BRIDGEPORT – Mayor Joe Ganim declared victory in the general election after a tally of absentee ballots on Tuesday, setting in motion a new court-ordered Democratic primary.
According to numbers provided by the Secretary of the State, the incumbent beat out challenger John Gomes by 175 votes. The unofficial results give Ganim about 41.3 percent of the votes, Gomes 40 percent, petitioning candidate Lamond Daniels 13.2 percent, and Republican candidate David Herz 5.5 percent.
In a Wednesday message to CT Examiner, Gomes’s campaign said the results mean that Bridgeport Democrats will soon return to the polls for another primary election.
Last week, a Fairfield Judicial District Superior Court judge ruled to overturn the Sept. 12 Democratic primary – where Ganim again beat Gomes by about 250 votes after a late night count of absentee ballots – in an absentee ballot fraud lawsuit filed by Gomes.
In the 37-page ruling, Judge William Clark said he found subpoenaed footage of two Ganim supporters seemingly stuffing city dropboxes with stacks of absentee ballots to be “shocking.” In court, both of the accused – Wanda Geter-Pataky and Eneida Martinez – took the Fifth.
After Clark issued his decision, Gomes’s attorney, Bill Bloss, told CT Examiner that there would likely be no need for another primary if Gomes wins the general election. But because Ganim won on Tuesday, state and city officials now have three days to pick the date for the new primary.
At around 10 p.m. at his election night event, Gomes declared that he had won at the polls by 564 votes. He asked his supporters to stand by as they awaited a count of absentee ballots. Attendees of the event soon began to worry that the challenger would lose his lead after the count.
“Here we go again,” said one attendee at Gomes’s mention of absentee ballots.
According to the Secretary of the State, 1,691 of the 2,372 absentee ballots issued in Bridgeport had been returned by 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
In an interview with CT Examiner on Tuesday, Ganim said he would not be focused on Clark’s ruling until after election day. In the meantime, he said that every vote in the general election counts.
“We’ll see what happens afterwards with regards to the court cases and things like that, but this is people’s right to vote,” Ganim said on Tuesday. “This is election day. And I’m hoping that people will obviously use the opportunity to come out and vote.”
Ganim’s campaign did not respond to a CT Examiner request for comment prior to publication.