He has only been governor for two weeks, but Democrat Ned Lamont is already being dragged into Bridgeport’s 2019 mayoral contest.
The two marquee contenders — incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim and state Sen. Marilyn Moore, who announced her candidacy Monday — signaled this week that they will tout their relationships with the state’s chief executive as they compete for control of City Hall. Moore represents Trumbull in the Senate.
Ganim, despite waging a bitter losing gubernatorial primary against Lamont last year, went so far as to claim he and Connecticut’s new chief executive have “built one of the strongest bonds — a stronger bond than I’ve had with any other governor I’ve served under.”
Moore, who not only supported Lamont for governor but was on his list of potential lieutenant governor running mates, said her relationships at the Capitol in Hartford would mean more state money for Bridgeport were she mayor.
"“The (city) leadership has to change for us to get our fair share from Hartford,” Moore said.
While Ganim during the primary was mocking the number of bathrooms the millionaire Lamont has in his Greenwich home and portraying his opponent as out of touch with urban voters, Moore campaigned for Lamont.
“We would have been a great pair, huh?” Lamont said to Moore last June when they walked Bridgeport’s Reservoir Avenue neighborhood together.
“This is who I’m putting all my energy in,” Moore had told Reservoir Avenue residents at the time. “I trust him and believe you can trust him, too.”
Most recently Moore was co-chairwoman of a Lamont transition committee focused on women’s policy.
Despite their primary battle, Ganim, following his loss, eventually helped garner votes for Lamont in Bridgeport where the latter won big, outperforming recently retired Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s Bridgeport poll numbers from 2010 and 2014.
Responding Monday to Moore’s criticism that he spent too much of 2018 running for governor with nothing to show for it, Ganim credited his campaign with helping to focus Lamont on the needs of Connecticut’s cities and then talked about their “bond.”
Ganim then recalled that as a newly elected big city mayor in 1991, he had a good working relationship with then-Gov. Lowell Weicker, a Republican turned independent. Ganim ran Bridgeport from 1991 until 2003 and was re-elected in 2015.
Lennie Grimaldi, who was an aide to Ganim in the 1990s and now operates the Only in Bridgeport website, last November speculated on whether Lamont could be another Weicker for the city.
Grimaldi wrote that Weicker was “Bridgeport’s godsend” who used his power and state funds to do “gigantic things” to invest in Bridgeport and to help a young Ganim save it from the brink of bankruptcy.
Grimaldi in an interview Wednesday said he believes Ganim and Lamont “have established a pretty solid relationship” and will be much closer than Ganim was with Malloy.
“Lamont shows no signs of being vindictive,” Grimaldi said.
He added, “Marilyn was an early supporter of Lamont. That’s going to go a long way.”
“After Weicker, my sense is Lamont will be a strong governor for Bridgeport,” Grimaldi said. “Whether it’s Ganim or Moore (occupying the mayor’s office), Bridgeport’s poised for some good things happening under this governor.”