HARTFORD, CT — (Updated 1:30 p.m.) Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim says he’s an “imperfect candidate,” but believes he’s in the best position to win the Democratic nomination and turn the state around by focusing on cities.
Ganim, 58, was first elected mayor in 1991. He later served seven years in federal prison for corruption while he was mayor in Bridgeport. But he ran again and won his old job back in November 2015 by a nearly 2-to-1 margin over his closest opponent.
“I took my knocks,” Ganim said. “I put myself out there as one with experience, but an imperfect candidate who has something to offer.”
After officially filing his campaign paperwork with the State Elections Enforcement Commission, Ganim came to the state Capitol press room to speak with reporters.
During the availability, Ganim said he believes he offers the best opportunity for Democrats to win in November.
Many may disagree with that statement despite Bridgeport re-electing him as mayor in 2015.
Ganim is unable, according to a federal judge, to use the public financing system based upon his criminal conviction.
Republican Party Chairman JR Romano said the judge was wise to deny Ganim access to public funds.
“But with the Democrat field filled with the likes of a failed mayor from Hartford and a mayor currently under investigation by his own Common Council I can see why Joe Ganim thinks he has a shot,” Romano said.
Despite Romano’s rhetoric, Ganim remains confident in his chances.
“I haven’t seen an election that’s determined by someone’s past,” Ganim said. “It’s really going to collectively be about who can project the most positive and credible future for Connecticut.”
He said it’s an opportunity for Connecticut’s “second chance.”
City contractors, unlike state contractors, aren’t barred from giving money to Ganim’s campaign under the state’s fundraising rules.
“If they’re not barred then they have a right to contribute if they want to,” Ganim said. However, he said he’s not actively soliciting them.
“I have not been soliciting city employees or city contractors particularly,” Ganim said.
According to his July report, at least 103 City of Bridgeport employees had donated to Ganim’s campaign. A tally of city employees who contributed to Ganim’s exploratory committee from the October report has not been calculated.
The press conference was interrupted toward the end by Eric Connery, facilities administrator for the Office of Legislative Management who said Ganim was not able to have a press conference in the building.
“Once he’s the endorsed candidate he can hold it anywhere he wants,” Connery said.
Av Harris, a legislative liaison for the City of Bridgeport and a former WNPR reporter who tagged along with the campaign Wednesday, said there is no restriction against an impromptu conversation with the media.
“I have a problem because we’re getting beat up at the moment,” Connery told Harris.
Harris said it wasn’t a press conference.
After the event Ganim headed to a Waterbury pizzeria to continue his campaign announcement and on the way his vehicle with a reporter from the CT Post in tow was pulled over for going around 100 mph.
According to reporter Neil Vidgor, Ganim was not driving and they didn’t receive a ticket or a warning.
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim announces run for governor in state Capitol press room.
Posted by CTNewsJunkie.com on Wednesday, January 3, 2018