Handicapping The Mayoral Race–Ganim, Moore, Stallworth

May 23rd, Joe Ganim greets supporters at Joseph’s Steakhouse.

Memorial Day weekend is a barometer for the state of politics in a mayoral cycle. Four years ago at this time Joe Ganim was on the hunt for a historic comeback against incumbent Bill Finch who tried to lance Ganim at every turn that only served to harden Ganim’s base.

Mary-Jane Foster, then vice president of University Relations at the University of Bridgeport and co-founder of the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball team, entered the race late after challenging Finch in a 2011 Democratic primary.

School board member Howard Gardner and multiple mayoral candidate Charlie Coviello were also announced candidates. In the end Gardner failed to secure enough signatures to qualify for a September primary while Coviello ran as a petitioning challenger in the general election with several others.

This is the rub facing Ganim’s announced challengers–State Senator Marilyn Moore and State Representative Charlie Stallworth–how to best position against a well-financed incumbent with three straight years of no tax increase.

By now most mayoral campaigns feature a witch’s brew of charges and counter charges, news releases, statements, endorsements, campaign headquarters openings, yadda, yadda, yadda.

State Senator Marilyn Moore.

Not this cycle, so far. Moore and Stallworth are running low-key races while hijacked by a busy legislation session that will end next week but could segue to a special session, as most expect. That means the legislators will be losing precious campaign time with the demands of a special session.

Moore, much like Foster, is running a race based on integrity, accountability and transparency. She brings a base of support to the table representing Connecticut’s 22nd District that covers Trumbull, a portion of Monroe and about one third of Bridgeport including the North End, West Side and Black Rock. The other two thirds of the city is still getting to know her.

Moore has made clear she will not sacrifice her legislative responsibilities in the cause of becoming mayor. Moore won her seat in 2014 defeating incumbent Anthony Musto in a Democratic primary on her way to a general election win. She won reelection handily in 2016 and 2018. She’s not a fan, nor is she in return, of the political establishment led by Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa who’s backing Ganim’s campaign for another four-year term.

Stallworth and Moore share a base of support in the Wilbur Cross and Park City Magnet precincts. Moore has run stronger than Stallworth in their common areas during primary challenges. In fact, Stallworth survived difficult primaries from school board member Maria Pereira in 2016 and former Jim Himes congressional staffer Shante Hanks last year. How does Stallworth plan to resonate in the rest of the city while he has problems in his own backyard?

Stallworth, a city minister, was an early supporter of Ganim’s comeback in 2015. It was in Stallworth’s East End church that Ganim announced his first public apology following his 2003 conviction on federal corruption charges. Ganim rewarded Stallworth with a six-figure salary. Within a few years they had a falling-out. Now Stallworth’s challenging him. So far he hasn’t said much about why he’s better than the incumbent.

As for Ganim, he’s already raised about $300,000 dwarfing the campaign treasuries of his opponents. He’s largely leveraging the power of incumbency to ask voters for another four-year contract.

After a scratchy first year revaluation budget that hiked taxes in some neighborhoods such as Black Rock and the North End, Ganim has not raised taxes for three straight years.

Problem areas? Four years ago Ganim drew a line in the sand with public safety promising to add 100 cops to a deployment-challenged department. He’s done that but new hires are having difficulty keeping pace with retirements and officers poached by suburban departments.

Four years ago Ganim also pledged to enhance relations between the police department and community. Recent events have created thorny issues for Ganim such as how police have responded heavy handedly to public protests and calls for assistance.

After a violent-plagued early 2019 things have calmed down crime-wise in most neighborhoods. Crime is a capricious thing. Four years ago a violent June had Finch on his heels while opponent Ganim pilloried the incumbent.

This mayoral campaign is on the cusp of June, followed by the party endorsement in July and then a two-week window for Ganim’s challengers to qualify for the September primary ballot. In lieu of that their other option is positioning as petitioning general election candidates or carrying the flag of a minor party.

The last minor-party candidate to become mayor was Socialist Jasper McLevy who served from 1933-57.

Ganim’s challengers who’ve run largely reactionary races will need to pick up the pace to resonate with voters, barring a major event occurring.



  1. Lennie,

    You are giving Ganim repeated passes on his major campaign promises.

    1) he ran on a promise to ” STOP Raising Taxes” and then passed the largest tax increase in Bridgeport’s history raising taxes by 29%

    2) he promised to fund our public schools and then proposed four consecutive budgets without one additional $ for over 20,000 public schools in which 88% or minorities.

    3) he promised to increase the city senior citizen program by an additional $100 and never delivered.

    4) his police chief is an absolute disaster.

    There is plenty to speak with voters about regarding why Joe Ganim betrayed all of those that voted for him in 2015.

    I frequently state parents, voters, taxpayers only know what they know. A great canvasser’s job is to educate voters.

      1. Follow the Money out of the pocketbooks of hardworking taxpayers from the Black Rock, Brooklawn area and the Noth End due to reval but that doesn’t count???
        We’ll see on Election Day what counts or who counts.

        1. Maria, Shane on you. You forgot Ganim and Ricci brought back the FBI to Bridgeport, no easy task.
          Now let’s see if they can drop charges before Election Day.

  2. At this point, Joe is basically running unopposed.I understand Marylyn has responsibilities in Hartford, but she isn’t even remotely involved in this race. There is so much for her to comment/ give a opinion on with the way Joe& Mario run this city, the points Maria brings up etc.And so far, all we have is a few minute video that she took at the protest a few weeks ago. I would venture to say 75% of the people don’t even know she’s running. Terrible job out of her organization so far.

  3. So Ganim held the line on taxes. Bully for him. What about the raises he and many of his minions received? The city can afford to pay those? Can’t afford to increase the BBOE budget but Ganim can find the money to pay his privileged snot nosed henchmen. That’s just plain wrong. But then again Little Joe Ganim knows the value of an undereducated populace. Keep ’em uninformed and ignorant and they’ll believe everything you say. Just ask “reverend” Charlie Stallworth. He’s the one that permitted Little Joe Ganim to lie to his congregation. They bought it too. Ignorance is a blissful state if you don’t know any better. Given Ganim’s well publicized troubles with the federal courts it’s a wonder he was able to get on the ballot.

    Just ask Donald Trump. All those white evangelicals that believe their god sent Donald Trump to “make America great again.” That’s right, Donald Trump, a serial womanizer that paid more that $200,000.00 to two women to keep quiet about sexual dalliances they had with him, the tax cheat and fraud was sent by a “god” (which one is still unclear) to save the white race in hillbilly land.

  4. Hey Follow the Money,
    If the mill rate increased 29%, somebody’s taxes had to go up!!!
    But that would be a good campaign slogan.
    Ganim only raises the h mill rate 29%.
    Give him four more years to see how much he can raise it next time!!!

    1. Go figure Figures don’t kie. You have a fuzzy math problem. How’s that Jaguar that your Cougar is driving? It must be nice to he a Progressive.

    2. Uh-uh. Here’s the winning slogan.
      In 2008 it was banks. In 2019 it’s people.

      Too Big to Fail has been replaced by Too Small to Save.

      When you make people feel insignificant to banks, you win their vote.
      That’s the message.

    3. Reverend Charlie was angling for an administration job four years ago. He is spoiling again for personal enrichment.

      Senator Moore may be lacking in the campaign jing but that could change.

      1. Moore’s grass roots campaign will roll her into victory, White, Black and Brown will send Governor Ganim back to 4666 Main St, Bridgeport, CT.

  5. Ok Local. Go peddle that message to Ganim.
    I promise no one else will use it. Your circular message makes no sense to me but your and Follow talk in circles so at least the two of you will make sense out of it.

  6. Joe, despite having allowed the city to continue in reverse (while allowing police-community relations to continue to unravel in the context of giving the coup de gras to real community policing, while also continuing to give away/sell parkland and neighborhoods to SHU), will walk back into office easily (he’s a SHU-in…)… Marilyn and Charlie have no message, little$, and weak organizations… Neither of them will generate anywhere near the counter-vote needed to present any real threat to Joe… (Even if they “pool” their votes…)

    Barring any really big surprises, this election will make history as the most boring, lowest turnout election in Bridgeport history…

    Sad state of affairs in Bridgeport with a sad “state” situation in Connecticut providing a gray background…

    Good night, Bridgeport…


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