Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim is trying to find any advantage possible in order to mount a competitive contest with endorsed Democrat Ned Lamont in the race for the party’s nomination.
On Thursday, Ganim urged Lamont to pledge to limit spending to roughly $1 million for the primary.
To date, Lamont has committed to spending nearly that much, while Ganim has spent about a third of that total.
“It’s good government,” Ganim said during a stop in Hartford. “It was the intent behind the campaign finance reform.”
Lamont’s campaign manager, Marc Bradley, responded sharply, denying Ganim’s pledge and calling it a political stunt.
“I’m sorry that Joe is having a hard time raising money. I’m sorry that supporters are not lining up to contribute and open up their pocketbooks for him. That’s not our problem. We’re running against Republicans in a serious way in November.”
Ganim finds himself at a significant financial disadvantage to Lamont.
Lamont is independently wealthy after running a successful cable television company and is financing his own run for office. To date, he has reported more than $1 million in contributions, with most of that being his own money injected into his campaign.
Ganim, on the other hand, has raised more than $675,000, but he is ineligible for the state’s public financing program due to his criminal past. He appealed the decision to disqualify him to the State Supreme Court and lost.
Otherwise, Ganim would have $1.35 million at his disposal to spend on everything from television and digital ads to bumper stickers and direct mail.
The Bridgeport mayor says he intends to make formal ad buys soon.
“We’re going to consolidate our money so that we have a presence not only in the neighborhoods or our cities and towns, and on election day but on TV as well. We think it’s important.”
Bradley, with the Lamont campaign, says Lamont has every right to spend what he wants on his campaign, especially since he is not just focused on the August 14 primary.
“The Republican Governors Association has already invested close to $2 million in Connecticut to turn this state red and we’re not going to follow Joe’s request to keep within his limits just to make up for his lack of fundraising.”
Ganim says the gesture of limiting spending would certainly work to his own advantage but added that the virtue is important.
“It would certainly level the playing field and not give the perception that someone is just going to buy an election and I think that’s an important of what people, not only perception, but of reality of what this is about, especially as Democrats.”