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Ganim declares victory, Gomes doesn't concede in Bridgeport mayoral primary

Ganim talks to the media after declaring victory shortly after midnight on election night.
Ebong Udoma
Ganim talks to the media.
Ebong Udoma

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim declared victory in the city’s court-ordered Democratic primary redo for mayor. His challenger, John Gomes, said he would not concede despite an unfavorable, unofficial count.

Ganim declared victory shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday night, ecstatic that he had defeated Gomes on the election day voting machine count by an unofficial count of 3609 to 3335.

It's the first time in three elections since the September primary that Ganim has won without the help of absentee ballots.

“Voters came out in overwhelming numbers," Ganim said. "Over a thousand more voted than in the primary in September.  That’s a strong message. And I extend the branch to everyone who cares about the city of Bridgeport, maybe with different views, including Mr. Gomes, let’s make this city the best we can.”

A court had ordered the primary redo after finding that Ganim’s win by the absentee vote count in the September primary was marred by alleged absentee ballot box stuffing.

Gomes said he would not concede to incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim, despite an unfavorable, unofficial count.

Molly Ingram

Gomes admitted that it wasn’t the result his campaign had wanted — or expected — but stressed that they would not concede on election night.

Instead, Gomes said they would spend the next few days waiting for the final vote totals to come in.

“As a team, we're going to sit down, we're going to evaluate what has happened. We're going to look at the path forward, on to the general election, if God is willing to give us that opportunity.”

The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face a Republican and Independent candidate in a redo of the general election on Feb. 27.

Molly Ingram reports

The unofficial count from the polling machines puts incumbent Joe Ganim ahead of challenger John Gomes, 3609— 3335.

Ganim delivered a victory speech around 9 p.m., saying he is confident that absentee ballots won't matter because of his couple hundred vote lead. Roughly, 1,000 more people headed to vote in person than in the previous election.

A group of about 60 John Gomes supporters gathered at O’Manel in Bridgeport. While speaking to the group, Gomes said, “This is not a concession speech. We will not give up.”

Gomes adds that the numbers were unexpected, but it’s not over. He said they’re going to look ahead to the general election.

As Democrats voted in a redo primary for mayor in Bridgeport on Tuesday, a judge denied a motion to set aside some of the absentee ballots in the rematch between Ganim and Gomes.

The motion from Bridgeport city attorneys had sought to sequester absentee ballots obtained from 1,400 applications requested by a Gomes campaign worker.

Superior Court Judge William Clark’s denial of the motion means all absentee ballots in the election would be counted, said Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas.

“It doesn’t invalidate that vote. It just means the person who gave it to you had not registered with the town clerk. So, the judge struck down that,” Thomas said at a media briefing at a polling place at Wilbur Cross School on Tuesday morning.

Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas at Wilbur Cross School in Bridgeport.
Ebong Udoma
Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas at Wilbur Cross School in Bridgeport.

The judge had ordered Bridgeport’s redo Democratic primary after ruling that the September primary, which was won by Ganim, had been marred by alleged absentee ballot drop box stuffing.

Thomas said in-person voting has been relatively hitch-free, apart from a couple of malfunctioning vote scanners.

“It did not stall the process. As I think most people know, every polling place always has emergency procedures. Or tabulators have auxiliary bins that are secure so voters deposit their ballot in that bin,” she said.

The polls in Bridgeport closed at 8 p.m.

Check for updates. This is a developing story...

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.