelgood” rather than commitments to “community policing” can we expect other sites opened at some time in the past and then allowed to die without staffing and without notice to each neighborhood to push up and blossom like spring daffodils?

    Budgets? For education the Mayor has told everyone to look to Hartford? On the one hand there is a lack of justice over time with the per pupil differential of money from the State to Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport. We all get that. But the Mayor ignores “knowledge” because he has not spent the time over the three years to understand the cutbacks forced to the BOE. And if he has failed to learn the financial picture, how can he guide the majority of the Council who look to the administration for guidance. (Imagine, 20,400 kids in the schools and the voting patterns indicate fewer than that number will vote out of the registered total in November. People see no connection between voting and change. But Ganim2 administration hasn’t shed 10% and more of staff. In fact he just increased pay for the manager’s union by 2% and that means his political appointees will follow suit.

    Put yourself back in your classroom days. Your quiz for the day is to “compare and contrast” Ganim2 approach to spending taxpayer funds. Nothing of significance or according to a plan with and commitment to the community of parents out there for Education. But pad your budget, neglect appointments to boards and maintain vacancies to control output, and when you move the Police and Fire pensions to MERS beyond your local control and currently must add funds to those accounts, likely blame it on Hartford?
    By the way when more than 45 Police Department officers showed up on Colorado Avenue in fall, 2017, how many booked in for four hours minimum of Overtime? Where do you go for info you can trust at this moment? Time will tell.

    1. Speaking of the P.D., has the Chief found a suitable residence in Bridgeport yet- as was “promised” during the intensive Police Chief nationwide search was going on?
      Is the Captain who hired attorney Bucci still at work or has his status changed and is perhaps collecting his rightful remuneration during the period of time it will take to adjudicate the case? In other words is he on the sick or injured book or other status?
      How is the internal affairs investigation going on that incident? The one that was “really nothing and overblown”?
      Do we have a time frame yet as to when it was actually turned over to IA vis-a-vis the date of occurrence, the contact with the attorney and then the “turning it over” to IA by the Chief? Inquiring minds want to know….. because in the end, this incident, along WITH MANY others WILL cost the taxpayers a bundle of cash.
      Can someone answer these questions?
      More to come…….

      1. We have the Police Chief trying to find a place to live in Bridgeport and now we have the endorse Democrats for the State Rep position Antonio Felipe also looking for a place to live in Bridgeport in order to keep their position, well it’s a little early for Felipe because he might not even get elected.

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