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Police breakup fight between supporters of Bridgeport mayoral candidates

Incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim (left) and JOhn Gomes (right).
Molly Ingram
Incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim (left) and JOhn Gomes (right).

One person has been arrested following a fight over the weekend between campaign supporters for Bridgeport incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim and his challenger John Gomes.

Bridgeport Police said they responded to a call about 12-15 people fighting at 430 Grant Street just after 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

A summons for assault in 3rd degree and breach of peace in 2nd degree was issued to Jazmin Cooper.

The Gomes campaign claims Cooper is related to City Councilmember Eneida Martinez of Bridgeport’s East End. Martinez has not replied to a request for comment.

“Cooper forcibly took possession of campaign materials from Gomes campaign volunteer Kim McLaughlin, without permission and copied the materials before returning it,” the Gomes campaign said in a statement. “[McLaughlin] was waiting for another volunteer to arrive as they were scheduled to visit her aunt."

“Jazmin Cooper jumped out of her car and ran at McLaughlin, shoving her hard against a car. She ripped McLaughlin's clipboard out of her hand, tore up her papers (including numbered [absentee ballot] applications).”

Martinez and city employee Wanda Geter-Pitaki defended themselves before a judge in September after surveillance video showed the pair stuffing an absentee ballot box. Campaign workers and political operatives are not allowed to handle signed absentee ballots in Connecticut.

The judge ordered a new Democratic Party primary election for January, which Ganim also won, and a general election scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 27.

The Ganim campaign called the incident an “ambush” on Cooper, saying she was “targeted.”

“It is deeply concerning that individuals associated with the Gomes campaign orchestrated an aggressive ambush targeting a young woman who was by herself in a parking lot, leaving her feeling vulnerable and harassed,” Ganim said in a statement through his campaign. “The actions of Gomes' operatives, pursuing her, and chasing her with cameras, prevented her from finding her own phone or seeking assistance.

“Such hostile behavior is unacceptable from mayoral candidate Gomes and his team."

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.
A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.