WASHINGTON – Residents of Bridgeport, Connecticut, will cast their vote for mayor on Tuesday, knowing there is a chance the results won’t truly settle an election that has been thrown into uncertainty by allegations of voting irregularities.
A state judge last week ordered a rerun of the Sept. 12 Democratic primary in Bridgeport, the state’s largest city. In this contest, incumbent mayor Joe Ganim defeated his challenger John Gomes with 251 of 8,173 votes cast.
The Gomes campaign later sued the city and demanded a new primary after receiving evidence of possible illegal ballot box stuffing days before the original primary.
This brought about the most bizarre of all mayoral contests across the state.
The candidates in Tuesday’s mayoral election in Bridgeport are Ganim; Gomes, who filed to run as an independent after losing the primary; Republican David Herz; and independent Lamond Daniels. The Associated Press will tabulate the election results on Tuesday but will not announce a winner until the legal challenges are resolved.
Ganim is seeking an eighth term as mayor. He previously served from 1991 to 2003 before spending seven years in federal prison on corruption and racketeering charges related to his time in office. Voters returned him to the job in 2015 and 2019. Gomes served as the city’s acting chief administrator in Ganim’s second administration until his demotion in 2016 and later served as deputy chief administrator until his dismissal in July 2022.
Gomes has publicly suggested that his ouster was retaliation for being considered a possible candidate for mayor. Ganim already faced a major challenge in his re-election bid in 2019, when he narrowly defeated Sen. Marilyn Moore by 270 votes. This result was also challenged in court, but a judge ultimately affirmed the victory.
Postal votes were held under police guard on Tuesday afternoon and the mayor insisted the rules would be followed.
In the city of Derby, located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of New Haven, incumbent Mayor Richard Dziekan is running as an independent for the fourth time after losing the Republican primary to City Councilman Gino DiGiovanni Jr., who has been indicted by federal prosecutors August 10 with illegally entering the U.S. Capitol during the riots on Jan. 6, 2021. DiGiovanni, who was elected to the city council 10 months after the attack, has admitted to being at the Capitol that day but has denied any wrongdoing.
The Democratic candidate is former city councilman Joe DiMartino. In 2021, Dziekan narrowly won re-election by 48 votes over DiMartino. Republican Donald Trump outperformed Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 derby — 52% to 45% — despite losing by nearly 14 percentage points statewide. Joe Biden won back the derby for Democrats in the 2020 general election with 51% of the vote.
Other notable mayoral elections are in Hartford and New Haven. Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven are Democratic strongholds. In the 2020 presidential election, Biden prevailed in all three cities and achieved a vote lead of at least 60 percentage points.
RELATED | Leaked footage raises questions about voter fraud in Bridgeport’s mayoral election
CT court hears arguments in mail-in ballot fraud caseA woman in Connecticut is accused of stuffing mailboxes with fake ballots. Marcus Solis has more from Bridgeport.
* More Connecticut news
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News