Lamont, Ganim unite in Bridgeport
BRIDGEPORT — Former gubernatorial rivals Joe Ganim and Ned Lamont stood side by side chanting “blue wave” Thursday night.
Was it really just this past summer that Ganim, Bridgeport’s mayor, mocked millionaire Lamont’s wealth and eight bathrooms?
But there they were under the chandeliers in restauranteur and Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa’s banquet room, rallying the crowd of Democratic city insiders to vote Tuesday for Lamont for governor and for the party’s entire ticket.
“We have the best candidates, at every level, for every office,” Ganim said during a thunderous pep talk, proving yet again how much better of a public speaker and politician he is than Lamont. “Are you with me on that?”
In the two-and-a-half months since their bitter campaign ended, Ganim and Lamont and their respective allies have tried to come together. And with polls showing a close governor’s race, the latter has ramped up his campaign stops in Connecticut’s largest city.
Republican Bob Stefanowski, on the other hand, has barely shown his face in this reliably blue town.
Ganim recalled for the crowd Thursday night how Lamont ate “veggie soup and chicken” in the heavily-minority Stratford Avenue neighborhood earlier in the day.
“I love Bridgeport,” a verging-on-hoarse Lamont shouted to the crowd, some of his other praise for the city getting drowned out as wait staff brought dinner to the banquet tables. “Every day, I’m going to fight for good-paying jobs right here in Bridgeport.”
Ganim, who is running for re-election next year, needs a Democratic governor in office that he can work with to push local economic development and other initiatives forward.
“As the state’s largest city, we have somewhat of an obligation,” Ganim said. “We need to turn out the neighborhoods and the Democratic vote in Bridgeport on Tuesday.”
Joining Lamont Thursday night were his running mates — Susan Bysiewicz, candidate for lieutenant governor; Comptroller Kevin Lembo; and William Tong and Shawn Wooden, contenders for attorney general and treasurer, respectively.
While it was a boisterous evening, there were also somber reminders of a nation in turmoil.
Councilwoman the Rev. Mary McBride Lee, who got the “blue wave” chant going, first offered a prayer for the lives lost at Saturday’s synagogue shooting in Philadelphia.
And U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who is on Tuesday’s ballot for re-election, talked about divisive Republican President Donald Trump’s pre-election decision to send U.S. troops to the southern border. Murphy referred to news reports that Trump stated any migrants who throw rocks at soldiers should be considered armed.
“Is that what America is about?” Murphy told the crowd, casting Tuesday as the most important election of their lives.
Testa, the evening’s host, insisted in a brief interview before the rally and dinner began that “we are doing our best” to get the vote out next week.
Ganim may be more of a natural interacting with urban voters, Testa said, but Lamont has improved.
“We have the same energy for Ned Lamont as it was for Joe Ganim,” Testa said.