Connecticut mayor who regained office after corruption conviction wins another primary

Politics

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, 63, defeated John Gomes, the city’s former chief administrative officer, by a narrow margin Tuesday in a Democratic primary.

In this July 12, 2018 file photo, Democratic candidate for governor, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim speaks during a gubernatorial debate in New Haven, Conn. AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, who went to prison for corruption and then regained his old job back eight years ago in a remarkable political comeback, has won the Democratic nomination for another term.

Ganim, 63, defeated John Gomes, the city’s former chief administrative officer, by a narrow margin Tuesday in a party primary.

Gomes declined to concede and could possibly run again in the general election, but the Democratic nominee is expected to have a big advantage. Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city, hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1991.

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Ganim’s campaign claimed victory late Tuesday, crediting his win to the “remarkable transformation” of Bridgeport under the mayor’s leadership. The campaign said Ganim had helped the city become more financially stable and developed it as an entertainment hub.

First elected mayor in 1991, Ganim was in office 12 years, then quit when he was caught accepting bribes and kickbacks. Convicted of racketeering, extortion and other crimes, he spent seven years in prison, but then won his old job back in an election in 2015. He won reelection again four years ago.

His second stretch in office has not been trouble free. In 2021, Bridgeport’s former police chief, Armando Perez, was sentenced to a year in prison for rigging a 2018 police chief examination to ensure he’d be selected.

Gomes, 52, who immigrated from the Cape Verde Islands, announced he was running for mayor against his old boss after losing his city job last year.

Speaking to supporters at around midnight, Gomes said he was not ready to quit.

“This time our voice will not go silent. All I can say is stay tuned. I have not conceded,” he said.

Besides Gomes, if he decides to run, Ganim now faces Republican attorney David R. Herz in the general election. Lamond Daniels, a Democrat who failed to get on the primary ballot, has also qualified to appear on the ballot as an independent but has yet to announce his plans.

Also on Tuesday, a Republican primary between the incumbent mayor of Connecticut’s smallest city and an alderman facing criminal charges that he entered the U.S. Capitol with a mob of rioters appeared to be headed for a recount.

Final unofficial results showed a tight contest in the race in Derby, a city of 12,400 people.

Mayor Richard Dziekan had 192 votes. His challenger, Gino DiGiovanni Jr., had 202. Races decided by less than 20 votes trigger an automatic recount. Town Clerk Marc J. Garofalo said on Facebook that a recount in this race will likely be held Friday.

DiGiovanni, 42, who was elected to the Derby Board of Aldermen & Alderwomen in 2021, pressed ahead with his campaign despite his arrest Aug. 15 on charges related to his presence in the crowd that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.


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