Murphy, Himes, Blumenthal Throw Their Support Behind Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim

A photo of Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and Sen. Chris Murphy appearing Ganim's social media on Friday.

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BRIDGEPORT – Sen. Chris Murphy, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Jim Himes endorsed Mayor Joe Ganim for another term on Friday ahead of an upcoming court-ordered election.

Days after a Superior Court ordered new elections based on “shocking” evidence of absentee ballot fraud by two Ganim supporters, CT Examiner could not get any of the three lawmakers to say whether they would ask the incumbent mayor to step aside.

But on Friday, Murphy, Blumenthal and Himes joined Gov. Ned Lamont in supporting Ganim’s reelection in a joint statement.

“We encourage all registered voters to participate in shaping the future of Bridgeport by making a plan to go to the polls and support Mayor Ganim on Tuesday,” the lawmakers urged voters.

The endorsement was announced in a text sent to Ganim supporters on Friday, and Ganim’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Thomas Gaudett confirmed the endorsement at a Saturday Get Out the Vote event.

In the statement, Murphy, Blumenthal and Himes pointed to what they said were key accomplishments by the seven-term mayor.

“Joe Ganim has led a resurgence in economic development and instituted programs that have spurred new jobs and greatly improved the quality of life for Bridgeport residents,” they said. “Under his leadership, the city’s strategic allocation of ARPA dollars has benefited hundreds of local businesses and nonprofits, repaired and maintained roads and infrastructure, and addressed critical community needs through strong local and federal partnerships.”

In the last six months, Ganim has won three consecutive voters for Bridgeport mayor – the Sept. 12 primary election, Nov. 7 general election and a Jan. 23 primary do-over.

The general election redo between Ganim, the Democratic candidate, and Gomes, a Democrat running with the Independent Party, will be held on Feb. 27.

While state and federal Democrats have stayed largely silent about the race following the release of evidence of ballot fraud by Ganim supporters, the endorsements come about a week and a half after Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee Chair Mario Testa called on Democrats to break that silence and endorse Ganim, citing the help the party has given Democrats in state and federal elections.

As of October 2023, Bridgeport is home to almost six percent – 48,947 – of Connecticut’s total Democratic voters.

Blumenthal, Murphy and Himes also endorsed Ganim’s run for reelection against State Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Bridgeport, in 2019. It was his second successful run after serving seven years in prison for fraud, extortion and bribery.

On Friday, Murphy and Ganim also visited local businesses supported with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the senator said he looks forward to continuing to work with Ganim. 

Ganim has also managed to pick up endorsements from two of his recent opponents in the race for mayor, Democrat Lamond Daniels and Republican David Herz, as well as Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and the state Democratic Party.

But in a Saturday statement, Gomes – who sparked the new elections by suing city officials for absentee ballot fraud – called Testa the key driver of the recent support.

“It is truly extraordinary to watch a modern day Boss Tweed at work. The most powerful elected officials in Connecticut who chose to remain silent throughout the Bridgeport ballot controversy suddenly decided to bend the knee and kiss the ring of Chairman Testa, because he threatened to withhold support of his absentee ballot operation in future re-election campaigns,” Gomes said.

Gomes also linked Wanda Geter-Pataky – an operations specialist for the city, vice chair of the Bridgeport DTC and one of the two people accused of ballot stuffing in a recent lawsuit — to Lamont and Murphy, who honored her at the 2019 Women’s Leadership Awards Brunch.

Gomes called on the officials to prosecute those who have participated in election fraud, urging the protection of Bridgeport residents.

“While the ‘wheels of justice’ are turning slow enough for the political beneficiaries of the Testa-Ganim absentee ballot machine to secure their next election win, the voters of Bridgeport continue to suffer national humiliation, election disenfranchisement, and in some instances coercion in exchange for housing,” he said.

Murphy and Blumenthal did not respond to CT Examiner requests for comment prior to publication. A spokesperson for Himes confirmed the endorsement on Saturday.