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Sacred Heart U Professor: Ganim Could Affect State Democratic Party Image

Former Mayor Joseph Ganim inched out Mayor Bill Finch in Bridgeport's Democratic mayoral primary election.
Former Mayor Joseph Ganim inched out Mayor Bill Finch in Bridgeport's Democratic mayoral primary election. Photo Credit: Contributed

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The election of former Mayor Joe Ganim could have an impact on future Democratic candidates who decide to run for office in Connecticut.

“If Ganim wins, I think that his election could potentially have ramifications for the Democratic party,” said Gary Rose, a professor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield and head of the Department of Government, Politics and Global Studies. “This is not just some little town. This is a major city in the state of Connecticut in a very important region.”

Rose said a win by Ganim, who served time on 16 federal corruption charges, could negatively impact the party’s image.

If the election ends up affecting the party, it may hurt Democratic candidates in suburban towns and more rural areas, Rose said.

Large cities such as Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford tend to have many Democratic voters. So candidates there won't be as effected by changes in the party's image, Rose said.

But in less-populated districts — where there is a greater mix of Democrats and Republicans — non-Democrat voters may be swayed, Rose said.

High-profile Democratic leaders, including Gov. Dannel Malloy along U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy , have endorsed incumbent Mayor Bill Finch.

Finch is currently fighting to get back on the ballot after his campaign reportedly missed a filing deadline , the Daily Voice previously reported.

Ganim narrowly beat out Finch in the Sept. 16 primary. Mary-Jane Foster also ran, but she received a small share of the votes.

Malloy has not expressed an opinion on the mayoral race in Bridgeport, telling the CT Mirror at an event last week : “I’m not doing anything on that race today. I have to have some conversations and take a look at it.”

The election will not go unnoticed by the state Republicans, Rose said.

“I think that what happens in Bridgeport will be harnessed the Republicans,” Rose said. “The Democratic party in the state of Connecticut is in a quandary. They’re going to have to do some delicate strategizing.”

But Connecticut Republicans aren’t free from politicians with a checkered history. Former Gov. John Rowland, too, served time in prison for corruption.

"This is another sad chapter in a story that Connecticut knows all too well," said Andrew Doba, a spokesman for Malloy told The Associated Press after Rowland was indicted in 2014. "Law enforcement should be commended for their diligence on this matter. Governor Malloy hopes for a quick resolution."

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