Money, Money, Money, Money; Do You Have Enough Campaign Cash To Compete? Plus: The Americo Factor

Whew! Now that we’ve survived the end of the world (or maybe we didn’t and we’re all in heaven?), time to reminisce about the future. Anyone going to Mayor Bill Finch’s fundraiser at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn tonight? Money is the mother’s milk of campaigns and the mayor’s camp has done a nice job loading up the war chest. The mayor’s probably at $300K raised and counting. See invite:

Friends of Mayor Bill Finch invite you to a fundraising dinner Monday, May 23rd, 2011 6:00pm to 8:00pm Bridgeport Holiday Inn, 1070 Main Street Bridgeport, CT

Individual Ticket: $100

Certified MBE Owner or Employee: $50

Table of 10 and Pre-Reception: $2,000

Finch for Mayor may accept up to $1,000 per individual.

Finch for Mayor may accept up to $1,500 per political action committee.

Corporation and Partnership checks not accepted.

Personal or PAC checks payable to “Finch for Mayor”

The mayor’s still the favorite to win the Democratic primary in September with potentially three opponents on the ballot, Mary-Jane Foster, John Gomes and Charlie Coviello, carving up the anti vote. How could that change without the opponents joining forces? One of them must raise at least $200K to compete or otherwise rely on unforeseen circumstances such as a major mayoral gaffe to change the dynamic. It’s hard for candidates on this level to make a persuasive case to voters if the electorate isn’t hearing  regularly from the opposition. That takes money. Well, what about campaign losers Ned Lamont and Linda McMahon having all that money? The opponents Dan Malloy and Dick Blumenthal had enough to compete. That’s the most important question in these races: do you have enough money to compete? It’s the first step in meeting MOM’s criteria–money, organization, message.

Example: Bill Finch outspent Chris Caruso by more than twice in the 2007 Democratic mayoral primary. Were it not for a myopic message Caruso would be mayor today. Of the three announced challengers Foster has the most loot, and is running closest to Finch in OIB polling, but if her fundraising stalls it’s going to be hard for her to make a case because the Finch campaign is going to spend heavily in July, August and September.

Now if former Mayor Joe Ganim gets in the race the dynamic changes instantly because of his high name recognition and presumably the money he’ll bring to the table.

Foster recently picked up an intriguing ally in her quest to become mayor in former State Rep. Americo Santiago, a veteran of numerous city elections the past 25 years, including a key Bridgeport campaign coordinator for Dan Malloy. While most of the Democratic party establishment including Town Chair Mario Testa and Mayor Bill Finch supported Ned Lamont for governor in the primary, former Party Chair John Stafstrom and Santiago supported Malloy. Stafstrom, as city bond counsel, supports Finch’s reelection. Santiago supports Foster. For Foster to be successful she must attract operatives split from Testo’s political establishment. Santiago is one of them. He’s not a fan of Mario and Mario never a friend of Americo.

In Santiago, a former assistant secretary of the state for Connecticut, Foster has a pol who understands city campaigns, can leverage community alliances and help run a headquarters operation. He has lots of friends in the South End, West End and East Side. He’s the father of State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago. Americo’s not afraid of a good fight. Let the games begin!



  1. Here’s a solution for Gomes and Foster. A drop-out agreement with a set date to see who has raised the most amount of money and has the highest poll numbers.

    1. The only problem with that is you cannot rely on polls anymore. Remember Lamont was supposedly ahead of Malloy in the polls and Malloy ultimately won handily. Pollsters can only call home phones and more and more people are doing away with land lines and have cell phones only. This fact skews poll results. I mention this because the voters Gomes is reaching are likely to be without land lines.

  2. I’m a registered Dem, vote in every primary and election at Winthrop school, and never, I repeat never has my CELL phone rang and a pollster was on the other end. The most money does NOT always win and the polls are ng. Landlines ARE a thing of the past and I agree the people Gomes reaches are not being reached by the pollsters.

    Finch is sitting back and waiting to throw cash at the churches who will take his donation but the people will still vote for whom they trust and it IS NOT Finch. This will be a bigger shock when Gomes wins than Malloy destroying Lamont and his money.

  3. Dear Up on Bpt,
    I know you are a huge MJF supporter and I commend you for being against Finch. That said, I am positive Lennie’s pollsters did NOT call people in the HOLLOW, EAST SIDE or the large CAPE VERDE population in Bpt and ask them Malloy or Lamont.

  4. Why wasn’t this held at Testo’s? Are we seeing a division in the ranks or does The Holiday Inn have a smaller profit margin than the DTC? I think I see dear Mario separating himself from our dear incompetent. I have always felt Mario would “better deal” Finch for another candidate. Mario may see a potential floor fight by the challengers at the DTC nominations. This is something I encourage from all potential candidates. They should be nominated & seconded from the floor. In the interest of job security they should insist upon a secret ballot. If a rift can be created during nominations, Finch could potentially be the challenger instead of the designated candidate. I strongly urge all challengers to consider this scenario. In politics your “friends” are only your friends if they can help you. To simply say you have friends on the DTC who are working under the radar to support you is bullshit. If they won’t publicly help you they don’t want change. We need to have candidates who will offer a complete slate to eradicate this cancer that is killing BPT. To suggest you will not provide an opposition ticket suggests to me you are satisfied with the status quo. You will not only not have my support, you will have my vicious opposition. We can no longer seek the rainbow after the rain. We must realize we are all in a deluge that will drown this city.


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