Former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr.’s endorsement Friday of Mary-Jane Foster in the Bridgeport mayoral race gives the Foster campaign an opportunity to remind voters that Joe Ganim had a lot of help in reviving the city during his tenure as mayor.

Weicker, who took office as governor 10 months before Ganim was elected mayor in 1991, played a major role in aiding Bridgeport during Ganim’s first term, when the city’s finances were under the supervision of a state oversight board.

His endorsement made no mention of his decision to move Housatonic Community College and a state police barracks downtown or the financial relief he provided Bridgeport by picking up the expense of running the Beardsley Park Zoo. Foster’s campaign took care of that.

“Weicker is widely credited with saving Bridgeport when he was Governor,” it said in a statement.

Ganim was mayor from 1991 until 2003, when he resigned to begin serving seven years in a federal prison after his conviction of charges stemming from a scheme to extract bribes and kickback from persons doing business with the city.

“I understand how important it is for any city, and especially Bridgeport, to have a leader in the Mayor’s office that partners in the private sector, labor, and government can trust,” Weicker said in a statement. “Mary-Jane Foster is a leader we can all trust and is the only person running who can secure the commitments from a diverse group of people to move Bridgeport forward. I enthusiastically endorse her candidacy.”

Weicker made no mention of Ganim.

Ganim won a three-way Democratic mayoral primary last month, defeating Mayor Bill Finch and Foster. She is on the November ballot as a petitioning candidate.

Her campaign is calling her an “Independent Democrat,” which is how Joseph I. Lieberman referred to himself after losing a Democratic primary in 2006 and then winning re-election as a petitioning candidate.

Weicker, while a Republican, lost his Senate seat to Lieberman in 1988. He was elected governor as an independent in 1990.


Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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