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Ganim wins Bridgeport mayoral primary, as absentee ballots once again decide election

Incumbent Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim defeated challenger John Gomes, his former aide, for the Democratic primary, with results announced early Wednesday morning.

Yet again, the race was decided by absentee ballots. The Associated Press called the race for Ganim shortly after midnight. Ganim won a higher share of absentee ballots, putting him in the lead by more than 200 votes.

"Let's reorganize, let’s make sure we‘re focused on what's critically important between now and November," Ganim said. "We got to do our job to make sure the next four years; we do it for the people."

But Gomes did not immediately concede the race. He told supporters he has questions about the integrity of the vote.

Both campaigns have accused each other of improperly soliciting votes.

"There will be tangible evidence that this election was sabotaged," Gomes said.

Ganim previously fired Gomes in an act Gomes characterized as retaliation for Gomes exploring his own Bridgeport mayoral run.

Ganim first served as mayor of Bridgeport from 1991 to 2003 before spending seven years in federal prison for corruption and extortion charges stemming from his time in office. But he achieved an unlikely political comeback in 2015, winning the mayoral election.

He was last re-elected in 2019 after a tight primary where he narrowly defeated state Sen. Marilyn Moore by 270 votes. Accusations of irregularities over absentee ballots prompted several investigations during that election.

The primary results could be the first go in what's shaping up to be a replay contest in November. Both Ganim and Gomes have qualified for back-up spots on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Republican David Herz and petitioning candidate Lamond Daniels are also running.

This story has been updated. Connecticut Public's Patrick Skahill and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kate Seltzer joined Connecticut Public as an investigative reporting fellow in January of 2023. She's also the co-host of the station‘s limited series podcast 'In Absentia'.
Ashad Hajela is CT Public's Tow Fellow for Race, Youth and Justice with Connecticut Public's Accountability Project. He can be reached at ahajela@ctpublic.org.

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