Fabs Raises $10K In First Month Of Exploratory Run For Mayor

Former Mayor John Fabrizi has raised just over $10,000 in a four-week period, according to campaign finance reports of his exploratory committee run for his old job. The contributions came largely from employee peers in the Board of Education, personal friends and old political alliances.

As an exploratory candidate Fabrizi’s committee can receive a maximum personal contribution of $375. The maximum personal contribution for a full-blown candidate committee is $1,000. The reporting period covers the quarter ending June 30. Fabs formed the exploratory committee in early June.

If he keeps this pace–it’s a big if–averaging $10,000 per month he’s on pace to raise about $160,000 for a Democratic primary should he choose to challenge Mayor Bill Finch next September. Finch’s political operation knows how to raise money. Finch has raised $203,000 as he prepares for a third four-year term.

Waging a competitive primary for mayor generally requires about $200,000, although former State Rep. Chris Caruso twice came close to winning Democratic primaries in 2003 and 2007 spending about $150,000.

Fabrizi will invest the campaign cash in a poll to gauge his standing with voters, survey Finch’s standing as well as how voters feel about the direction of the city. The poll will be part of the equation in his decision to form a candidate committee.

Saying he has passion for the city, Fabrizi formed an exploratory committee for mayor last month seeking to reclaim the office he occupied for nearly five years following the resignation of Joe Ganim after Ganim’s conviction on corruption charges in 2003. Bill Finch replaced Fabrizi as mayor when he did not seek a second four-year term in 2007.

Fabrizi is the first potential Finch challenger to take this step.

Mary-Jane Foster, Finch’s 2011 Democratic primary opponent, is weighing another run. Several other names are also floating, according to political operatives including Ganim, Caruso and State Rep. Charlie Stallworth, a city minister.

Fabrizi has been itching to position for his old job after Democratic party regulars prevailed upon him not to seek another term after he asked a judge to show leniency on behalf of a sexual offender who was friends with his son. Following the political fallout, a Democratic party poll showed Fabrizi could not defeat party maverick Chris Caruso in a Democratic primary so party leaders urged him not to seek reelection. They recruited Finch, then a state senator, for the job and he defeated Caruso in a tight September 2007 primary.

Fabrizi will officially retire next month as director of Adult Education.



  1. Mayor Bill Finch has name recognition, certainly that is true on OIB. To a similar extent John Fabrizi has similar recognition, though he has had fewer photo opportunities the past six years. Raising money to put someone in office is not everyone’s strong suit. But it is necessary. I would ask you smart guys with the green eye shades, after you pay for the poll mentioned above (Expense = $???) how much do you need to raise and in what general categories do you spend it?

    How many voted in the last Mayoral race and what was spent per voter on election day and/or on primary day? What is the cost of getting non-voting but registered voters out on election day?? Is it the expense of time with knocking on doors to get people engaged? Or find out those who are enraged but out of sorts? Or is it a job between now and 12 months from now on the City payroll but doing lots of “citizen info and promotion?” And since the taxpayer would be funding that …

    Lennie, can you or anybody else lay out the expenditure of $400,000 (about $5 per registered voter) if you had that in your fund? And where does most of that come from? Voters and businesses within the City or residents and business owners outside the City? Trying to get some learning in a new area. Yes … Time will tell.

    1. JML, these are rough numbers. I’m guesstimating Finch spent $400,000 in his 2011 primary win over Mary-Jane Foster who spent about $200,000. About 9200 registered Dems voted in the 2011 primary. The folks who occupy the candy store (incumbents) tend to raise more than challengers. As long as there’s something to potentially hand out in the city’s municipal election with no public financing, developers, contractors, lawyers tend to give to the incumbent. And so it goes. Most don’t donate out of the goodness of their hearts. Now on the state level, with public financing it is different because the maximum personal contribution is $100 instead of $1000.

  2. This could be the most exciting Mayoral primary the City has had in many years. Finch’s strength could be in the number of challengers he has. Right now, between Finch and Fabrizi it could be a tough call. Mary-Jane Foster added to the mix could make it interesting. Maybe the two of them can negotiate over putting Hadley back in Economic development since Finch has not been scoring with Kooris. This is the first Economic Development guy working for the City in the past 35 years I wouldn’t know if I were sitting next to him. That says something. John Fabrizi has many friends in the North End. They see him as the other mayor who got the ball rolling on many new school initiatives as well as pushing Steelepointe. I like Finch also. He has made great strides in the City as well as suffering a few setbacks with downtown. The opening and closing of a gorgeous supermarket, before development of much-needed downtown housing to the tune of 1500 units of market-rate housing as well as parking garages like Hartford. Then of course the huge black eye of endorsing Marina Village housing by the Arena and Harbor yard … my new mantra, get used to it. I’m taking that show on the road. Of course, there is the University of BRIDGEPORT. Both Mary-Jane Foster and Fabrizi can make that a huge issue. Why? Because it is a big fucking issue. The University is an economic driver in the South End. It is an anchor. It is on the water. It is an educational institution with our name on it. The view from the top floor of the library is spectacular. The harm Mayor Finch has caused over the years by ignoring UB is simply reprehensible. I maintain Mayor Finch is going to do something amazing way before the election or he can just kiss it goodbye. As for Steeleponte, let’s focus on housing, corporate offices and other destinations and less on retail. We didn’t wait 30 years for Mayor Paoletta’s dream to be realized as a mini Stratford on the dock development. We need lights and life on that site after dark. 🙂

    Side Bar: this weekend Musto/people came a knocking on my door. Problem was they were young and getting paid. Not sure lack of enthusiasm can buy votes, we will see as I am a supporter. Must admit Moore’s ad on this website is truly excellent, compliments to the designer. I also hope Scott Hughes has an opportunity to match up with Ayala. I respect both and the people in that district would be lucky to have that type of choice.
    One last comment, I watched David Walker on public television speaking at the Working Families Party. Although impressive, his demeanor was a tad condescending. He is overexperienced, he doesn’t need this job, though he also said he has no money from inheritances only what he sees as need because the rest of us are sitting on mega bucks like myself from the Beatrice Fox Auerbach foundation. Lolololololol. I cannot really see the chemistry with Walker and McKinney but they are a better choice than Foley. I will be voting for Malloy.

    1. Steven, you touched on some good points and I like how you provided pros and cons for different candidates. So I appreciate your thoughts.

      Regarding Marina Village. I don’t think people will touch this issue politically because then people will spin the race card. For example, I have been at several public meetings where Councilwoman Moye yelled and essentially stated people who opposed the Marina Village development in the current Long Island Ferry Parking lot which is a FEMA flood zone were racist. The funny thing is I have family from Marina, so the sweeping generalizing was quite ironic.

      In any case, the only way I can see the Marina village being touched politically is if it is approached from a social justice angle. For example, the argument can EASILY be made individuals are being moved from dry land to a flood zone. All one needs to do is door knock on every single door in Marina and show every resident two maps. Map 1 displays the current Marina which is not completely in a flood zone. Map 2 shows the proposed site which is completely in a flood zone. “This is your family in Marina, This is your family in Marina five years later, Any questions?” This would be a very visual strategy which can fragment this base. Pictures work better than cliche flyers. But this is more than strategy, this truly is a social justice issue. For example, it is unfathomable an article came out several weeks ago stating funding for the Father Panik site. So basically, poor families are being placed in a flood zone in the South End, while some of these folks could have been placed on the Father Panik site that is not in a flood zone. The details just don’t add up.

      Business Community: If someone were to approach this issue in this fashion they would easily create a following, but it has to be authentic. Only then do I think what you said Steve, about the economic development, can be touched. This message would then be tailored differently to the business community and would be done in such a way so as to hurt the administration’s credibility with the business community. But the above needs to happen first.

      Homeowners: Then the message would be tailored differently to homeowners and this would be framed as a tax issue. $52 million for public housing ($400,000, per household). Why not give a family $150,000 to own a home and $120,000 for their first child’s college tuition and you still save money (I know this may seem farfetched but so is the $52 million). Not to mention savings on the maintenance, overtime etc. and the burden placed on first responders next time it floods like Irene and Sandy.

      This is a low-hanging fruit issue, let’s see if anyone frames this issue the way I mention.

      1. Andmar, thanks for responding. As far any potential candidate not talking about Marina Village for fear of being labeled racist is ridiculous. I totally support subsidized housing, just not in the middle of an attempt to revitalize a downtown that has been looking like Baghdad after a few bombings for as long as most of us can remember. It is a poor plan. It is a bad site and will stifle any future development. Remember in the ’80s condos of poor quality were going up all over the City that ultimately became section 8 housing. Back to Marina, does anyone believe blacks and Hispanics think it is a great idea? I know for a fact if ‘you will talk to many homeowners in the South End, Black and Hispanic you will hear of outrage. Nobody can use the race card or not in my back yard mentality. NIMBY. If I were running for Mayor, I would most definitely use this as an issue. White people are not the only homeowners in this city. All owners and taxpayers care about the value of their property. The entire city benefits from development or continued tax increases until everyone just walks away from their properties because there is no hope of future development. There may be dozens of more appropriate sites in the City. Harbor Yard and the Arena would not be ideal. Just one incident would put the Arena and Harbor Yard out of business, and then what? Who would want to be the Mayor and development director who thought it was a good idea? I personally know of 10 black families that are outraged in the South End, so save the racist argument for another city, another time and another place.

  3. One reminder for the safety of the City of Bpt, John Fabrizi was and still is a huge supporter of first responders, so much so he rode in police cars.
    The cops are jumping ship to the ‘burbs at an alarming rate lately, maybe Fabs would find a way to protect the city much better than it is today.

  4. Looks like Johnny Fabs is going to give Bill “Smilin’ Jack” Finch a run for the roses. The latter has a credibility issue with the voters. I doubt the power of incumbency will be of much help–how many more bike trails does the city of Bridgeport need?

  5. Sounds like we are at crossroads of another great election season in the Park City. Fabs and the birdman Finch are one in the same. As for Kooris, just go down to Stamford to find him. And lastly, you must keep Airhead Hadley out of the City at all costs. The whole bunch of them are one big piece of worthless shit. Please get new blood.


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