The double-edged sword of Bridgeport politics, City Councilwoman Maria Pereira who for years swore off support for John Gomes has decided to endorse his candidacy for mayor asserting “The worst mistake I made in my 14 years involved in local politics was supporting Joe Ganim in 2015.”
This is more about Pereira’s anathema for Ganim than resolve for Gomes, the former municipal assistant chief administrative officer, Ganim’s closest rival in fundraising banking about $276,000 for a presumed September 12 primary.
Pereira backed Ganim’s return to the mayoralty in 2015 then had a quick falling over education issues. A key reason Pereira is supporting Gomes centers on her relationship with political allies such as John Ricci and Maria Pires, two ex administration officials who have parted ways with Ganim in support of Gomes.
Pereira’s no slouch when it comes to campaigning. She knows her Upper East Side constituency well, particularly in the Hooker School precinct where she surgically presents issues passionate in her political portfolio. She also has emerged as a mighty producer of absentee ballot votes so critical in city races that could be a deciding factor in the September 12 primary, depending on the candidate configuration.
Pereira has tried to expand her profile outside of her immediate district. Last year she managed State Rep. Jack Hennessy’s primary loss to Marcus Brown, a Ganim ally. Hennessy performed well with absentee ballots, but the walk in vote went heavily for Brown.
Pereira is a mercurial personality, a tempest in a teapot where mole hills transform into volcanic mountains. Candidates she supports hold their breath, hoping the upside transcends the looming drama that often leads to political divorces.
She has often stated she’d never support Gomes. She has done that with other pols as well and threw it into reverse.
Education is generally Pereira’s litmus test for supporting candidates so Gomes has had to satisfy her in some fashion what she wants on the education front will happen.
The amicable Ricci, in particular, will serve as a bridge between Pereira and Gomes.
News release from Gomes:
City Council member Maria Pereira, District 138 and council running mate Jazmarie Melendez, have endorsed John Gomes for the Office of Mayor.
Pereira stated, “The worst mistake I made in my 14 years involved in local politics was supporting Joe Ganim in 2015. I know first hand what we have in Ganim, and I firmly believe our over 19,000 Bridgeport public school students, tax payers and residents are deserving of leadership that will stand for and with them, not just those with political and financial power. For those whose trust and support I have earned, I am asking you to trust and support John Gomes by joining me in casting your vote for him on September 12th.”
Melendez stated, “John Gomes is committed to the Bridgeport community, this is his home, where he has personally experienced the negative impact of the past eight years of our broken leadership. I believe in Gomes’ ability to center the needs of the people in our city and embody the values of equity and justice.”
Gomes stated, “I am honored to have received the endorsements of Council Member Pereira and Candidate Melendez. Maria has been relentlessly working for the residents of the 138th District as a member of the City Council for the last four years. She has a history of service to her community, and was a strong advocate for public school students as an eight year member of the Bridgeport Board of Education. Jazmarie Melendez has been a grassroots community activist since 2017 and is a passionate advocate for community-centered empowerment.”
Maria and Jazmarie, recognize that Bridgeport families need a new administration that will address the longstanding problems that plague our city.”
Gomes concluded, “Everyday, the coalition to bring a better government for Bridgeport grows larger. I look forward to welcoming more who seek to build a more transparent, productive, and efficient city government that works for every resident. Our movement for change continues to grow each day and I am grateful for all the support from the Bridgeport community.”