BRIDGEPORT — Joe Ganim has set a date.
Bridgeport’s mayor will run for governor after spending several months exploring a bid to replace fellow Democrat Dannel P. Malloy, who is retiring next year after two terms.
Ganim had said he would make it official in January. Now sources close to the candidate say he will file the necessary paperwork on Jan. 3.
It will be an uphill battle for a few reasons. Ganim, who ran the city in the 1990s until he was convicted of corruption in 2003, successfully appealed to Bridgeport voters for a second chance in 2015.
But he has to convince Democrats outside of Bridgeport, either during the party’s nominating convention or in a subsequent primary, and then all registered voters in a general election, that he can be trusted to run the state.
In November, the Connecticut Republican Party wrote in an email that Democrats are “so desperate that they’re willing to pin their hopes on a convicted felon just so they can avoid being forced to run on the (Malloy) administration’s eight year record of failures.”
Ganim’s criminal record already proved to be a setback in his bid to participate in the state’s public campaign financing program, which withholds state grants from candidates convicted of a felony related to their public office. A federal judge on Nov. 29 denied the mayor’s request for public financing, meaning Ganim will have to raise those dollars the old-fashioned way.
Speaking to the media after the ruling, Ganim made it clear he was still going to run for governor.
“My commitment, my inquiries, my exploration about Connecticut’s future and who should lead it, both as a citizen who has made a comeback, and as mayor of the largest city, remains,” he said. “At the end of the day money is a factor, a huge factor, but it won’t be one that ends this campaign.”
In mid-December, Hearst Connecticut Media reported that Ganim was expected to make his candidacy official in January, and that he — and another potential contender, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin — were courting their New Haven counterpart, Mayor Toni Harp, as a running mate.
There is a crowded field of potential Malloy successors: Six Democrats; 13 Republicans, including Tim Herbst, the former Trumbull first selectman, as well as David Walker of Bridgeport, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, and Oz Griebel, the outgoing chief executive of the MetroHartford Alliance, who announced last week he would make an independent run for governor.