‘I’m appalled.’ Ganim says he knew nothing about alleged ballot stuffing in first TV interview
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim said Friday that he is “appalled” by a video appearing to show one of his supporters stuffing an absentee ballot box. The video has now drawn national headlines and led to a lawsuit challenging last week’s Democratic primary.
Ganim made the comments in his first television interview, with News 12’s “Connecticut Power and Politics.”
“I'm appalled by it,” he told host Eric Landskroner. “There's no place in my campaign.”
BALLOT BOX VIDEO
The edited security camera video shows a woman, and later a man she’s observing, stuff stacks of papers into an absentee ballot box seven times. Ganim’s opponent, John Gomes, posted the leaked footage on social media last weekend.
Gomes’ campaign identified the woman as Wanda Geter-Pataky, a longtime City Hall employee and Ganim campaign organizer, in a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission (SEEC). Geter-Pataky declined comment this week, but she may not be able to stay quiet much longer. She’s on the witness list for Monday’s hearing.
SEEC has also launched several investigations into potential ballot tampering. Bridgeport Police are also investigating the video – and how it got leaked.
Landskroner asked Gomes: “Do you believe that Mayor Ganim himself knew about this?”
Gomes replied: “Well, I'll let him answer that question, but the evidence clearly states what transpired."
Gomes filed a lawsuit this week, seeking to overturn the results and order a whole new Democratic primary. On Monday, a judge will consider an emergency order stopping Bridgeport’s town clerk from certifying the results.
Ganim said he welcomes the outside scrutiny.
“I have faith in the court. Bring it on,” Ganim said. “We're going to have another round, whether it's in a primary or in the general election.”
Ganim also noted that police are investigating whether one of Gomes' running mates improperly entered a voter's home looking for an absentee ballot. The candidate is question has denied wrongdoing.
“JOE’S GOT TO GO”
On Friday, protesters gathered in the shadow of that now-infamous ballot box – in front of the Margaret Morton Government Complex – demanding that Ganim resign.
“They go to the most vulnerable people,” said Eve Parsons, of Bridgeport.
Many were angry that Geter-Pataky is on paid leave as the investigation continues.
“Turns my stomach, man,” said Joe Burns, of Bridgeport. “Only a government position, you can commit a crime and get the paid vacation. It's unbelievable.”
One of those protesters was Leslie Caraballo, a Ganim running mate who dropped out of a Board of Education race after the scandal surfaced.
“I removed my name from the ballot because this isn't right,” she said. “I mean, I saw the video.”
Catch our full interview with Ganim and Gomes this weekend on “Connecticut Power and Politics.” It airs Saturday at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. or Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.