Passionate Primary Win For Ganim Shows Schizoid Ticket Results

The results of Wednesday’s Democratic primary produced voter ticket-splitting that propelled Joe Ganim to victory but also made some of his ticket companions such as incumbent City Clerk Fleeta Hudson and Town Clerk Alma Maya casualties. Mayor Bill Finch’s running mates for city clerk and town clerk respectively Lydia Martinez and Don Clemons ran ahead of their counterparts, according to the moderator’s report. Martinez and Hudson are close enough for a recount.

The moderator’s report shows among 41,047 registered Democrats, 13,319 were checked as having voted, essentially a one-third turnout. To compare, the last two mayoral primary turnouts were in the low- and mid-20 percent range. In 2011 for instance, when Finch defeated Mary-Jane Foster in a mayoral primary, about 9,200 Dems voted. Most political operatives had pegged roughly 5,000 votes as enough to win on Wednesday. The turnout size surprised many considering the city’s recent anemic voter interest. This primary was passionate.

Ganim received 6,264 votes, Finch 5,857 and Foster 1,177. For city clerk it was Martinez 5,861, Hudson 5,846. For town clerk it was Clemons 6,030, Maya 5,632.

Board of Education results show Dennis Bradley and Ben Walker as victorious running on Ganim’s line, but a third member of Ganim’s school board slate Maria Pereira in a 5,609 tie with Faith Harrison-Villegas running on Finch’s line. A recount will take place. Pereira ran about 200 votes behind Bradley. Who cut the controversial Maria?

For city sheriff, the top three vote producers were Willie Murphy on Finch’s slate and Wesley Matthews and Steve Nelson running on Ganim’s ticket. Long-time sheriff, South End District Leader Mitch Robles, lost.

See full results here.

Select higher precinct turnout numbers:

Black Rock School 49 percent

Hooker School, Upper East Side, 44 percent

Winthrop School, North End, 41 percent

Wilbur Cross, North End, 41 percent



  1. I am glad, over the past years finally there are starting to be more factions in the Democrats. This is good because a one-party system all on the same ticket is bad. Competition usually makes for a better government.

    1. Bpt Porter, are you really glad the Democratic party is so splintered? I am.

      I think this is an opportunity to change the city and the machine stronghold. Mayor Finch will most likely change the future of Bridgeport and the political landscape as we have known it forever. Get ready for exciting change because I cannot imagine November not being amazing.

      1. Steve, you said September would be amazing. Finch has had eight years to change the political landscape. If he wanted to change the political landscape he would have bypassed the party endorsement, transcending politics, and made his case in the general election to all voters with $800K in campaign funds. Now it’s a much higher mountain to climb from a much weaker position.

        1. Have to agree with Lennie, albeit with some qualification. Bill Finch lost and most of the candidates on his ticket won. That ain’t exactly a mandate for change but it does send a clear message. The voters chose a convicted felon over the incumbent. Finch could still prevail in November but it is an uphill race for him now. The mudslinging tactics backfired in a town where more than half the population knows or is related by blood or marriage to someone who has had negative contact with the criminal justice system. People started to say”Enough already, leave the man’s past alone!” and began to root for Ganim as the underdog.

          Finch’s tactics backfired.

          Mary-Jane Foster’s campaign just never got off the ground.

        2. Lennie, you are absolutely correct. If it were me and I knew the mentality of the city, I would have bypassed the DTC endorsement and took it directly to the people. Hindsight is 20/20.

          I actually believe this could be the greatest moment of the Finch campaign. This could in fact end the one-party mentality in Bridgeport. Mario Testa and Ganim need to go. They are synonymous with corruption. The unaffiliated voters and Republicans will Ssupport Mayor Finch and they will be more engaged. Finch will still be able to raise money from developers but there are so many unknowns. Who will the Governor, U.S. Senators endorse? Will they stick their neck out to support Finch or sit on their hands for Ganim? Does it matter?

      2. Steve, do you honestly not believe Stafstrom is not just another face of the same political machine, and Joe and Bill are just two cogs turning in the transmission?

      3. Let me get this straight. Bill Finch gets the party endorsement. Then Bill Finch gets endorsements from: Gov. Dan Malloy, both US Senators, Jim Himes, New Haven mayor Toni Harp, mayor of Providence Rhode Island, Sacramento Cal., Philadelphia, DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala (fart), all the unions he can muster (not police), Barack Obama High School, the milkman, created thousands of jobs (they all voted for him), the BRBC, John Soltis and of course Steven Auerbach. GETS BEATEN by JOE GANIM. Explain this, please.

        1. Joel Gonzalez,
          On the surface it does seem strange. In reality, it is actually a blessing. Joe Ganim and Mario Testa represent the worst of corruption politics. They also ran a very good campaign. If Mayor Finch won by the few hundred votes that Ganim won by it would not be impressive going into the general election.

          Now if you just look at Black Rock, the highest taxpayers in the city as well as the strongest community with the highest housing prices, these folks overwhelmingly supported Mayor Bill Finch. They understand reality and not candlelight vigils at Trumbull Gardens.
          The support for Finch over Foster shows they are astute voters and knew Foster was not going to win. Not one vote in Harding and Dunbar.

          Going into the general election, people are fired up. Well, as fired up as the lazy voters in Bridgeport can be. People are actually stunned at the outcome of the primary. Now the more people in the general election get tired of Joe Ganim’s selfish one-man desire for a job at the expense of the city’s reputation as well as his personal desire for redemption, the voters will take a long hard look at the future of Bridgeport. All of it! Torres will have the full unconditional support of Bridgeport Kid as well as die-hard Republicans, without their votes the Republican party is all but nonexistent in Bridgeport. The 1000 votes Foster received, these people truly believed in their candidate, they now realize what happens when you do not make conscious choices.

          With the whole city voting, Ganim cannot make his case. Bill Finch needs to make his case clearly and humbly. This city is moving forward on all four corners and of course over the course of the next eight weeks I will refrain from any diatribes on this blog. There are obvious choices and this is not about politics and personalities, this is however about the future of our city. This is a call to arms. All the voters pay taxes in this city. What is the only way they can be reduced? How do we get developers here without an abatement here and there? We the people of this city have a lot at stake. Giving a convicted felon a second chance in the mayor’s seat after a 1- year run and seven years in prison or moving this city forward. Let’s face it folks, we are all in this together. Taxes will continue to be an issue until there is nonstop economic achievements in this city. Mayor Finch has laid the groundwork, new green spaces, schools, Steelpointe and downtown. People need visuals, mailings and commercials. Many people in the North End who commute to Stamford have no idea about the progress on Steelpointe. The East End not supporting Finch is a sad reminder of the sad leadership in the East End that has let that community suffer over the past 50 years. East Enders are not happy with the possibility of a job that is walkable?

          JOEL, CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU. I AM HAPPY YOU ARE THRILLED YOUR CANDIDATE WON. NEEDLESS TO SAY I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED MY CANDIDATE DID NOT. I always congratulate the winner and I am confident the city will decide a different outcome by a much more substantial margin in November.

      4. This was supposed to be ho hum and Bill was going to win in a “landslide?” My opinion is with the “Howard Dean” impression and the results from last night, unless the underticket on the Republican side gets creative. It will be the November general election that will be hohum.

    1. It happened before for a much different reason and much better candidate Mr. Charlie Tisdale. Imagine the position we would be in now had Charlie won so many years ago? Had Mr. Finch been a bit more truthful, who knows. He could fire Wood and cut his ties to J. Stafstrom publicly, at least he could leave office with a shred of dignity.

  2. Hmmm, big turnout yesterday, there were lines at polling places. I know a school friend of mine who registered to vote in 2008, did not vote in 2008 but voted in 2010 and that was the only time he voted. Well nearly five years later he votes and he voted for Ganim.

  3. Yes, I would vote for him if Finch had won but how I see it now, the general is between Ganim and Finch and I will not waste my vote like I did yesterday on a candidate who has no chance of winning.

    1. I see your point. Torres took 41% of the vote in the general, which is probably enough to win in November if the current Democrats stay in the race, so saying he has no chance of winning is based on what numbers? Or is it just a gut feeling?

      1. Enrique Torres has a very good chance of winning in November if the primary candidates stay in the race. Bill Finch has raised taxes and cut school funding and the police budget to fund tax abatements given to down-county developers. The attitude of “minimum wage jobs is better than no jobs” just didn’t fly with the electorate. The ABs didn’t really make an appreciable difference.

        Mary-Jane Foster was played; she took votes away from Finch.

        1. It could, yes. But Bridgeport could fall back to a predictable cycle. People may stay home if they think Joe “I have been redeemed!” Ganim is going to win.

      2. “Torres took 41% of the vote in the general …”

        What are you talking about? What general, what year was that? What race was that? Explain, give us links and facts.

  4. I knew this was going to be a close election after so many conversations with friends who were evenly split between Finch and Ganim.

    Some of the anti-Finch vote was because they truly believed Bridgeport was better under Ganim, for many they were angry with taxes, and many were personally angry at Finch and staff.

    I voted for Finch and will vote again for him in November. Nothing and nobody is perfect in Bridgeport politics. But with development finally well underway, I don’t believe we should make a change with a Mayor who would cause new investment to think twice or State and Federal sources to pull back.

    Would love to know the backstory on Foster.

    Judging by the lack of effort with her campaign, I assume she knew she would be a spoiler. The Ross Perot of Bridgeport. No doubt in my mind she cost Finch.

    Kind of weird. I remember Jack McGregor as the Master of Ceremonies at Ganim’s first Inaugural and who then got screwed with the Lenoci’s et al. Then they support Finch only to go after him later with a vengeance.

    1. You bring up a very interesting point. McGregor, a strong Republican, yet MC at a Democrat mayor inaugural ball. MJF a Democrat with strong ties to Wyman and Nancy DiNardo, yet not Malloy or Musto. Could their downfall be they are actually good at reaching out to strong leaders and supporting great candidates despite friendships? Recall, Joe was shiny and new at his first run. MJF saw the downside of both mayors and knew she could do better. She put her reputation in her BR base on the line when she endorsed the Finch supporters’ Stafstrom team. Like most people, when my side wins I am thrilled with the process. When my side loses, I want to point fingers at everyone I believe caused the defeat. (Of course I am usually right … not.) So I would say she was not a spoiler. She is a solid candidate without machine support in any part of this city, and that reality is why honorable, qualified decent citizens do not get elected.

      1. JB,
        I don’t think you make the non-spoiler case for MJF. Supporting Stafstrom should not have cost her dearly as he is an attorney, hard-working and well-qualified for being a State Rep. She only received one out-of-town vote. Would it have been 2 out of 10 if she hadn’t supported him?

        She ran a non-campaign. She either knew she would be a spoiler and get back at Finch or she is delusional and thank God she’s done with elections.

        1. Not really. Two weeks before her endorsement letter came out, she told several people he asked for her endorsement and she thought he had not earned it, her words. She did not tell anyone she had changed her mind. Also, the majority of BR felt and still feels Stafstrom is conflicted regarding his close ties to our bonding council. He only won by ABs, and barely. Sadly, in this town with the next cycle being a presidential election we are no doubt stuck with him. And I AM not bitter.

          1. Sorry. She’s Rosa Perot of Bridgeport. Not endorsing Finch and telling him so is one thing, running a non-campaign is entirely different unless she’s delusional thinking she ran to win.

            Obviously the majority of BR went for Stafstrom or he would not be State Rep.

    2. Denis OMalley,
      I agree with most everything you posted. I am curious about Jennifer’s disdain for Stafstrom and more so with Foster’s belief he hadn’t earned her endorsement. Steve Stafstrom is a competent, articulate and well educated elected official. I think he represents the best of Bridgeport. Black Rock is his turf. I also think Scott and Katie will make fine councilmen.

      I think Mary-Jane Foster was a solid candidate and ran a very poor campaign that never got off the ground. Even if she had raised $300,000, her inability to go after Ganim was almost too painful. I think Foster was a spoiler. I do think Ganim did a better job getting out the vote.

      Finch taking the prize in Black Rock is most important. These are the highest taxpayers in the city and they supported Finch. This was Foster territory.

      Mary-Jane Foster said she would not endorse either candidate and to be quite honest, at this point, I do not think Mary-Jane has any political clout. If she were to endorse Ganim it would be laughable and to endorse a man she called incompetent would be more of a joke. Most people who voted will support Finch, they will not vote Republican, that game failed four years ago with the $600 tax rebate.

      This November, Mayor Finch will have a call to arms. The future is at stake. He does not need Foster’s endorsement. She was a solid candidate but definitely a spoiler. If Marilyn Moore did not have that robo call would Foster’s numbers have been less? If Ken Flatto did not robo call would Ganim’s numbers have been less? Who knows? Who cares? This election was uneventful. The results were stunning but that is yesterday’s news.

      Now, Mayor Finch will re-invent himself, a new party, breaking old guard. He will win. If Charlie Coviello wins then good for him. 🙂

  5. Bridgeport is in political revolt. I believe the Malloy-Blumenthal-Himes-Murphy-Jepson endorsements hurt Finch.

    The relatively high voter turnout and outcome of this election could hint at Bridgeport’s slow-in-coming realization of its electoral power. And if it wasn’t perceived by the Bridgeport electorate before, it is now! And I’m sure it’s sending shockwaves throughout Hartford and Washington, and certainly regionally. (Trumbull should start making plans for its sewage-treatment plant (in Tashua), and Stamford should start planning for massive workforce housing development in Shippan.

    Dan, Dick and Jim, et al., should maybe think about starting a lobbying company with Bill Finch. (They can help get developers for the construction and operation of the Tashua Knolls Sewage Treatment facility and the Shippan 10,000-unit affordable-housing complex!)

    And also; it is interesting Malloy wants to give $52 million to Bridgewater Hedge Fund to create a new facility in Westport. Isn’t that special! Stamford sent them packing, Malloy ignored published suggestions to relocate Bridgewater to Steelpointe, or elsewhere in Bridgeport (as did Mayor Finch, Economic development Director David Kooris, as well as the Mayor’s other down-county overseers), and now the economic development genius Malloy wants to give billionaire Ray Dalio $52 million in scarce Connecticut dollars to once again by-pass Bridgeport for high-value development.

    The voters of Bridgeport must be rallied to not vote to re-elect this Stamford-Greenwich band of sweathouse pirates. We must replace them with urban-friendly representation who respect urban dwellers, our labor, and our great contribution to the Connecticut economy.

    1. This election will make sense to the seasoned and experience politicians of Bridgeport. This phenomenon seems to occur within a 10- to 15-year period; some of the results can be understood, and to the less experienced they will remain elusive for now. It was time for a new leader, I believed from the beginning it was Joe Ganim. I put aside the obvious and worked for him every day since. My presence in this campaign was less important than better leadership. I respect the individual choice of everyone, thank God for that. Good changes can occur as a result of this present confusion, and the most important is every district must take a hard look at the makeup of their town committee, and be willing to enact change this coming March. While I have personal respect for the members of the 132nd district, and as everyone knows it was my knowledge and hard work that kept them in office for the past year and a half, I have known for some time now it is time to initiate change, encourage independence, discourage any political conflict, and seek newer candidates who can be groomed and carry on when the time comes. If this happens in other districts, endorsements will be discussed, vetted, and the best available candidates will be nominated for the right reasons. This carries over to the the City Council, State elected officials and national candidates seeking delegates. The winners of yesterday’s primary should be congratulated, given the opportunity to do their jobs, and if they don’t, they don’t get endorsed the next time around. That’s the responsibility of a responsible Town Committee. I’m aware it’s a political entity and there will always be political plays, but we can keep a bottom line in existence and just maybe, after emotions ebb, we’ll get together for the good of Bridgeport, rid this City of conflicts, demand transparency, and keep our fingers crossed. Everyone involved will eventually fall in place, and those who can’t, leave. None of us are indispensable, especially in politics. Tom McCarthy and I had a brief discussion yesterday, and were both reality based. I said in five years no one will even remember this election, he laughed and said “no one will remember five minutes from now.” He was right!

  6. (Posted previously. Just so this doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of the 140 posts of the previous page.)

    I know a lot of people in the Winthrop district; they voted for Joe because of the ridiculous taxes on their property and the destruction of their neighborhood by Sacred Heart University. Bill Finch and Council President McCarthy have given away the neighborhood to Sacred Heart and other institutional interests. Sacred Heart even thinks it owns Veterans Memorial Park (and it might have, had Bill Finch been able to continue as mayor).

    1. Who cares? If Sacred Heart owned the park, they are responsible to maintain it. Either way it does not produce property tax. The only issue would be who cuts the grass and empties the trash. A developer would have been smart to build housing to compete with SH dorms and many SH students supplement the BPT economy by renting apartments, shopping and eating. BPT should have negotiated an in-state tuition break for SH students. This would encourage SH students to become residents and register their cars in BPT.

  7. I do not believe MJF was a spoiler candidate. She was serious and legitimate. She was the most logical candidate to vote for. Unfortunately, this is Bridgeport (Bizzaroport) and the race was between a motivating felon and an incumbent who followed the guidance of advisers who exaggerated his accomplishments.

  8. I’d appreciate if someone can post the video of Finch’s concession speech (or whatever you call it) at The Bijou last night. I only caught parts of it but heard he was crazed. Thanks.

  9. Jeff, wasn’t that Sacred Heart building on the Bridgeport side of Park Ave. built in the ’90s when Ganim was in office? I graduated from SHU in 1999 and I took classes in that building well before that.

  10. Rumor Mill: What do Joe Ganim and the ghost of Machiavelli (TGOM) have in common?
    Answer: They’re both in it until election day.
    TGOM is determined to scrub Ganim from Bridgeport politics and he has up-to-date methods of achieving his goals. The ghost of Machiavelli dislikes Mario Testa for disrespecting his own DTC and throwing a victory bash for his friend who did not win the nod. TGOM is convinced Testa will retire before he ever does! He’s having too much fun. He’s using Bridgeport as a beachhead to stage a comeback. TGOM likes American democracy, Frank Sinatra and Mayor Finch’s policies. He thinks democracy worked for Ganim in September, and by November the pendulum will swing to Finch. It’s a long, hard ride and to use a popular term–prepare for fresh ponies.

    1. Those of us with feet firmly planted on the temporal plain think your “Ghost of Machiavelli” crap is just that, crap. Time for you to finish the paperwork, stand up and pull the chain.

  11. 1) I’ve supported Finch in this election. I am old enough to remember the Ganim years, and do not wear the “rose-colored glasses” of so many who now support his “redemption” story. I remember my disappointment with his fall, because he had so much promise. As much as the anti-Finch crowd likes to laugh at his potential lack of employment possibilities if he loses, Ganim was in the same boat when he got out of jail. His earning potential was very very low. So now he is working his butt off to get the only well-paying job anyone would hire him for–mayor of BPT. And all signs point to him being successful because
    2) Finch and his team are running one of the worse campaigns of all time. Ganim’s team is cleaning his clock. Finch’s team is running an ’80s style of campaign that does not work. The pictures Lennie ran on primary night (and those in the CT post pre-election) tell the story … MJF in an empty room, Finch surrounded by a bunch of political flacks, Ganim surrounded by everyday citizens. In the first 24 hours since the primary, the responses from both campaigns shows the connection of one and the disconnection of the other. Ganim? He hit the streets and started connecting to common men and women. Finch? More of the same, tired “Ganim is an ex-con” crap. Finch team, even your most staunchest supporters are tired of that. If that were a successful tactic it would have won you the primary. Ganim was even smart enough to reference embracing UB and helping revitalize the South End. In that one move he is trying to appeal to the MJF crowd without directly going to MJF. I’m convinced the Finch team could not get the most popular kid in high school elected to class president, much less win this mayoral race.
    To the FINCH team–A lot of people in BPT are convinced the city has been pissing on their heads. Quit trying to convince the people it is just spray from one of the damned Waterparks and tell them what you can really do for them!!! Drop the negative crap. It’s offensive to everyone now and focus on the FUTURE of BPT and why we should trust you with it. Because right now it looks like we are getting Ganim, and then we will have to hope like HELL he truly did learn his lesson.

    1. Lisa, I know all Bill Finch supporters really believe “Bridgeport is getting better every day.”

      I’m left wondering if they feel September 16, 2015 was one of those days.

  12. At the end of the day this wasn’t really about the alleged “redemption” of Joseph P. Ganim, it was a referendum on Bill Finch. I agree with Lisa Parziale on one point: These thing have to happen every ten or fifteen years, get rid of the deadwood and the bad blood (pardon the mixed metaphors). Bill Finch raised taxes while cutting the budgets of the BOE and the BPD, both important city agencies. The only explanation for it was he had to pay for the fabulous tax abatements given out like Christmas candy to developers who made “contributions” to his re-election campaign’s war chest. It is deeply troubling a mayor would severely compromise public safety and public education in order to fill his campaign’s coffers. The rank and file uniformed officers of the Bridgeport Police Department have not seen much in the way of wage increases under Bill Finch. No wonder they endorsed Joe Ganim this year (and Mary-Jane Foster four years ago).

    Mr. Finch believes his best chance at electoral redemption lies with the so-called “Jobs Creation Party” chartered by Richard De Parle, a politically opportunistic used-car salesman. Joseph P. Ganim has vowed to challenge the party’s legitimacy in a court of law. With his father’s law firm behind him he could well prevail, taking Mr. Bill off the ballot and pitting Joe Ganim and Enrique Torres against a small group of also-rans.

    More than a few editorial writers have noted the Feds will be watching Ganim very closely, from now to election day in November and beyond should he win.

  13. (For readers who do not look back to previoous threads……Posted moments ago….)

    Friends, Bridgeporters, countrymen,
    I write to improve our City, not to pander to egos….

    And in that regard, now that the primary results are in, and getting analyzed every which way…..does anyone remember any serious discussion about City fiscal standing, budgets, debt, Grand List, abatement policy for economic development, and so on? Isn’t spending nearly $700 Million per year of taxpayer money from local taxes, State and Federal grants of all kinds worth a few words in this high tax environment? Without a Finance Board or active CC oversight, where is the taxpayer left?

    I remember complaints about taxation, but when you looked deeper did you hear candidates provide specific indication of areas to cut? Did anyone celebrate the June, 2015 fiscal year end results that showed a $400,000 expected surplus based on projections, when the results indicated an actual $16,400,000 surplus? Look it up. Now, half of this may have been due to BOE summer salaries, but City Finance does not like to answer questions….at all….from me or anyone else. What does the other $7 Million represent? Why do we have to wait until January to learn? Parks and playgrounds have received over $10 Million in FY2015. Where did the funds come from? Who oversaw the spending?

    OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST values need to be present in governance. What do you think? I’ll be back at the lectern for the public speaking session (6:30 PM) of the CC meeting on Monday, September 18, 2015. With only seven weeks to November 3, perhaps its time to summarize fiscal targets for action so that candidates for all City offices can understand and respond to their voting public?
    Come on down. I am the only public speaker listed. Five more 5 minute spots are available. (Perhaps it’s an opportunity for Steve Auerbach to begin another learning journey?)

    By the way, for the people who have encouraged Tyisha and me in our independent struggle for City Council office, thank you. Local DTC selected and worked for less experienced and less independent candidates, although seven of nine of them missed the forum at Black Rock Library last Sunday. And some Democratic voters were heard from, though many registered stayed home. Of course our names were listed on the Ganim line on the ballot though we were not part of his team, nor from any choice by us. Yet we ran ahead of the B Line in the 130!! We got more votes than Joe Ganim! Meaning?

    We petitioned for a place on the ballot on November 3. We’ll be on a LINE OF OUR OWN!! A place for public Watchdogs! And our opposition will perhaps discover how Black Rock votes AGAINST Ganim for Mayor. Who will represent the people of the entire District AND represent all the people of the City who have been too long ignored? Who will monitor, oversee, and generally be Watchdogs against bad governance? We are working for that responsibility. Time will tell.

  14. I never thought I’d be grateful for transparency but knowing John Marshall Lee has his own line November 3 makes me feel Democracy is working. Congratulations. Wise foresight. Activate your awesomeness and stay open to odd alliances.

  15. I can envision the media adopting JML’s Watchdog Strategy causing a ripple effect that produces America’s (first) City Councilman. You’ll see local leaders quote, cite and reference him in the glare of the national spotlight. The shovel morphs into a mic.

  16. It doesn’t end there. JML is discovered by Colbert who quickly becomes a fan and enlists JML as his one-man political director. Colbert starts a nightly feature called ‘shoveling dirt’ (are you ready to shovel some dirt?) where JML gets reg pub, street cred and a landslide victory.


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