Two weeks from the September 10th primaries the wheels are turning … hopefully, not in mud.
Four years ago incumbent Mayor Bill Finch, facing a strong Democratic primary challenge from Joe Ganim, attempted a surreptitious route to the November general election for a second bite of the apple that turned sour.
Rather than petition Finch directly onto the ballot as an individual, Finch’s political operation rolled the dice on creating a new minor party with Rich DeParle, a Black Rock used-car salesman, as the straw man holding the spot for Finch on something called the Job Creation Party.
DeParle filed all the correct paperwork, including securing enough petition signatures to qualify for the ballot. He had even submitted his letter of resignation as the minor party’s mayoral designee. The problem came when the party organizers failed to meet the deadline for naming its endorsement. As a result, the party was disqualified from the ballot.
Finch could have easily petitioned onto the November ballot as an individual asserting this is the single most important election in city history and I want every possible voter to participate. Instead, his political handlers (fearing weakness) decided on a back-door minor party strategy that failed when the campaign manager botched the paperwork.
Four years ago Joe Ganim and Mary-Jane Foster petitioned on to the general election just in case the primary results were close enough to remain relevant in November. Ganim, by virtue of winning the primary, did not need the petitioning spot that Foster required.
In the end Ganim won the general election handily but Foster received the most votes by a non-major party candidate for mayor since 1983.
Fast forward to 2019 and it’s not at all surreptitious. State Senator Marilyn Moore has already petitioned onto the general election ballot as a candidate for mayor. So too, her primary running mates Chris Caruso for town clerk and Alma Maya for city clerk.
Now here’s the rub; Moore has been endorsed by the Connecticut Working Families Party to be its general election candidate. She must choose, if she loses the primary to Ganim, either the WFP line or the petitioning line as an individual.
State law does not allow a petitioning candidate to also own a party line. Now, if Moore wins the primary, ball game over, she will have two lines in the general election, both the Democratic and WFP because state law allows a candidate to appear on multiple party lines.
Yes, it’s hard to keep up with this stuff.
The reality? If Moore wins the primary she will be Bridgeport’s next mayor.
If Ganim wins the primary it’s not over because Moore has a spot in the general election.
Now for all our Republican friends, you’ll have a general election candidate. Will be it John Rodriguez, Dishon Francis or Ethan Book?