Today, President & Co-Director of Bridgeport Generation Now Votes, Gemeem Davis, published an Op-Ed in The Connecticut Post, titled “Time To Call On All Bridgeport Voters:”

February 8, 2024 – Every eligible Bridgeport voter, be they Democrats, Republicans, Independents or Unaffiliated must have the opportunity to vote on Feb. 27 in the general election for mayor. It’s the American way.

To have fair elections voters must trust that the information we receive is true. Since the court ordered Democratic Primary do-over on Jan. 23, Joe Ganim and his supporters have engaged in a dangerous disinformation campaign. Claiming Joe Ganim “won” three times is akin to Donald Trump’s Big Lie and anyone peddling that narrative is complicit in the destruction of democracy.

Be clear, Joe Ganim did not win the Sept. 12 primary. His campaign was sued by John Gomes after leaked video footage showed Wanda Geter-Pataky and others illegally stuffing absentee ballots into drop boxes. After reviewing that evidence Superior Court Judge William Clark threw out the results of that election and ordered a new primary that took place on Jan. 23.

Ganim did not win the Nov. 7 general election. Because Judge Clark had ordered a new primary, the results of that election did not count. Although Ganim’s name appeared on the ballot he was not the official Democratic Party candidate.

The only election Ganim won was the Jan. 23 Democratic primary do-over. And that was only after he spent eight weeks on a “listening tour” using taxpayer dollars and city resources. While he may have been able to fool some people into believing he isn’t a no-show mayor, winning that contest does not make him mayor. It makes him the official Democratic Party candidate.

There are currently three mayoral candidates, John Gomes is the Independent, David Herz is the Republican and Joe Ganim is the Democrat.

While it is not fair that Bridgeporters have had to go through this exhausting process, it is certainly not John Gomes’ fault. If you’ve been paying attention and care about democracy, Gomes is the one on the right side of history. He caught the Ganim campaign trying to steal the election and fought back. The only reason Bridgeporters have to endure going to the polls four times is because Ganim’s campaign conspired to defraud voters by illegally abusing the absentee ballot voting process.

Calls by Joe Ganim and the political establishment for John Gomes to drop out of the Feb. 27 general election because it’s “too expensive” and we need to “move on,” and “get back to work” is anti-democratic and disenfranchises Bridgeport voters. In America we do not elect our representatives through closed primaries where only members of one party can vote. Bridgeport has about 26,000 registered unaffiliated voters and 5,300 registered Republicans. Their voices are important to our local democracy. There’s no amount of “moving on,” or “getting back to work,” that would be tolerated by Democrats if Republicans were caught stealing a mayoral race. And it certainly wouldn’t fly in Greenwich, Fairfield, Westport or Trumbull.

There’s also no price tag that can be put on democracy. The cost of stolen elections is much higher than the cost of re-doing democracy until we get it right. Since this scandal began, certain members of Bridgeport’s political class, along with Gov. Ned Lamont, have been silent on the problem of absentee ballot abuse, voter manipulation and fraud in Bridgeport. Ignoring the problem and not holding anyone accountable for anti-democratic and criminal behavior will not make it go away. It only ensures that the fraud that’s plagued Bridgeport for decades will stay front and center during this legislative session and in the right wing news media as we approach the 2024 presidential election.

Yes, Bridgeport voters are tired and frustrated. But we are also tired of eight years of the Ganim administration not adequately funding education, of the constant barrage of scandals and corruption coming out of City Hall and we are more than tired of having our elections compromised. That said, those of us who respect democracy and the sanctity of the vote will never give into apathy. We will never give up fighting for the city we know is possible. And, we are proud that we can add Gomes and his campaign to the list of allies who will stand up for democracy — even when it’s hard.

Gemeem Davis is president and co-director of Bridgeport Generation Now Votes.