Moore, McCarthy Tout Key Fundraising In State Senate Battle

Lyons, MCarthy
Tom MCarthy with City Councilwoman Michelle Lyons at fundraiser.

Freshman State Senator Marilyn Moore and her Democratic-endorsed August primary opponent City Council President Tom McCarthy both had mighty fundraising weeks as they gear up for a summer season of campaigning in what is shaping up as a hotly contested race in Connecticut’s 22nd District that covers one third of Bridgeport, all of Trumbull and a portion of Monroe.

Mario, Joe
Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa and Mayor Joe Ganim at McCarthy fundraiser. Hmm, what point is Mario making?

Monday night at Testo’s Restaurant McCarthy received the expected Democratic nod as the party establishment candidate. Moore, however, is no stranger to winning sans the party endorsement. Two years ago she knocked off incumbent Anthony Musto in a primary running up large pluralities in Bridgeport to offset Musto’s suburban base. This time around two Bridgeport residents will square off.

The night after the endorsement McCarthy hosted a fundraiser attended by roughly 200 supporters at Vazzy’s 19th Hole at the city’s municipal golf course. Mayor Joe Ganim and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa attended McCarthy’s event a few weeks after they graced a Moore fundraiser. Ganim, in particular, is juggling the senate opponents trying to appear neutral. The other day Ganim hosted a news conference with Moore at his side extolling her efforts to bring back state dollars in a difficult city budget year. McCarthy and Testa, however, have a sturdy relationship and it remains to be seen how much the chairman will weigh in on behalf of McCarthy in the way of additional party financial support, absentee ballots and bodies for the task. Testa has experienced his share of victories and defeats in recent years.

Locking up the money piece in this race is crucial to the candidates so they can spend most of their time touching voters. Both are in route to qualifying for Connecticut’s Citizens Election Program of publicly funded races. They must raise $15,000 in donations of $100 and less from 300 donors within the district to receive a larger pot of public money. It will allow them to spend more than $100k in the primary. Connecticut’s public financing system was created to limit the influence of campaign dollars.

Moore, Blumenthal, Ganim, Malloy
Marilyn Moore campaigns in front of Wilbur Cross School in 2014 with U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal, Judge of Probate Paul Ganim and Governor Dan Malloy.

Moore on Thursday issued a statement she had reached the threshold to qualify for the public money and awaits official word from the State Elections Enforcement Commission about her public grant.

“The Citizen’s Election Program is a good government program instituted to promote integrity in campaign finances,” she said in the statement. “Campaigns must meet rigorous thresholds, $15,000 in fundraising dollars of which 300 individual contributions must come from the municipalities in the district, in order to qualify. We have surpassed those thresholds, and I am thrilled and grateful that I was able to surpass them so early on. I am looking forward to continuing to bring good things to the citizens of the 22nd State Senate District. The past budget year has been one of the most challenging in the history of Connecticut, and the current delegation, myself included, worked very hard to preserve funding to crucial programs that affect our municipalities every day. I will continue to bring that quality of dedication to my constituents.”

Marilyn Moore
Marilyn Moore announces initiative to reduce car taxes.

Judging by the strength of his Tuesday fundraiser McCarthy is not far behind Moore in wrapping up his money piece for full-time campaigning. He leveraged his contacts as a nine-year City Council president as well as the residual fundraising operation built by former Mayor Bill Finch whom Ganim defeated in a primary last September.



  1. The picture would appear to explain Michelle Lyons’ reticence about SHU’s move on Veteran’s Memorial Park and Fairchild Wheeler. It’s too bad. The people of the 134th had been counting on her to help kill those weasel deals. It looks like AmyMarie is down one crucial ally in that fight. Unfortunate and surprising. Maybe the picture is not accurately depicting the situation. One can only hope.

  2. Jeff,
    After reading your comment I thought back and could not remember any real initiative or issue Michelle has fought for while I was on the council. Maybe a few zoning matters but never really led a charge. She will complain about SHU dorms but not do anything about it.

  3. A precursor of what to expect from McCarthy:
    Putting his own agenda before constituent needs. Evidenced by his choice to hold his first fundraiser at a venue that is not in his district, but is a venue to further his agenda pushing contacts to.

    The McCarthy who “found Jesus” after he was ousted from his job with the COB has now left the building.

    His choice to run against the only black female Senator in the State shows selfish disregard for minority representation in the State and pits the Democratic Party against Senate Democrats.

    The optics portray: Mayor Ganim beware because he wants your job.

    Will be holding FOUR elected positions because hey, what else can a career politician do?

    Will still be City Council President in Bridgeport, a time-consuming job in and of itself. Where do the suburbs fit in to that formula?

    Will be conflicted every time the needs of the suburbs conflict with the needs of Bridgeport.

    The list just goes on and on and on.

  4. Holding fundraising events outside the district is no big deal There are limited facilities and limited dates available, especially in the May-June Graduation-Wedding-Awards period.

    Vazzy’s is owned by a Trumbullite, a D22 constituent. Many of the employees live in Bridgeport.

    This past year both Dems and Reps from Trumbull were forced to hold events at Vazzy’s in Stratford due to date availability.

        1. Frank,
          You can be sure if Marilyn Moore holds four or five fundraisers and they are all in Bridgeport, Trumbullites like Marshall will be complaining about her ignoring the rest of the district.
          Can’t win with politicians who have already made up their minds for all of the wrong reasons.
          Will you second that thought for me, Cabana Boy?

          1. I am sure there are plenty of Trumbull and Monroe back yards that are well equipped to accommodate 150-plus. Ironic, a Trumbull guy made a decision based on the verbiage in the “Bridgeport-centric seconds” for Moore on Convention night, but does not care about a venue that clearly is not in Trumbull either. Also does not seem to care while making a pitch to Trumbull, from what the word is on the street, all McCarthy spoke about was Bridgeport. But hell what do I know, I live in the 23rd.

          2. Don’t bet the ranch.
            I wouldn’t care if the venue were in a neighboring town based on availability. As I said both parties in Trumbull held events at Vazzy’s Stratford location this past year due to scheduling and availability. I wasn’t offended.
            I would expect Moore to have most if not all fundraising events in Bridgeport, not Monroe or Trumbull, that’s where her strength lays.
            You haven’t heard me being critical of Moore. She did an adequate job, but not a great job for Trumbull. Incumbency is not enough of a reason to support anyone. If the Republicans had put up a decent candidate I’d have voted against Malloy.

          3. No need. She has her money and donation count according to this post.

            No matter what you say, the poster boy for crony politics and bad government is not the answer. There are better, cleaner people to recruit. Did you really want Moore out bad enough to settle for this? Scary priorities.

  5. Again another lame comment from Marshall Marcus in support of Tommy Mac. But what can one expect but lame comments about Tommy Mac because the track record he has established is impressive only to inner-circle Democratic leaders.

    1. Bob,
      There is not one word in my comment in support of Tom McCarthy. I only opined on venue choices during the tight spring graduation-wedding-awards banquet season. My comment would apply to any candidate and I mentioned both parties in Trumbull having to have gone to Stratford in the past year in order to get the desired date.

  6. And not only is the fundraiser in Fairfield but at the municipal golf course where McCarthy favors selling land there AND in Veterans Park to Sacred Heart University to aid in their future expansion.

  7. And speaking of lame comments, Lennie’s post is very lame. He talks about McCarthy’s fundraiser and it is a sign of how easily he will be able to raise the money to qualify for public financing. And treats as an afterthought the fact Marilyn Moore has already met all the thresholds and has filed her request.
    For all the Moore supporters this is a sign of what we will be up against all summer long. Tommy Mac will be treated as the incumbent because he is a career politician and many outsiders will assume the seat is his.

    1. What a Great fundraiser that was. I had a good time. I think we have a few more great McCarthy fundraisers coming up. How ironic a pic of Ganim and Mario were there. They have a relationship with McCarthy and did not make any speeches urging us to support McCarthy. He is however the endorsed candidate and they could have made a lot more noise–they did not. The comments made by Bridgeporters, Trumbull and Monroe residents speak volumes.

      Bob, what’s the difference where a candidate holds their fundraiser? I am hoping we have a few downtown especially at the new amazing restaurant that just opened across the street from the City Hall Annex. The food was superb!!! Scarpariello’s. Very highly recommended. Great food, great prices and just thought I’d share.

        1. So Steve, as our curbside reporter on all things food (while not having the time to outline fully the weaknesses you ascribe to the school system), is this where venues that cannot make it “downtown” go to flourish? Leave it to you Steve, flapping about food, to deliver a most revealing comment about removal of food venues from our downtown scape. You reveal, whether intentional or not, the indicators for the Finch years, that despite your “droning” cheerleading on OIB failed to grasp economic reality. Good food, good service, good bar offerings, good pricing and hospitality should make for multiple destinations that remain destinations for years because the owners are profiting by practicing what they enjoy and do well. Steve, want to provide some metrics in this regard for New Haven, Hartford and Bridgeport? Time will tell.

  8. Steve,
    I realize ethics is not a concern of yours but for the record Tommy Mac contracted with a vendor of the city of Bridgeport whose lease or operating agreement will come up again for approval by the City Council.
    You are in your deck chair on the Titanic but for the lack of good illumination cannot see the tips of the icebergs.

    1. Bob. For the record, I believe you’ll find Tom McCarthy did not contract with anyone. The contract would have been made with the campaign committee for State Senate, which is NOT a Bridgeport employer.
      If you want to besmirch anyone, it pays to get the facts straight. All candidates have to have campaign committees with treasurers and make regular reports to the Secy of State’s office. The candidate as an individual does not contract for services or pay for them.

        1. Vazzy’s is in business to make money. They’ll book any campaign event on an available night, if the campaign wants to pay the asking price. No need for a wink. Don’t ascribe problems that aren’t there.

          1. So I guess you are considering ethical judgement a problem because that is what I am talking about.

  9. My question concerning Michelle Lyons’ position on the SHU weasel deal was answered by a party eager to defend Michelle’s political honor. As I now know, Michelle is against the deal. Her picture with TM is all about history and friendship and not about present political issues.

    Sorry Michelle! I do know you and have worked with you and probably shouldn’t have shared my inner musings about the implications of the picture with TM. But this is Bridgeport during a big election season with weasel deals coming at us from all angles, so everybody involved in B’PORT politics is going to be in the line of fire at some point, but I shouldn’t have been doing the sniping in this instance.

    Speaking of being in the line of fire, Paul Timpanelli apparently has his hand in the SHU deal and would like to add it to his list of “accomplishments”–or should I say “accomplicements”–before his long-overdue retirement.

  10. Tommy Mac thinking: “Well if I vote yes on the budget, the Mayor will be okay with me, but I am condoning this tax increase if I do that, so maybe I will vote against it and appear to support my constituency, but I am screwed with the Mayor. WWTAMD? (what would Trumbull and Monroe do?) Well what does that matter? This is a Bridgeport issue. I guess I should vote against it and chance screwing the Mayor over. Oh but I so want to be a Senator! What if Mayor Ganim pushes back and that helps me lose? Better ask Trumbull and Monroe, that’s how I will get elected.”

    Moral of the story: He will side with the course of action that helps him get elected. That’s it.

  11. Frank,
    Tom McCarthy is an expert on “conflicts” inasmuch as he has had so many while “serving the public” in Bridgeport. Of course if not too many are aware of the conflicts it works better for you because then no one is keeping score or recording which team you are working for at any given moment. But in the current instance, to vote for the budget and vote against the mil rate is silly for a “smart and experienced Council President.” If a video camera had been on him at the moment and questioned Tom’s reasoning for his negative vote for the mil rate approval, after full participation in most of the budget discussion of the previous six weeks, what could he say? “Duh” and smile? Too many hats worn, too many responsibilities with conflicting applications, and too little understanding of how such elected representation hurts too many of his fellow citizens who have less formal education, more “tough knocks” real life experience, and far fewer “formal” power structure people who “got your back.” So much comfort dulls your appreciation of how off base you can get? And perhaps allow you to be picked off? Play ball!! Time will tell.



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