BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Six days after a state judge ordered a new Democratic mayoral primary in Bridgeport, citing evidence of mishandled absentee ballots, voters headed to the polls Tuesday for the general election.
Superior Court Judge William Clark determined the allegations of possible misconduct warrant throwing out the results of the Sept. 12 primary, in which incumbent Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim defeated John Gomes by 251 votes out of 8,173 cast. Absentee ballots secured his margin of victory.
Gomes and his campaign obtained and publicly released surveillance video, which they claimed showed a Ganim supporter stuffing absentee ballots into a ballot drop box. Gomes and his team sued city officials and demanded a new primary or for him to be declared the winner. Ganim has repeatedly denied any knowledge of wrongdoing related to the ballots.
The date for the new primary has yet to be set.
Ganim appeared the Democratic nominee on Tuesday’s ballot, while Gomes appeared as an independent candidate. Republican David Herz and petitioning candidate Lamond Daniels were also on the ballot.
If Gomes defeats Ganim and the two other candidates, he will withdraw his legal challenge of the primary and “that will be the end of it,” his lawyer, William Bloss, said. “There will be no new primary. There’s no new general election.”
Ganim declared himself the victor of the race just after midnight on Wednesday.
“Tonight, vengeance and bullying loses to vision and progress for the people of Bridgeport,” he said to cheers from his supporters. “The Gomes people and his crew have been beaten twice now. In sports terms you call them ‘two-time losers,’ but this is much more important than a sporting event.”
He called on Gomes to revoke his claims of misconduct, stating that the accusations of misconduct had lost their legitimacy.
Watch Ganim’s speech in the player below:
Tuesday night, Gomes asked his supporters for patience as results continue to come in.
“It’s been a rollercoaster, but it’s been a good rollercoaster because the people of Bridgeport, my supporters, remain committed,” he said.
He’s declared himself the victory of the primary election, claiming it was “stolen” from him.
“We had our votes suppressed, our votes taken away from us,” Gomes said. “We had our civil rights attacked. But, yet we continue to stay strong, and we showed up today.”
Watch Gomes’ election night remarks to supporters in the player below:
Ganim said on earlier on Tuesday that the general election’s results were impacted by the judge’s decision.
“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “We’re gonna look tomorrow and see if there has to be another primary and another general election. But, that’s beyond my authority.”
Watch Ganim’s initial election night remarks to supporters in the player below: