For pure political drama Bridgeport, Connecticut is the city that never disappoints. Your favorite sport? Baseball, football, hockey, sex? In the state’s largest city it’s politics.
After serving about six years in the joint, following his conviction on public corruption charges in 2003, former popular Mayor Joe Ganim is gearing up to run for his old job.
During a recent interview with Chaz & AJ In the Morning, broadcast on 99.1 WPLR, 95.9 The Fox and 102.9 The Whale, Ganim sounded like he’s geared up to challenge incumbent Bill Finch in a Democratic primary in September.
For more than a decade Ganim had professed his innocence irrespective of losing all court appeals while also losing his license to practice law in Connecticut. Then on January 1, he showed contrition for the first time at a church in the city’s East End, a precursor for a comeback.
Banking on a much larger audience with Chaz & AJ Ganim said…
“It took me a while to step up publicly, although privately I’ve had the same discussions with a number of people. Yes, I made mistakes. I broke the law. I breached the trust, and have, as you might know, first of the year had the opportunity within the blessings confines of a church to apologize and ask people to accept that and they have.
“I did break the law and breached the trust and stopped the progress. For that, and for all that we’ve lost collectively, I’m truly sorry. And that goes not just for the people of Bridgeport but anybody else that feels they’ve been affected by this.”
There’s nostalgia for Ganim among some residents who saw progress such as a ballpark, arena, new community college Downtown, plus 10 years without a tax increase.
Finch’s Communications Director Brett Broesder, rhetorical guns ablaze, issued a chivalrous defense of his boss against Ganim.
“It must be hard for Joe Ganim to watch an administration that is succeeding by creating jobs and making smart and sound investments in the future. Let’s be clear about who Joe Ganim really is: He’s a corrupt politician who ran a nearly $1 million criminal, pay-to-play scheme out of the Bridgeport mayor’s office.
“We’re all for second chances in life. But a corrupt politician shouldn’t be allowed to pick the pockets of taxpayers again. It’s common sense.”
This is one race that’s gonna be noisy. In the words of city political activist Phil Smith…
“Some towns play political softball, other towns play hardball…in Bridgeport they play hand grenades.”