Joseph P. Ganim on election night. CTMIRROR.ORG
Mayors Joe Ganim, left, of Bridgeport and Dan Drew of Middletown at a forum for gubernatorial candidates and exploratory candidTs.

A spokeswoman for Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim said Thursday he will formally announce his candidacy for governor next week, but that a “Ganim for Governor” account opened Wednesday on Twitter was unauthorized and appears to have been the work of “an enthusiastic supporter.”

“That account was not a campaign account,” said Rowena White, a spokeswoman. “It was most likely an enthusiastic supporter. The mayor found out about it through the media.”

CT Mirror reported the creation of the account Wednesday night after checking with a senior Ganim staffer about the mayor’s plans. The staffer, who confirmed the mayor had told News 12 in an interview earlier Wednesday of his intention to announce on Jan. 3, was unaware that the Twitter account was unauthorized.

From the authorized account.

The unauthorized Twitter account went inactive Thursday morning, briefly causing confusion about the mayor’s intentions. Ganim quickly clarified his gubernatorial plans with a one-word text message: “In.”

Ganim, 58, has been raising money through an exploratory committee since April. Under state law, politicians generally have 15 days to terminate an exploratory committee and open a candidate committee once they publicly state their intentions, as Ganim did Wednesday in his interview.

If authorized, the creation of the campaign Twitter account would have served the same purpose, as it delivered an unambiguous message: “I’m seeking your support for the office of Governor of Connecticut.”

An authorized gubernatorial campaign account, @JoeGanim2018, went live Thursday. It describes him as a “potential candidate for governor.” White said the unauthorized account was deactivated without Ganim’s contacting Twitter.

The unauthorized account. Twitter

The differences between a candidate committee and exploratory committee are important for politicians who intend to seek funding under the state’s program for the public financing of campaigns. Less so for Ganim, whose criminal record bars him from participating.

(A federal judge last month dismissed Ganim’s challenge of the state law barring public financing for candidates convicted of a felony related to their performance in office. Ganim was convicted of leading a kickback scheme during his first stint as mayor.)

Exploratory committees can accept individual contributions of up to $375 and have no limits on what they can spend. Once politicians are considered declared candidates seeking public financing, they must abide by a $100 limit on contributions and spending limits.

Candidates not seeking public financing can accept maximum contributions of $3,500 from individuals and $5,000 from political action committees.

In 2010, Malloy did not transition from an exploratory to a candidate committee until March 10, just two months before he accepted the endorsement of the Democratic State Convention and long after his intention to run governor was clear.

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Mark PazniokasCapitol Bureau Chief

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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