For Raul Laffitte it may be Bridgeport Now or never.
The long-time city political operative and ex Board of Education transportation chief has formed a Political Action Committee “Bridgeport Now” that has raised $50,000 to invest in a mayoral campaign next year. It won’t be on behalf of Mayor Joe Ganim but an opponent “Because I believe what Joe Ganim is doing is moving the city backward.”
Laffitte, a Cuban community leader who lives in Trumbull, supported Ganim’s return to the mayoralty in 2015 but has soured on the mayor. While a political committee may spend unlimited amounts the effort cannot be coordinated on behalf of a candidate. That would violate Connecticut State Elections Enforcement regulations.
So what candidate could be at the top of Laffitte’s list to support? Assistant Chief Administrative Officer John Gomes who ran for mayor in 2011, operated the popular Red Rooster Deli, supported Ganim’s return and has held a city position since that time. He previously worked in mayoral administration of Bill Finch but was fired from the position after a confrontation with police during a raucous Halloween party.
Laffitte and Gomes are friends.
Gomes was initially hired as the Acting Chief Administrative Officer, a six-figure position, by Ganim and became “the hatchet man” following layoffs in 2016 in a government restructuring.
Gomes was eventually moved into the assistant CAO slot. Many political observers are surprised the mercurial Gomes has lasted more than six years with Ganim.
His relationship with Ganim is frosty and political insiders say he’s poised to make another mayoral run.
Bridgeport Now, see its latest financial report here, via Laffitte’s contacts, has amassed an early warchest backed by developers, contractors, realtors, property managers largely with Cape Verdean, Hispanic and Portuguese backgrounds. The multi-lingual Gomes is from Cape Verde.
Laffitte’s relationship with Ganim has been up and down for 30 years and there’s certainly disgruntled motivation to the PAC effort. Still, $50K (and climbing) is a sizable amount that has Ganim’s attention and may motivate him to kick up his fundraising energy with $123K raised for his mayoral reelection 2023 with no formally announced opposition.
It would create a peculiar set of circumstance with Gomes on the campaign trail while still holding down his city position. By state law a city employee cannot be targeted for seeking public office. Gomes, however, is not an announced candidate for office. Inside the building many city employees view Gomes as a bully. Is Gomes trying to set up a case against the city?
Gomes had trouble raising money as a candidate in 2011 so Laffitte’s PAC, if wired for Gomes, would certainly bolster his mayoral profile. Ganim operatives will keep their eyes and ears poised to any illegal coordination efforts between Bridgeport Now and Gomes.
Gomes had a prescient moment on primary day in 2019 when State Senator Marilyn Moore led Ganim with the walk-in vote. Gomes predicted the “insurance” of absentee ballots would swing the primary Ganim’s way. He was right. He sucked on a cigar in celebration.
Looks like Gomes may have a box of cigars poised for a 2023 mayoral run. Is he a real threat to Ganim?
Too soon to know. It depends on the configuration of the opposition and the mayor’s standing with voters.
(Editor’s note: Bridgeport Now is not affiliated with the community group Bridgeport Generation Now.)
Bridgeport Gen Now, better start unriging Bridgeport now.. 🙂
Extinguish that cigar in the ashtray.
Gomes is unsuitable due to his close ties with Ganim . He’s a flip-flopper the moment he announces! The politicaly-savvy Ganim will neutralize him up quicker than you can say Solo uno puede ser el mejor . ( only 1 can be the best )
I say Danny should run against Joe. Sometimes I feel he’s not always the supporter he seems to be, allowing Judge Lopes on the DCT, who has been an OBI contributing critic of G2,
In this PAC is the donor’s list available to see who’s donating?
Lennie let us know if G2 has a fundraiser at the Stress Factory. I want to cash it. 🤣
Donor list is posted in a link.
On paper, John Gomes has every right to run again for Mayor should he choose to. But a supportive PAC alone cannot and will not be enough to get him or anyone over the top in a Democratic primary. John will have to prove that he’s learned lessons from his failed 2011 run – 1. Hiring the right people (Marilyn Moore hiring debacle) 2. Raising money (John had MAJOR anathema towards making fundraising calls), 3. Having a firm grasp on the issues (John is great at speaking and earning people’s trust. But having firm knowledge of the issues that will resonate and activate donors/activists/voters alike is another story)
Is John Gomes capable of capturing the anti-Ganim zeitgeist? Yes. Will he? TBD.
The other question is – Is there truly enough anti-Ganim sentiment to for Joe to lose in a primary? TBD.
In my professional opinion, more than one credible challenger to Ganim in the Democratic Primary will firmly hand him a victory. Divided anti-Ganim sentiment will only result in re-election for Ganim. This is barring a barrage of scandals or impropriety from the Ganim administration, which I don’t see happening at this juncture. Challengers will have to hope for a scandalous shoe to drop to achieve victory.
**DISCLAIMER** I have consulted for the campaigns of John Gomes in 2011, Joe Ganim in 2015, Dennis Bradley in 2018 and 2020, and various councilpeople in 2021.
Who sells a Flucking Airport, for $10 million but was offered 13, so he can show a fast $9 million surplus this year for his reelection bid?
What other assets have been sold or missing?
It cost the Taxpayers of Bridgeport Millions and Millions of Dollars from day one, to keep Joe Ganim and his FELONIOUS Administration in office!
It’s Time New Broom!
Interesting to read the SEEC filing and see so many donors missing the occupation and employer information.