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Bridgeport Mayor Ganim Considers State Run, Despite Felony Convictions

Joseph Ganim speaks with reporters after declaring victory in the Bridgeport mayoral race as his son, 18-year-old Joseph, looks on.
Joseph Ganim speaks with reporters after declaring victory in the Bridgeport mayoral race as his son, 18-year-old Joseph, looks on. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim gets a kiss on the cheek from a fan at his 2015 swearing-in ceremony.
Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim gets a kiss on the cheek from a fan at his 2015 swearing-in ceremony. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Mayor Joseph P. Ganim
Mayor Joseph P. Ganim Photo Credit: File

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Could his next title be Governor Ganim?

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, who spent seven years in prison on federal corruption charges for spearheading a “pay-to-play” atmosphere during his first tenure as mayor from 1991 to 2003, is considering a run for statewide office.

Having taken back the mayor’s office in 2015, Ganim has submitted a petition to the Connecticut State Elections Enforcement Commission, asking for a declaratory ruling that would pave the way for a future campaign.

He’s asking the commission to grant him permission under state law to participate in the Citizens’ Election Program, should he be a candidate for statewide elected office. Part of the campaign finance law appears to ban anyone with a felony conviction related to their public office from participating in the clean elections program, according to his attorney, Arnold Skretta.

Gamin was convicted in 2003 of racketeering, extortion, bribery and mail fraud.

“Today I am asking the State Elections Enforcement Commission for a declaratory ruling stating that I be allowed to participate in the Citizens’ Election Program should I seek statewide elected office,” Ganim said in a statement Friday. “I want to be clear that I have not decided to seek statewide office, but it is something I am considering. If I do seek statewide office, I am absolutely committed to transparency and clean elections, and I would want to participate in the program.

“Simply put, I am looking for the same equal opportunity, should I decide to seek State elected office, to participate in the clean and fair public financing system that has transformed Connecticut’s elections for the better. If I should run for such an office, I am requesting the honor and privilege of being among those who can say they came to office free of special interest money.”

Ganim said he believed the statute, as written, creates “an illogical system” and the law, if applied as he reads it, “could have the effect of distorting the democratic process.

“I am committed to open, accessible and transparent government.”

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