What happens in Bridgeport come Election Day 2015 is anyone’s guess. But it’s pretty safe to say it won’t be boring. The stage is set for a showdown among popular incumbent Mayor Bill Finch, popular former mayor and ex-con Joe Ganim and bitter Finch nemesis Mary Jane Foster. The potential contest already has political observers very interested.
Things started to really take shape in recent days as Foster officially joined the race and Ganim held a jam-packed fund raiser that furthered the speculation he would join the contest. Finch has a hefty campaign war chest and is showing no signs of being intimidated by either.
Ganim has been sniffing around, fueling rumors of a political comeback for some time now. He is making all the right moves for another run. He’s opened an exploratory committee, apologized for really the first time and held that fundraiser at Vazzano’s Four Seasons in Stratford. He raised some $50,000 in that one event.
Prof. Gary Rose, chairman of the government and politics department at Sacred Heart University says Ganim’s for real. “This is Bridgeport. People may be saying, ‘yeah, ok, there was pay for play but on balance, he brought jobs to the city and did a good job.’ They still fund him a compelling figure,” Rose said. “It’s an unusual threshold [in Bridgeport]. The bar is pretty low as far as ethical issues. They seem to have more tolerance for it.”
Rose says Mayor Finch should be looking over his shoulder. “I think so. He [Ganim] still has a strong base of support. But then again, look what happened in Providence, [RI].” Former Mayor Buddy Cianci tried a political comeback after serving time in jail for corruption.
Foster offers an interesting twist to the race. She announced her candidacy this week. The University of Bridgeport vice president and co-founder of the Bridgeport Blue Fish minor league baseball team ran in 2011 only to lose in the Democratic primary to Finch in a personal and nasty race.
Foster has held a series of fundraisers and is building a campaign infrastructure. She filed papers Monday.
There’s plenty more to come in this race with the potential for two of the three candidates teaming up to increase the chances of victory.