Ganim Declares Victory in Primary Do-Over, Pending Absentee Ballot Count

Mayor Joe Ganim stands outside Central High School in Bridgeport during the Democratic primary redo on Jan. 23, 2024 (CT Examiner).

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BRIDGEPORT — Unofficial results named Mayor Joe Ganim the winner of the Democratic mayoral primary election do-over on Wednesday, with 56 percent of the total votes. But final absentee ballot counts remain unknown as of Wednesday evening.

Ganim’s original win against challenger John Gomes in the Sept. 12 primary was overturned in November based on evidence of absentee ballot fraud by two of his supporters. But on Tuesday, the mayor secured his third and most substantial win against Gomes in the last five months, cementing his spot with the Democratic Party in the general election re-do.

Of the 8,865 votes reported on Wednesday by the secretary of the state, Ganim received 4,971 to Gomes’ 3,894. Ganim’s 1,077-vote victory far surpassed his 250-vote win in September and his 179-vote win in the Nov. 7 general election.

But as of 6 p.m. on Wednesday, no final count of absentee ballots has been released.

Ganim declared victory less than an hour after polls closed on Tuesday based on a preliminary count of in-person votes, but Gomes announced he would wait for the final absentee ballot count. 

Per state law, the results of the special election must be certified by city election officials and submitted to Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas by 5 p.m. on Wednesday. A spokesperson for Thomas confirmed that the certified count would be announced by Bridgeport’s Town Clerk, not the state. The office, however, has not yet responded to inquiries by CT Examiner.

The last update on absentee ballot counts came Tuesday night, when the Town Clerk’s Office announced it had received 1,980 of the 2,749 disseminated absentee ballots. 

In a Wednesday statement, Ganim thanked Bridgeport residents for their confidence in his campaign and celebrated high voter turnout.

“I asked the residents to come out and make a strong statement with their votes, and they responded. The results show a turnout and plurality of victory that both greatly exceeded the September primary,” Ganim said.

While both candidates said on Tuesday that in-person turnout seemed particularly low, the new primary actually received 692 more votes than the September election.

In a Wednesday statement, Gomes said he was surprised by Ganim’s win, but grateful for those who supported him.

“While the unofficial results did not align with our expectations, we take pride in the movement focusing on education, public safety, economic development, and good governance that began 14 months ago with you, the people of Bridgeport,” he said.

Gomes has not yet confirmed whether he will participate in the court-ordered general election on Feb. 27.