Final Legal Briefs To Be Filed In Primary Challenge

Final briefs will be filed this week with Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens who’s heard two weeks of testimony regarding a challenge to the results of the September 10 Democratic primary won by Mayor Joe Ganim by 270 votes. The judge could issue a decision late this week.

State Senator Marilyn Moore won the overall machine total but lost as a result of the absentee ballot count.

The complaint was brought with the assistance of Bridgeport Generation Now Votes whose leadership supports Moore for mayor. Attorneys Prerna Rao and Jonathan Shapiro represent the plaintiffs while Deputy City Attorney John Bohannan is the lead attorney for the city.

The plaintiffs assert absentee ballot irregularities altered the outcome, and as a result a mistake in the counting of the ballots, something that Bohannon, on behalf of the city, refutes. Plaintiffs are asking for a new Democratic primary.

This case is uncharted territory for a Bridgeport elections complaint on several levels. For one thing, no candidate on the Democratic ballot September 10, including Moore, is contesting the results in court.

A number of Democrats who won on the machines assert why are we being roped into this complaint?

Testimony revealed that Bridgeport Generation Now Votes leadership pulled together the allegations and three city electors were recruited to serve as plaintiffs. On the first day of testimony some witnesses in the lawsuit calling for a new Democratic primary said they had help filling out absentee ballot applications, something that is legal. Assisting someone with an absentee ballot is illegal, with a few exceptions such as help from an immediate family member.

One of the three plaintiffs Annette Goodridge was bewildered why she was in the courtroom. She also testified that she filled out and gave her absentee ballot to Josephine Edmonds, a Moore supporter so in at least one example the testimony undercuts the lawsuit’s argument that this was a one-sided systematic effort to bag absentee ballots.

According to testimony, witnesses said they voted for the person they wanted to vote for and were not pressured to vote otherwise. No one said their vote wasn’t counted.

It’s a high burden to persuade a judge to overturn the results of an election. Still, Judge Stevens has been deferential in the exhibits he’s allowed to the protests of the defense. At the very least the judge is giving the plaintiffs their days and weeks in court, adding gravity–or consternation, depending on the sides–to the assertions.

Meanwhile, the Nov. 5 general election is underway–no one has asked for a delay in that vote–voting by absentee ballot has begun, candidates are spending campaign money, Republicans who are not party to the lawsuit wonder, what about us?

Everyone can predict how Judge Stevens will rule three weeks from the general election, but no one knows except the judge.

So if he rules for the defense that’s pretty much it, on to Nov. 5. If he rules for the plaintiffs it becomes chaotic because it would be impossible to hold a new primary in advance of Nov. 5, based on state statute guidelines dictating the election calendar. Pull out the dogsleds because the general election would be pushed out to cold and messy winter.

In that occurrence the city could ask the Connecticut Supreme Court to hear an expedited appeal. The Supremes could take it up or say no, we’ll hear this thing in the regular course of business that could take a year.

The last time the results of a Democratic primary were challenged–and rejected–in court was 2007 when State Senator Bill Finch defeated State Rep. Chris Caruso for mayor. Finch defeated Caruso by 270 votes, yes the same number of Ganim’s certified win.

Having fun yet?



  1. If Moore somehow gets on the ballot and ab is supervised and only people who are allowed by law to vote ab then Moore wins. Ganim is not popular in the city as we all witness on primary night when he lost on election day at the polls by hundreds of votes.

    1. Don,no matter what the judge decides,we will never get an honest election in Bpt,there will always be AB abuse,it’s the fabric of the DTC under Mario’s rule.

    2. And that would be a sad day for the city of Bridgeport. Not because Joe doesn’t win, but because we would have an incompetent individual making decisions that she has no business making. Guarantee that she raises taxes in the first year.

      1. In seeking a stiff sentence, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Apter said Ganim handed out contracts to his associates like they were “`Elect Joe Ganim’ buttons on Election Day.”
        “Connecticut is now derisively referred to as Corrupticut,” he said. “Bridgeport has earned a reputation as a place where politicians can be bought.”
        Apter said Ganim had shown no remorse and urged the court to send a message to deter corruption by others.

        “For the defendant, being mayor of Bridgeport meant every day was Joe Ganim day and he was entitled to grab what he could grab when he could grab it,” Apter said, referring to testimony during the trial.

        On July 1, 2003, U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton sentenced Ganim to nine years in prison and about $300,000 in fines and restitution, in addition to $175,000 that he had previously stipulated that he owed.[30] Judge Arterton said that Ganim’s crimes were “stuff that cynicism is made of” and determined by clear and convincing evidence that Ganim had “lied to the jury when he denied any knowledge of fee-splitting deals and other incriminating evidence.”[30] Ganim appealed, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld Ganim’s convictions in December 2007.

          1. I’ve found it wiser to share what the record states, personal opinion are as good as what backs up and support that opinion.

        1. Stevell,
          Are you speaking about Marilyn Moore or Joe Ganim?

          What you are describing is exactly what Joe Ganim did in 2016.

          He promised to “STOP Raising Taxes” on the campaign trail in 2015 then proposed and passed the largest tax increase in Bridgeport’s history 6 months after he took office.

          There has been gross mismanagement of precious tax payer dollars under Joe Ganim and the vast majority of the City Council.

          1. I don’t disagree. However Moore is incompetent. In the end of the day the city must be run and managed as a manager does. Ganim is not an economic genius but he is leaps and bounds ahead of Moore on everything necessary to being a mayor of CT’s largest city.

  2. Harvey Weintraub, tis whole process is history making, this is the first time the absentee ballots have truly been looked at in a very serious way by Judge Barry Stevens and that the elected officials will take the time to change Connecticut early voting process. It’s the first time that Joe Ganim has been defeated at the voting polls.

  3. The City Attorney office is boasting,( “that they have the wind to their backs on this one”! )
    I was hoping that Judge Stevens would render his ruling on Halloween.
    It”s would be like déjà vu all over again for Joe. When he was indicted on Halloween in 2001.

  4. This is the worst Bridgeport mayoral election I have ever gone through. The past;Panuzio beating Curran by 9 votes. The Tisdale/Paoletta/Mandanici election. This election will solve nothing in Bridgeport. Whoever becomes the winner is “actually’ a loser. Being the mayor of Bridgeport with no mandate,no authenticity. This will be the worst possible outcome. Extremely distressing.

  5. Is it just my misunderstanding…??? Why is a City Attorney, paid for by all of the City of Bridgeport Tax Payers, involved on behalf of the Ganim campaign? And why isn’t the Ganim campaign hiring and paying for their own independent legal representation in this matter?

    1. Bohannon isn’t representing the Ganim campaign. He’s representing the city because several city officials are named defendants in their official government roles including the town clerk, city clerk, Democratic registrar, head moderator, absentee ballot moderator, etc. Plaintiffs are asking for a new Democratic primary. The claim here is a mistake in the counting of the ballots by an election official covering many candidates. This case was brought by supporters of Marilyn Moore, but Moore opted against being a defendant. Would they have brought this case if they were not supporters of Moore?

      1. If the system is corrupt and accusations of corruption are found to be relevant by the court of law does it matter who the plaintiffs voted for? More importantly, if the judge finds evidence that the whole thing is broken and needs to be fixed, will Lennie praise the plaintiffs for addressing a much needed problem in BPT politics? Not so sure when he’s obviously guilty of exactly what he seems so concerned about with BPT Gen Now, a true and cataloged history of conflict of interest. Who’s slip is showing, Maria?

        1. Peter, the founders of Gen Now, Callie and Niels Heilmann, started out with good intentions. They’ve done some solid community work that I have praised on OIB. I was honored when they asked me to be a guest speaker at their first annual fundraiser in May. But an organization cannot hold itself out as “nonpartisan” when the evidence screams otherwise. You cannot claim that mantle when its leadership hosted a fundraiser for a candidate, donated to that candidate, provided a civic award to that same candidate, take a “leave of absence” to manage the campaign of that candidate, file a lawsuit that could potentially help that candidate. People get involved and donate to organizations based on their representations. No news site has chronicled absentee ballot issues more than OIB the past decade, including the comments section. Part of the problem is Connecticut’s myopic, excuse-only early voting. Most states encourage early voting without six strings attached. Gen Now has put itself in a pickle by promising one thing and doing another. I don’t think it was by design from the start but strategically it has now created cracks in the organization. Court testimony revealed irregularities in multiple campaign camps, including Marilyn Moore’s, but Gen Now leadership is only taking issue in that regard with their candidate’s opposition. Better to scream from the mountain tops that Marilyn Moore is our candidate, so people know exactly where they are coming from. They cannot do that publicly because it would violate their nonprofit status so instead they say publicly we maintain our first amendments rights as individuals. It sends mixed messages about their role in the community. If you want to work against Joe Ganim, that’s fine. If you want to embrace Marilyn Moore, that’s fine too. Restructure the organization so people don’t question, what is this really about or in lieu of that stay true to the “nonpartisan” declaration.

          1. Lennie, you have sum this up pretty good, hopefully Judge Barry Stevens decision will lead the state to act on early voting and punish those who violated absentee voting.

          2. The group has held a highly critical stance on Absentee Ballots for at least a few years based on the extensive set of mission statements on their website. To argue that they are merely being opportunistic is at the very least dishonest and at the worst a part of my previous comments on your conflict of interest. We are talking about legitimate action applied to circumstances BPT Gen Now has been critical of since its beginning. You arent just mentioning this to be objective to the news story, you seem to be attempting to discredit them whole hog. That’s uncool.

          3. She’s a founding member, isn’t she? Then you might have a real conflict of interest. Oooohhhhh!!!

          4. I’m speculating on that decision but why not throw caution to the wind in her case if they are so conflicted? I’m arguing they aren’t conflicted. My commenting about ends and means was me playing devils Advocate to accommodate YOUR way of thinking.

  6. Lennie’s got a bug up his ass about Gen Now.
    Did Lennie complain about BRBC should lose its status when its president and other officers had fundraisers for Ganim and Finch?
    No. Of course not. It didn’t fit his agenda.

  7. Lenny
    Name one nonprofit that lost is tax exempt status because an employee took a lease of absence. You lose it if the employee keeps two jobs not give one up.

  8. And how about when Joe was running for Governor and used city funds on his behalf. Lennie could have had a field day with that one but chose not too. Your bias is showing.

  9. I would say Lenny that the reason in my opinion why Gen now did not file his lawsuit when the special election took place and Kate won at Machines but lost with the AB’s was because of timing. Lawsuit would have brought on all those who would be attaching Gen Now credibility much sooner , in hind sight it may have actually caused Marilyn Moore to win because their may have been more scrutiny of the AB process in primary thus causing more attention to this issue , larger turnout and it may ave negated any AB gains. Perhaps Supervised AB balloting but I really doubt that.


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