Examining Ganim’s Reelection Chances Midterm–A Mixed Bag For 2023 Campaign

Good shape, but work to do.

Two years ago Mayor Joe Ganim eked out a primary win scare over State Senator Marilyn Moore who won the walk-in vote total, crushed under the weight of the Dem party organization’s mighty absentee ballot operation.

Ganim cruised to a general election win with Moore reduced to a write-in candidacy role after operatives failed to qualify her for the Connecticut Working Families Party line that would have buoyed her a puncher’s chance of winning.

Moore senate Dems
Will Marilyn try again?

In the midst of a sleepy mid-term cycle featuring school board and City Council races Ganim will leverage the power of incumbency to improve his stead from two years ago when voters were turned off by a combination of factors including his peculiar run for governor in 2018 after voters, inspired by his second-chance message led by the black community, returned him to office.

Is Ganim in better shape today than two years ago preparing for reelection? Yes, but storm clouds  linger. He must pay attention to business.

His handling of the Police Department, taxes and city development will key another four-year term coupled with the level of opposition.

Will Moore seek the city’s top office again? She was right there two years ago with half the fundraising power of the incumbent, irrespective of a campaign with no real message other than she wasn’t Joe Ganim.

Could Bridgeport’s two state senators Dennis Bradley and Marilyn Moore engaged in mayoral primary action with Ganim? Bradley faces huge federal obstacle.

What is the future of Bridgeport’s other State Senator Dennis Bradley? He’s scheduled for trial early December to defend federal allegations of campaign finance fraud related to his 2018 run for the state legislature. If he’s convicted his political career is on hold. If he manages to beat it he’ll likely seek higher office.

The tax situation will improve for Ganim going into reelection. Barring something unexpected, he will not raise taxes the next two years. The current budget year built upon revaluation of taxable property is a murky brew of sorts for taxpayers: some up, some down, some holding steady.

The Amp is largest Ganim development accomplishment.

Ganim has development successes teed up or on line that’s changing the face of the city led by the boutique seasonal music amphitheater that has become a city showcase. Crucial to reelection is completion of developer Anthony Stewart’s Honey Locust Square featuring a library, grocery store, pharmacy, health care facility and jazz-themed restaurant along Stratford Avenue in the East End. It will go a long way to winning back some black voters turned off by Ganim’s gubernatorial ambition after buying into his comeback.

The Cherry Street Lofts project in the West End is another development win for Ganim, despite the project being announced under his predecessor Bill Finch. The financing of the project and its progress has happened under Ganim.

Will the Steelpointe Harbor redevelopment area that features Bass Pro Shops, a full-service marina and restaurants break ground on the housing component to fully build out the project?

Neighboring Park City Wind energy project and Bridgeport Boat Works are also areas Ganim can cite development growth.

Photo: Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media. Ganim messed up Perez appointment.

The Police Department is the wildcard of Ganim’s reelection. Ganim took a self-induced punch to his solar plexus after installing friend AJ Perez to permanent chief.

When Ganim returned to the mayoralty in 2015, he appointed Perez acting chief as a gesture to his loyalty during good times and bad, as well as fulfilling a campaign promise to the police union he’d dispatch Joe Gaudett as chief.

Rather than telling Perez, okay, I installed you in an acting role for two years we’re even with the house, Ganim selected him permanent chief. It was the worst kept secret in the cop house that the genial Perez lacked the brain firepower to finish among the top three finalists chosen by the mayor, per City Charter regulations. Perez prevailed upon two underlings to coach him on the application process as well as scheming with Personnel Director David Dunn to rig him an unfair advantage over other candidates including the test questions in advance and erasing traditional protocols required of such a position.

Both Perez and Dunn pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with the test rigging. Ganim was not charged in the scandal. Dunn says he had no contact with Ganim about the selection process.

Still, it’s been a gigantic toothache for Ganim who placed his friendship for Perez above strong management skills of the department. It bit him.

September, 2020, Ganim issues oath to Rebeca Garcia.

Ganim occupies a strange mulligan to get it right. A permanent Personnel Director is scheduled for appointment early November with a promise to expedite a national search process for a new chief (Rebeca Garcia has the job in an acting capacity) that will extend well into 2022. Whomever Ganim chooses will become the face of the department for a full year leading to his reelection campaign. He can’t afford major personnel gaffes in the cop house, nor government scandals.

Ganim’s solid base of support comes from the Hispanic community, validated by City Council President Aidee Nieves’ solid primary win. Ganim campaigned actively for her against forces aligned with City Clerk Lydia Martinez who recruited two candidates to oppose Nieves and council partner Maria Valle.

Neighborhood sore spots linger for Ganim:

Hooker School precinct in the Upper East Side where City Councilwoman Maria Pereira has consistently shown voter strength. Pereira loathes Ganim, but she’s not enamored with Moore or Bradley. Two years ago she basically sat out the mayoral primary. Will a candidate emerge Pereira can rally behind?

Batalla School covering voters in the South End and West End, and City Hall’s Downtown vote. Demographics have changed. Once solid organizational territory is no more. Downtown is young and engaged. Activist reformers, including Bridgeport Generation Now Votes, have a toehold in the Batalla and City Hall precincts.

Black precincts: Dunbar, Wilbur Cross, Hallen. This is where Ganim took out Finch in the 2015 primary. Black voters soured on Finch. Ganim became the change agent. Two years ago it was essentially a primary split between Ganim and Moore.

Ganim’s in better shape than two years ago, but he must pay attention to business to maximize reelection two years down the line.

Ya know what they say: grin and win, snooze and lose.

Ganim’s not a lock. Nor are his potential opponents.



  1. A lot can happen in the next 2 years.The thought of another 4 years of Joe making our city the center piece in the state for corruption,indictment after indictment,etc,makes me ill.
    Hoping he could possibly get his law License back,and make a living doing that instead of sucking our city dry year after year.
    A lot of the next Mayoral election process is hinging on Mario’s health also, once he steps down, the DTC will break into factions and be like piranhas with each other.It should be interesting to say the least. In the meantime,we wait for more indictments!
    Joe,what more can you take from Bridgeport??, time to move on.

  2. I read with interest this article on Ganim’s chances of winning reelection in two years. But as I was reading about all the positive things Ganim can point to as pluses in his political points column, I couldn’t help but thinking that it’s still just like putting lipstick on a pig. What Bridgeport needs is better leadership at all levels but particularly in the mayor’s office. Maybe we should just recruit candidates for mayor like you would look for a CEO. Write up a job description and put it out for bid so to speak. Couldn’t be any worse than what we’ve been doing. We deserve better than this, Bridgeport deserves better than this. The people of this city should organize themselves and throw this bum out.

  3. John, agree with you on everything..How sad is it though that Dennis Bradley wants to give it a go IF he can beat his felony indictment, Bridgeport deserves better than ex-felons and indicted individuals who can “ beat” the charges they are accused of..

    1. We can’t continue this merry go round of amoral, unprofessional, leadership in city hall. I think we should look for people who are accomplished members of our community in good standing and ask them if they would be willing to serve their community in the capacity of an elected official for a few years. Of course, we would have to develop an underlying support system of grassroots organizing support for these folks. We couldn’t rightly ask them to serve with no ground support. I really think we need to do something like this. We can’t just sit around, waiting for some honest, capable individual to come along, who wants to be a part of this political circus. It’s not going to happen. We need to be proactive at this point, I think. I find it hard to believe that the people of Bridgeport find this political Peyton Place of politics appealing. If we can find the right candidates, I think the people of Bridgeport would consider forming a coalition of voters to exert their will on the political process. After all, it’s not that hard to take a few minutes out of our time, once every two years to vote. That’s not a lot to ask, in order to improve our city and our own lot along with it.

      1. Jon,are you new to Bpt??…”look for people who are accomplished members of our community in good standing and ask them if they would be willing to serve their community in the capacity of an elected official for a few years”…, LOL,that’s not the way it works here. In Bridgeport,Mario decides who the candidate will be,the rest of the DTC agrees with him,and throw their full support to said candidate,if someone disagrees with the choice, they will not get endorsed themselves,or them or family members will lose their given jobs in the city.
        “Look for people who are accomplished members of the community”.. HAHA, that’s a good one.

        1. Uh, no Harvey, I’m not very new to Bridgeport. I’ve lived here maybe 10 years now. I am familiar with the political problems here and I just thought that I would start to comment on this page. I am an avid observer of current events, social issues and politics and I just thought that it was time to get involved in some way. So, you don’t think that a person can run for political office in Bridgeport without the endorsement of Mario?

  4. It’s hard to say, much better with Biden in office than Trump. but the racial element/game is percent. We will see how, if it, fliers up.

    Joe is going to need more coverage in the black community though, like when Apollo trained Rocky to get his Eye of the Tiger back. This is why I could see Marcus taking the reign of City Council president over the embattled Nieves

    You have three visible contenders Sen. Moore in a rematch, Sen. Bradley, and Rep. Rosario.

    Who is the strongest of the three to give Jow a knock-out punch in the Democrat primary and general? I say the general because I would bet if Joe lost in a primary he would petition for the general. JMO

    Sen. Moore seems to be more susceptible to blacks than Bradley though his political rhetoric can fire up blacks. However, I would think he will lose much of Blackrock’s (white) support that Moore enjoys, considering his political/legal issues.

    While Rep. Rosario enjoys the largest minority demographics group in the Port. I think it is too early for it to be a political factor for strategic calculation like it is for the black voting block that is knocking on Joe’s (white) reelection dooor.

    As JML likes to say time will tell, and eventually the Latino voting block is going to be just as relevant, if not more as the black voting block in the Port, considering the Latino is the largest demographic in the Port.

    What is most definitely Joe will mark the end of an era of white mayors in the Port for a while. The question is when? In two or six years?

    As I said, he has a shot to win one more with Biden in office. You most likely not going to have the media blits like it was against Trump stirring the racial debate. Black lives seem to matter now. No protests/rioting, media news reports/coverage of police abuse, or social posts on how racist and white privilege America is.

    AOC’s not crying at the border, and social media is just as silent. I read many, many posts on social media about how Trump (R) is racist over the border crisis. Barely a blip on the black Haitians and their treatment. However, it is still there just needs the right angle and not much, this current CRT shows us.

    Is it ok to be racist if you are racist against whites? I ask that question because what these people doing to these two white kids/students is no different than when whites did it to blacks that started the Civil Rights Movement. for equality.

    Can police live matter? Does Lennie Blackwell’s life matter when he puts on his police uniform along with many other black officers? JA


  5. Jon
    I will take your question / statement as serious.
    Firstly, a CEO is similar to a mayor but they are not the same. A CEO reports to the shareholders while a mayor reports to the general population.
    A huge difference.
    You may not be able to find a CEO who would work in the political environment.
    You could try to change the structure of the government.
    Have a City Manager and a separate Mayor.
    I know Stratford had a Manager Mayor form of government but they voted it out a went with a Mayor.
    Secondly is compensation. Most CEO’s would say you can’t pay me enough and a probably right.

    1. Hi Bob, I was just spit balling ideas due to the nature of our our political difficulties here in Bridgeport. I’m kind of at a loss for understanding about where we go from here. What do you see as a viable course of action, regarding a path forward for this city?

  6. I have always maintained if Bridgeport is going to change it would have to start from within.
    And it would have to set aside a lot of these rivalries and petty differences.
    Someone must ride to the occasion.
    They could be an accomplished politician or never have run for office before.
    But they must want it and want it bad.
    It will take a commitment that sometimes you will question yourself.
    And you will need an organization city wide.
    It doesn’t have to be 10 districts but somehow built along the same geographical boundaries.

    1. Ok, that all makes sense Bob, but couldn’t we find and recruit this person because it just seems to me that waiting for someone to come along that fits the bill, could take quite a long time? I don’t know this for sure but I’ve got to believe that the people of the City of Bridgeport are ready for some new ideas about how to move forward. This city has endured more than its fair share of disappointing results from less than honest, capable leadership, for far too long now. What do you think about organizing the community first, around the concept of being proactive in its efforts and within that process either someone will emerge or the group could actively seek to recruit someone?

  7. Jon A Pulverent, Bridgeport had that choice that you alluded to for mayor when Senator Marilyn Moore ran against Joe Ganim, yet the city of Bridgeport and some of the posters in this forum would rather have a convicted felon. We can excoriate Mayor Ganim to hell and back but the problem seems to be with those residents that are happy with substandard leadership and a Mayor that continues to shit on the city that he is supposed make a better place to live, work and raise a family. Jon A Pulverent, don’t blame Mayor Ganim for the sad state of affairs that Bridgeport finds its self, blame those voters that continue to vote for him, that which is not in their best interest. The bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why does he rob banks and his reply was, “that’s where the money is.” Mayor Ganim can be asked, why do you keep messing over Bridgeport and his response could be because these fools keep electing me.

    1. Good afternoon Don, you give new meaning to the term seize the Day. I can appreciate what you say but I would just ask you this, can any good works of civic involvement, including any elected officials, be sustained until or unless there is sufficient grassroots support among the people of Bridgeport? My point being that until there is a concerted effort of organized support at the grassroots level, for the political process, I don’t think we can ever expect anything more than chaos and dysfunction in Bridgeport politics? Whatdoyouthink?

    2. Don,you are point when you said, “don’t blame Mayor Ganim for the sad state of affairs that Bridgeport finds its self, blame those voters that continue to vote for him, that which is not in their best interest.” Don, I’m going to start first with blacks and how we were hood-wink by Joe Ganim with the help from Rev. Stallworth. This is just part 1.

      “Ganim at East End Baptist Church – Apology”

      On January 1, 2015 in the East End church of Rev. Charlie Stallworth, Joe Ganim launched his historic comeback for mayor with his first public apology before a forgiving audience of worshipers at a New Year’s Day emancipation event following his 2003 conviction on public corruption charges. Video above. Now in an OIB twist Stallworth is posturing for Ganim’s job.

      Ganim had declared for more than a decade that he did nothing wrong but has since, out of political pragmatism, turned a conviction into a second-chance credential.

      Ganim’s six minutes at the pulpit lectern was part reminiscing, part apology, part coalition building punctuated by an embrace from Stallworth who is also a member of the State House representing the 126th Assembly District. It kicked off informally a surreal election season in which Ganim challenged and defeated incumbent Democrat Bill Finch in a close primary on his way to a big general election victory.

      1. This event on January 1, 2015 in the East End church of Rev. Charlie Stallworth, Joe Ganim launched his historic comeback for mayor with his first public apology before a forgiving audience of worshipers at a New Year’s Day emancipation event following his 2003 conviction on public corruption charges. This is a very special day to black Americans nationwide, it’s the day that President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” What does Rev. Stallworth do, the guest speaker is Joe Ganim and Ganim stands there in the church’s pulpit and he NEVER said that he was sorry for his crimes and he NEVER showed any atonement for his crimes. Ganim said this in front of the newly elected officers of the NAACP and the newly elected officers of the (IMA ) a organization of black ministers who all were to be sworn into their newly elected positions. This was Joe Ganim’s come to Jesus moment and apologize and he used and played black ministers to restart his political career. The black ministers, the voters and the black community got nothing for voting for Joe Ganim, when will we learn.

  8. Lennie
    You forget to mention or I didn’t see the infusion of capital projects thanks to Joe Biden.
    I’am sure Joe will take credit for all things Build Back Bridgeport Better!

  9. Now Joe let’s take the BHA. I refuse to use its new name.
    What are you going to do about the mess?
    Write another letter saying pretty please give them an extension?
    I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you and the board members move into the Greene’s and stay there until there is significant and meaningful improvement.
    Sounds good to me.
    Quit asking for more time. Times up!!

  10. And Aidee, are you mulling this over?
    Why don’t you set up a committee to meet on this problem but don’t enact any changes. Some one might think you are culpable.

  11. Jon
    I will tell you what to do.
    Get two people from the 10 city council districts.
    Sound simple enough.
    Then get them to show up at each City Council meeting.
    I realize that the meetings are zoom right now so that should be even easier.
    They don’t even have to speak. Just show up. Soon enough someone will ask you what do you want.
    Then really fluster then by saying nothing. You just want to see how the city runs.
    If you can get 40 people every other week for six months you will be well on you way to starting something meaningful. See if you can do it.
    If the city council sees at least 40 people at a meeting for 6 months you will have their attention and you can start DEMANDING change.
    Try it. Starting NOW!

    1. That’s an interesting suggestion Bob. These comments are my introduction to the Bridgeport political scene. I’m not sure I’d be able to get people who don’t know me, to do something like that. But I’ll tell you what, you meet me at White’s Diner for breakfast some time and we could talk about it. I’m looking very closely at doing something meaningful, here in Bridgeport. If you’re interested in hearing about it, you can take me up on my offer. Let me know, if so, I’ll call you to set it up.

  12. And if you really want to shake things up, have a couple of people taking notes or at least look like they are taking note or snap a few pictures with you.cell phone.
    Also after each meeting ask the people why they voted like they did.
    Could be on anything. Just why did you support that or why did you vote against that.
    Being answerable to the public is considered a no-no in Bridgeport politics.

  13. Let’s look at Joe Ganim’s biggest supporter, Steven Auerbach, this is what Stevie said about Joe Ganim in 2014.

    Steven Auerbach says:
    June 28, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I would like to know the idiots who would invest in a Ganim campaign. Who would give the keys to the kingdom to him? Does anyone hate Bill that much to put Joe back in office? No! Bridgeport is ready to move forward. We will most likely put Finch back in office only if Steelepointe is moving beyond Bass Pro. If not, perhaps we are ready for a political neophyte who can market the City without dependencies on State funds.
    I think the media and opposition will show no mercy and absolutely destroy Ganim and humiliate his family. Is it really necessary? Lennie, you may store this for future commentary. Joe Ganim is a nice guy. His actions speak for themselves. The fact he is able to run is a travesty.

    1. What made Steven Auerbach changed his mind about Joe Ganim was that his main guy Bill Finch, lost to Joe Ganim so Little Stevie A does what he does best kissing ass, Stevie beg Mario and then Joe for a city job and the deal was made for Little Stevie, there’s no way anyone can respect anything that the star of OIB, Steven Auerbach, post on OIB.


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