Things seem to be changing in Bridgeport. A few years ago, the winning candidate in the Democratic mayoral primary was practically guaranteed to win the general election in November. The main reason: for years the Republican Party in Bridgeport was not considered a viable choice for voters.
This year, things will be different. In the September Democratic primary, candidate Joseph P. Ganim was the winner, by a margin of 400 votes more than the incumbent, Bill Finch. Mary Jane Foster got more than 1,000 votes.
Finch threatened to take Secretary of the State Denise Merrill to court because of an alleged error, which will not allow him to run as the recently-formed Job Creation Party’s candidate. The Secretary of the State denied Finch’s request to be on the ballot, stating that the previously-mentioned minority party hadn’t included him as a candidate by the Sept. 2 cut-off date.
Even a few days ago, there were rumors and speculations that Finch, who served two terms as mayor of the most populous city in the state, would run as a write-in candidate.
Suddenly everything changed, and Finch decided to endorse Mary Jane Foster, who, lost in the primary, but had secured a spot as an independent candidate. The consensus is that dynamic has changed, because Finch’s votes, combined with the more than 1,000 votes Foster had gotten, would trump Ganim’s 6,264.
Experts affirm that independent registered voters could vote for Mary Jane Foster. The main reason they cite is that generally, the people that register as independent do so because they are fed up with the corruption of both parties. For that reason, they prefer not to join a party.
The consensus is that independent voters are politically well-educated. Knowing the past of the Ganim, and his status as a felon, could motivate them to vote for Chris Taylor, David Daniels or Mary Jane Foster, all independent candidates.
David Daniels and Chris Taylor are first-time candidates in a general election. Ganim was mayor of Bridgeport until 2003, when he was convicted on federal corruption charges.
Although Foster ran in the 2011 Democratic mayoral primary, she has never been on a general election ballot.
Enrique Torres, a businessman from the Black Rock area is the Republican Candidate. Torres is very familiar to Bridgeport’s electorate. He is member of the City Council and was the Republican candidate in the 2007 election. Torres is a vocal individual who often challenge the establishment on community related issues.
Foster ran in the 2011 primary, and lost against Finch. They were close friends before Finch won the election in 2007, but that changed due to political perspectives. Even recently, their differences could be felt.
“But we have to put our differences aside,” said Finch when he endorsed Foster, who has only four weeks to deliver her message to the electorate
Finch’s endorsement brought dozens of volunteers together at a rally held at Foster headquarters. There were more than 100 people at the gathering. Max Medina served as emcee. At the meeting at 300 Fairfield Ave., he indroduced Finch, who told the audience that he was unconditionally supporting Foster. He encouraged his followers to do the same.
At the podium, in front of an audience yelling “Foster, Foster, Foster,” Foster said that Bridgeport has been very good to her. She said she would like to return what the city has given to her.
Carmen Colon, a product of the Bridgeport Public Schools, says she wants education in Bridgeport to improve, and believes that with Foster as mayor, the city’s children will have better a education.
At the end of the ceremony, Foster asked the audience to access the web site fosterformayor.com, and to make contributions. She also suggested that the audience get involved with the campaign in any other capacity.