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After Ganim's third win, what's next in Bridgeport's mayoral election saga?

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim celebrates with his supporters in downtown Bridgeport, declaring victory against his challenger John Gomes early in the night before the official vote counts were announced during a re-do of the city’s Democratic primary.
Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim celebrates with his supporters in downtown Bridgeport, declaring victory against his challenger John Gomes early in the night before the official vote counts were announced during a re-do of the city’s Democratic primary.

For the third time in the last four months, Bridgeport Democrats have chosen incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim over challenger John Gomes. The latest win for Ganim came in Tuesday's do-over of last September's Democratic primary. A judge ordered the re-do after Gomes raised allegations of absentee ballot fraud from some Ganim campaign staffers.

The Bridgeport mayoral primary is done, but there could still be another general election next month. It would be the fourth time Gomes and Ganim have sqaured off. But Ganim’s challengers could, as a group, decide to call off that race, said Connecticut Post reporter Brian Lockhart.

“The order that the judge issued in the fall stipulated that a general election will move forward Feb. 27,” Lockhart said. “Unless all of the opponents of the primary winner drop out.”

Ganim’s three opponents are Gomes, who can continue running as an Independent, Lamond Daniels, who's petitioned his way onto the ballot, and Republican David Herz.

“As long as one of them wants to continue the fight with Joe Ganim,” Lockhart said. “We will have a Feb. 27 general election.”

Gomes has not yet made his intentions public. Lockhart said while he’s also still trying to get definitive word from Daniels about his intentions, Herz has confirmed to him that he’s open to removing himself from the ballot if the other Ganim challengers would agree to do the same.

“This is really going to depend on the candidate’s resources,” Lockhart said. “Does John Gomes feel that he has the resources, the support, the infrastructure to keep fighting for another month? And there's going to be some pressure, I think, brought to bear on him not to do so — and to try and unite the party. He has, technically, lost three times.”

One other factor Ganim’s would-be challengers will almost certainly be weighing: Ganim just had his strongest showing this election cycle. For the first time since last September’s primary, Ganim won both the absentee ballot vote and the in-person vote. Lockhart partially attributes that to the redoubled efforts of Ganim and his campaign staff.

“They worked harder, there is no question,” Lockhart said. “My understanding is, from his campaign, that he was really aggressively working the phones and having private meetings with people who don't necessarily like him, [to] sort of engage with them and talk about what he could do better, how he could be a better mayor. He put that extra work in, I think over the last few months, and it showed on Tuesday.”

John Henry Smith is Connecticut Public’s host of All Things Considered, its flagship afternoon news program. He's proud to be a part of the team that won a regional Emmy Award for The Vote: A Connecticut Conversation. In his 21st year as a professional broadcaster, he’s covered both news and sports.

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