A Cigar, Prediction And Puff Of Smoke – John Gomes’s Absentee Ballot Primary Redux

September 2019, Gomes lit the cigar later that evening

Four years ago, a prescient John Gomes talked about absentee ballots as insurance against a machine-vote deficit. He was then assistant chief administrative officer supporting Mayor Joe Ganim’s reelection.

Ganim’s Democratic primary opponent State Senator Marilyn Moore won the walk-in vote 4,721 to 4337, nearly 400 votes.

The Ganim campaign’s absentee ballot operation added 967 votes to Moore’s 313, providing a 270 vote margin of victory. The result was challenged in court. A judge validated the outcome.

Fast forward four years with Gomes now Ganim’s Democratic primary challenger. According to unofficial returns Gomes achieved a machine-count lead of more than 400 votes. When absentee ballots were counted Ganim emerged with 4,189 votes, Gomes 3,953, a spread of 236 votes.

The absentee total that put Ganim over the top: 1,545 to 851.

Another OIB moment, for sure., considering the irony of political players involved.

Gomes says his campaign was sabotaged, adding we will hear more on that very soon. Perhaps another court battle?

Gomes has a spot on the Bridgeport Independent Party line for November so Tuesday’s vote is an appetizer for another food fight.

OIB story September 12, 2019:

Little things mean a lot in city politics, including celebrations.

Tuesday evening Deputy Chief Administrative Officer John Gomes, who’s been through a number of political wars, posed for an OIB photo in the parking lot of Testo’s Restaurant. Brimming a cigar after a long, long day on the campaign trail providing rides he was ready to marinate in the results, and party, in advance of an expected victory.

“We are celebrating tonight,” he declared.

Shortly after the polls closed the results trickled into the ballroom of Testo’s that poised ominous for Mayor Joe Ganim. His primary opponent State Senator Marilyn Moore had piled up an impressive series of precinct wins.

The air inside Testo’s was like a call into a casket. Hello, anyone in there?

As the night progressed, despite Ganim being down by a few hundred votes, Gomes did not despair.

“We will win,” Gomes said. “We have it covered.”

His reference was to absentee ballots.

He called it correctly.

“Remember that cigar?” he echoed playfully.

Time to light up. And he did … for the cigar that almost wasn’t.




  1. Few things are more irritating than when someone who is wrong is also very effective in making his point.
    Mark Twain

    Grabbing that photo was easy — prnting it was tasteless.

    1. Paul, I didn’t grab the photo I took the photo. The story, as noted, ran four years ago. I simply republished it, given the irony. John loves a good cigar, who knows, maybe at the end of this chapter he lights another in his favor.


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