Bridgeport Democrats back Mayor Joseph Ganim for reelection
Mayor Joseph Ganim received a resounding vote of confidence from members of his party Tuesday, securing a unanimous endorsement in his bid for reelection.
Members of the Democratic Town Committee gave their backing to Ganim at a party meeting held at the Circolo Sportivo function hall in Bridgeport.
The major party organizations faced a deadline this week to choose their favored candidates for the mayoral race and other municipal seats, including spots on the City Council and the Board of Education.
While three Democratic challengers are looking to unseat Ganim this fall, none received the backing of party members in Tuesday's endorsement contest.
Ganim, who served as mayor in the 1990s, and later returned to the position in 2015, said the decision shows there's a consensus among community leaders that Bridgeport is on the right path.
"I think what we've done over the past number of years is demonstrate not only do we govern well, but that we have a path of progress, and a vision that we share for a better quality of life, and we're going to get there," Ganim said. "We continue to work every day to do that."
Ganim achieved an unlikely political comeback, winning the mayor's seat eight years ago after serving time in federal prison on municipal corruption charges stemming from his first mayoral administration. He has touted economic development initiatives, financial stability and better quality of life in each of the city's neighborhoods during his second stint in office.
But Ganim's detractors have characterized the mayor as ineffective and detached from his duties at city hall.
His strongest challenge this cycle may come from state Sen. Marilyn Moore, who came close to unseating Ganim in the 2019 primary election. Moore has the backing of a vocal group of activists in the city, including the organization Bridgeport Generation Now Votes, a nonprofit that has called for more transparency in city government and expanded access to the ballot.
Speaking after Tuesday's meeting, Moore told Connecticut public she'll begin the work of gathering signatures first thing Wednesday morning. She pointed to her track record of electoral success, and said she'll court voters looking for an independent Democratic voice in the mayor's office.
"If they really want to see some progress in Bridgeport, I'm the one that can carry it out," Moore said, "and I am the only one that can prove for what I've done in the past that I can get it done."
Ganim's Democratic challengers have until Wednesday, Aug. 9, to gather signatures to get on the ballot for the September primary.
Also among them is Democrat John Gomes, a businessman and former aide to the mayor. Gomes said his goals for the city include strengthening the education system, creating a stronger partnership between city government and the public, making the city more efficient, bolstering public safety and creating consistent economic development.
"The people of Bridgeport are resilient," Gomes said. "This campaign is about a movement, and it has sparked a hope that we can, and we will, rebuild Bridgeport in a new direction."
Another contender, Lamond Daniels, a licensed clinical social worker, said he was motivated to enter the race by a desire for change after eight years of Ganim's leadership. He was joined at Tuesday's meeting by his wife and two young children. Daniels said he wants to improve city schools, and to make the city more affordable for residents.
"I think Bridgeport is at a crossroads. I think it's time for something different," he said. "A fresh face."
Republicans endorsed local attorney David Herz in the mayoral race.
The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 7.