Four years ago Joe Ganim was on the campaign hunt for his old job, fixing a fence in a high crime public housing area to repel bad guys, proposing police precincts, lamenting the tax rate, positioning his negotiating skills to attract new business. It paid off in a historic return to the mayoralty defeating incumbent Bill Finch in a Democratic primary on his way to a general election win.
Monday night Ganim returned to a traditional incumbent’s role seeking another four-year term rallying about 200 supporters at the kickoff to his Downtown headquarters across the street from the Margaret Morton Government Center on Broad Street that houses the mayor’s office.
Speaking to cheering supporters outside, Ganim declared “We’re getting started now … “There are people here who represent all parts of the city to do this together for another four years.”
The incomparable East Side District Leader Wanda Geter Pataky had another number in mind: “eight more years!”
For Ganim, who’d be quite satisfied with another four-year term, it was a classic incumbent’s message extolling accomplishments–closing an inherited budget deficit, hiring public safety officers, holding the line on taxes the prior two years with a small cut this budget year starting July 1, promoting new development projects such as the concert amphitheater under construction a few blocks away and development progress at Steelpointe Harbor–without mentioning his two Democratic opponents State Senator Marilyn Moore and State Representative Charlie Stallworth who like Ganim are facing a second quarter fundraising deadline June 30 to determine fundraising strength.
Last week Moore also opened her campaign headquarters Downtown above Joseph’s Steakhouse on Fairfield Avenue.
Ganim’s fundraising prowess has leverage about $300,000. The larger question looms: what will his opponents raise in the cause of making their respective cases to the electorate? Also, how will they go after Ganim involving key issues such as public safety, education, taxes and development?
Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa served as something of a master of ceremonies for the opening addressing supporters standing on a Broad Street sidewalk facing the headquarters storefront and calling upon elected officials and labor leaders such as Building Trades leader Peter Carroll to explain why Ganim deserves another term.
The event was also instructive in how political relationships evolve. Four years ago Lydia Martinez, who is now city clerk and Don Clemons, now town clerk did not support Ganim in his primary run against Finch. Both were in attendance Monday night now supporting Ganim.