BRIDGEPORT — Mayor Joe Ganim and challenger John Gomes have collectively brought in almost $115,000 in contributions to fund their continued battle for the city’s top seat, after a judge ordered a new Democratic primary and general election.
Although Gomes has raised less than Ganim, he spent more on fundraising than the mayor — $51,118 since Oct. 30, about $6,200 more than Ganim.
On Tuesday, the Gomes campaign urged the importance of fundraising, especially against a candidate like Ganim, who has served seven terms as Bridgeport’s mayor.
“It takes grit, determination and financial support to defeat an entrenched incumbent,” campaign representatives told CT Examiner.
The latest filing period began just two days before Judge William Clark ordered a new Democratic mayoral primary based on evidence of absentee ballot stuffing by Ganim supporters. The Sept. 12 primary named Ganim the winner by about 250 votes, and Gomes subsequently filed the lawsuit with the Fairfield Judicial District Superior Court.
Altogether, the candidates have raised a total of $1,058,375 since announcing their mayoral runs — $649,420 by Ganim and $408,955 by Gomes. Fundraising efforts by the candidates are set to continue past the new primary on Jan. 23 and into the second general election on Feb. 27.
City employees, attorneys and committees
According to the latest filings, several key players in the absentee ballot lawsuit contributed to Ganim’s campaign about a month after Clark issued the primary redo.
Eneida Martinez, a newly reelected City Council member, gave Ganim $250. During the hearings, Gomes’ legal counsel presented an 18-minute video of city security camera footage which appeared to show four instances of Martinez depositing stacks of absentee ballots into city dropboxes.
Attorneys Harold Rosnick and Jon August from Miller, Rosnick, D’Amico, August & Butler — the firm that represented Ganim in the lawsuit — gave the mayor a total of $750.
Ganim also brought in almost $12,000 from 35 individual city employees, including city attorneys, staff from the Mayor’s Office, teachers and City Clerk Lydia Martinez. Bridgeport attorneys Edward Adams, Richard Kascak, Bruce Levin and R. Christopher Meyer contributed a maximum $1,000 donation.
Gomes, however, received only one $50 donation from a city custodian. In total, Gomes received seven $1,000 donations from retirees and business owners, while Ganim earned 42 maximum contributions.
The mayor also received large contributions from numerous attorneys with local firms like Pullman & Comley, Berchem Moses, Russo & Rizio and Reynolds Strategy Group. Several real estate developers and investors from Connecticut Realty Trust, KBE Building Corporation, RCI Group and New England Investment Partners also maxed out their donations to Ganim.
Gomes did not receive contributions from other political committees, but Ganim earned $3,000 as of Oct. 30, including a $500 donation from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, $1,500 from Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers and $1,000 from the Committee to Elect Democrats, a political committee chaired by the mayor’s father, George W. Ganim Sr.
The Ganim campaign did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.