What’s The Winning Number In A Democratic Primary For Mayor?

In less than two weeks the 90-member Democratic Town Committee will endorse a candidate for mayor as well as others for municipal offices. The next day challenge candidates will commence to petition onto the ballot for the September 16 primary. Who has an edge?

History is on the side of the endorsed candidate for mayor, but with some recent close calls. The last time an endorsed mayoral candidate was defeated in a Democratic primary was 1975 when John Mandanici took out Bill Mullane. Mandy had strong pockets of party support to lift him over Mullane.

Mayor Bill Finch, by virtue of the power of incumbency, should have an edge going into the July 21 party convention, with former Mayor Joe Ganim holding his own from years of political alliances and working Finch opponents. A check with various political operatives shows the mayor has strength among town committee voters in six districts including Black Rock, South End, West Side and portions of the North End and East Side while Ganim has support in the East End, Upper East Side and portions of the North End and East Side.

Who are these people making the endorsement? They are party regulars who prime the pump of political campaigns. Some are on the government payroll, others elected officials, others neighborhood activists involved in their community.

Endorsed candidates for mayor, however, have had some close calls including 2003 and 2007.

The 2003 Democratic primary was a wild bomb-thrower that included six candidates five months after Ganim resigned office following his conviction on federal corruption charges. John Fabrizi, the City Council president, succeeded Ganim as mayor, but had his share of baggage as a party insider exploited by then maverick State Rep. Chris Caruso. Fabs won the primary with 4,240 votes to Caruso’s 3,937 with school board member Max Medina placing a respectable third. Fabrizi won the general election following a competitive challenge from Republican Rick Torres who’s running for the city’s top office this year.

Fabrizi, under pressure from party regulars following revelations of drug use and seeking court leniency on behalf of a sexual offender who was friends with his son, decided against another term in 2007 when polls showed he was well behind Caruso. Party players needed someone who could defeat Caruso. They prevailed upon then State Senator Bill Finch who edged Chris Caruso 4,263 votes to 4,051 in a 25 percent primary turnout.

Four years later as the incumbent Finch defeated Mary-Jane Foster by roughly 5,400 to 3,800 in a 21 percent turnout. The registration was higher that cycle as a result of Barack Obama running for president in 2008.

What will the turnout be this September? Ganim’s presence will likely bring out more voters both on his behalf and against. Finch will spend about $600,000, Ganim $300,000 and Foster likely $150,000 or perhaps more. That will equate to record spending in a primary. The current Democratic registration is roughly 38,000. Assuming a Finch, Ganim and Foster primary, will the turnout hit high 20s to 30 percent?

Possibly, which means somewhere between 11,000 and 12,000 Dems will turn out. That places a target number for victory around 4,500, perhaps a bit higher.



  1. I have NEVER attended a DTC convention. This should be interesting.

    I trained another canvasser today. In two hours, we had nine doors’ answers. One voter was leaning towards Joe, but did not fully commit. We tried to switch an unaffiliated to a Democrat. She said I can pick up the voter registration card tomorrow. I will definitely follow up. One voter said they were moving to South Carolina because it was too “expensive” to live here. The other six houses enthusiastically committed to vote for Joe, which totaled 10 ones. This included three ABs. A BPD police officer exited his house and said “you know who we are voting for, Maria.” I said well to be sure, who are you voting for. He said “this entire house will be voting for Joe.” Four votes locked, and they vote in every single election.

    When I tell my neighbors I hope to run with Joe for the BBOE, it definitely helps lock in votes for Joe and his ticket.

    1. Maria, everyone I spoke to today enthusiastically said they would support Joe. They specifically said he was smart and you just want to squeeze him he is so cute, that was from 25 woman and five men. That included Mayor Finch and Mary-Jane Foster. Maria, I’m thinking landslide. If you came to my door I would tell you enthusiastically I am voting for Joe, why wouldn’t I vote for Joe? Then I would suggest we go to the 50’s diner for scrambled eggs and grits and bash Finch to all the customers. 🙂

      1. Steve, in BBOE elections I had a total of 224 votes for my candidates. I came in slightly higher at 228 votes for my candidates. That is how solid my IDs are.

    2. Canvassing the neighborhood again! Training others! You are a hard worker. Your small mindedness brings me such entertainment.
      You don’t like me. Your right … my preference.
      You assume because my friends are MJF supporters, I am too!
      So you bypass my door, two away from yours every time you are out in the neighborhood.
      I can deliver a household of seven votes!
      But no, you don’t put the good of the candidate ahead of personal stupidity!
      Joe’s loss!
      Hey Joe, stop by. I have a few questions. Would like to have an honest discussion!

        1. Observant yes, paranoid no!
          Maybe you were on the right side of the street the other day! But for as many times as you have walked Nutmeg, you bypassed my house 100 percent of the time! And that is a fact.

    3. Maria, get there early and find a good place to stand so you can see what’s going on because there will not be any extra seats. Sit back and enjoy the show, when Chris Caruso was involved with the DTC it was real fun when Chris would challenge Mario about the rules of order.

  2. Note to Mayor Finch, I was at the 50s dinner for a bite before heading downtown. I sat at the counter and victor from VIP haircuts next door is a fan, you should pop your head in, I just happened to run into him again this evening at Tiagos. Everyone I spoke to is a Finch supporter. that is the honest truth. Maria, I will bet within two weeks those enthusiastic Ganim supporters will be voting for Finch or Foster.

    It takes a winner to come from behind and I think Joe will realize Mary-Jane Foster is just getting started. Finch already has his supporters. I would not count out Charlie Coviello, Howard Gardner and David Daniels. People actually like them.

  3. Lmao Lennie, 11,000 12,000 you will be lucky if it hits 10,000 my number says between 8,000 – 10,000. I will not be voting for Finch and there’s a good chance I will not vote for Ganim either. Believe it or not I have heard people say Finch is doing a good job with steel point.

    1. donj, I have heard Bridgeport will not see a dime from Steelpointe for the next 20 years, and no one with a brain would ever put that deal together! Just another Finch give-away project! Now please show me one project that has a return on investment for the taxpayers so far.

      Just one!

  4. The jobs we need are ones that supply a living wage. The retail jobs at Steel Pointe will not supply a living wage for struggling adult residents.

    If one is looking to connect with folks who read books, go to a library. If one is looking to connect with folks who are into fitness, join a gym. If one is looking to connect with fellow Finch supporters, go to Tiagos. You will hear what you need to hear if you gravitate towards like-minded folks who will share your view. It’s location location location, once again.

    You will not hear Finch is doing a good job in my neighborhood, or from the folks in my circles. It’s all relative.

      1. Ron , honestly, I have been to the Knowlton Fish Market twice in the past month for fresh Snapper. I have not stopped at the park but I hear it is nice and do know Lydia Martinez was reading stories to the children on Thursday. Why?

  5. Steve,
    Wish I had time to get out there as you do. Just think of it. The City owns the beach but the ride over depends on the generosity of others, and a new playground. Where did that money come from? Kindness of others? Or was it in the Parks or Rec department? Or someplace else? The BOE budget is supposed to be good for the kids, right? Kids are the future of our city, right? And the Mayor supplies ballfields and playgrounds (with borrowed funds?) in an election year and you reference the future of our city? How long is youth supposed to last if the playgrounds operate better than the schools? If the Mayor does not play nice (in the City sandbox) with those planning educational futures? And if academic success prepares the youth and our City for the future? What “dystopic” future are you forecasting? Time will tell.

  6. I would like to buy the video/story rights for this convention. It’s going to be one for the Bridgeport history books. Lots of dramatic and even entertaining moments.

    Joe takes it after Mario breaks a tie in the fourth round of voting.

    Let the pasta fly!

  7. This just Breaking News! Joe Ganim is in the 134th. He just knocked on my mothers door with his entourage. She said he was very nice and asked what I thought. I said he was very nice.

    She is voting for Mayor Finch and I do not know if they were aware that was my Mothers townhouse in Candelight, but I will say I really love the energy he has. You can’t believe the bullshit from the people who surround you. You have to get out there.

    I just came from Two Boots. The bartender is moving downtown from Stratford and she is so excited for Bill Finch. Say hello to Amy. The young people are smart and they do their research. Crony politics and Democratic town committees mean nothing to them. I met three professionals living at City Trust and they love it. When I told them everything in the works they were more excited. People want to know what’s going on and I love to tell them. Drew from Forstone get busy, I am not going to continue doing your job! Go see Amy at Two Boots!

    1. To carolanne and Jeff, in particular–In light of Donald Trump’s absurd entrance into the national political scene, how does his outright purchase of Joe Ganim’s body and soul in the mid-1990s sit with you? Do zebras really change their stripes? It’s beyond time for an unpurchasable Mayor in City Hall.

      1. Come Back Bridgeport // Jul 10, 2015 at 7:41 pm
        To your post
        I don’t know about zebras, I care little for Donald Trump and there are a sufficient number of individuals in our City, our State, and our Country for you to intelligently recognize that repentance and reform can become the redeeming cloth to the sinner.
        That may not be acceptable to you, but to me it is my personal, political and philosophical belief that this is Joe Ganim today.
        I couple that awareness with the awareness of the unquestionable skills Joe Ganim brought to the Mayor’s Office.
        The question you ask is whether Joe has changed, not whether stripes change on zebras. Yes, he’s changed. In my opinion.

  8. I just found it rather funny when you go into Two Boots you hear raves about Finch, and when our folks drop by daily it seems to be a different restaurant completely. It seems you locate Finch fans everywhere you go.

    Like attracts like I suppose.


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