BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Former Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim is running for re-election this Tuesday, despite having spent seven years in prison on corruption charges.
Five years after his release from prison, the Democrat is seeking a connection with voters on issues including taxes and crime.
“People of Bridgeport are excited for the opportunity for positive change,” Ganim told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane.
Ganim returned with a “second chances” message that rivals, including Independent Mary Jane Foster and Republican Rick Torres, reject.
“Oh that’s baloney,” Torres said. “They’re taking advantage of people that actually need a second chance…He doesn’t need any second chances. We need a second chance, Bridgeport needs a second chance.”
“It’s not just the bribes that he took, it’s the millions and millions of dollars that never came because he did what he did,” Torres added.
“The cost of corruption is that we have had to fight tooth and nail to get back on developers’ agendas,” Foster said. “Developers are worried, they’re very, very worried about what might happen if there is a Ganim administration.”
Foster said it took two mayors and three-and-a-half terms to bring development back to Bridgeport.
“That’s the cost of corruption,” Foster said.
Ganim is more willing to discuss his past when it comes to his record as mayor and cut off talk with reporters about whether corruption remains a campaign issue, Murnane reported.
Ganim was convicted of steering city contracts in exchange for wine, clothes, cash and home improvements. He served seven years in prison before his release in 2010.