On city dime, Ganim pops up in Texas for immigration protest

Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim reminded Democrats on Thursday he knows how to stay in the public eye without cost to his campaign for governor: Ganim was among the U.S. mayors protesting outside a temporary immigration detention center in Tornillo, Texas that has become a political touchstone.

“The mayors quickly organized yesterday and, frankly, turned on a dime,” Ganim said in a telephone interview from the airport in El Paso where he was departing for a flight home less than 24 hours after his arrival. “I got a call at 3:30 and was on a plane at 5.”

Ganim’s overnight trip to Texas in conjunction with the U.S. Conference of Mayors will be paid for by the city, he said. The mayor’s office circulated a one-minute video of his remarks outside the camp and issued a statement denouncing the Trump administration’s recently abandoned policy of separating parents and children detained after entering the country illegally.

“Using children as pawns to force Congress to fund a border wall is cruel and immoral,” the statement said. “As leaders and mayors we need to raise our voices to speak for them and do everything we can stop these ruthless actions and policies.”

Ganim is a long-shot candidate for governor, burdened by a corruption conviction that bars him from participating in the state’s public financing program, which offers grants of $1.35 million to qualifying major-party candidates engaged in a primary for governor. The program provides $6.5 million for the general election.

Delegates to the Democratic state convention denied him the support necessary to qualify for a primary against Ned Lamont, who won the Democratic convention endorsement. But Ganim successfully petitioned to force a primary against Lamont on Aug. 14.

Lamont’s campaign has yet to demonstrate it has settled on a strategy for dealing with Ganim, who is using the press events to needle Lamont as a Greenwich businessman too distant from average Democratic voters. Lamont’s campaign has largely ignored Ganim, though it archly asserted this week that Democrats would prefer Lamont’s vision to Ganim’s record.

On Thursday, the Lamont campaign offered only praise for anyone willing to fight the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

“We didn’t realize Joe was in Texas,” said Marc Bradley, manager of the Lamont campaign. “Any voice” raised in opposition “is obviously welcome. The issue to us is more important.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is traveling Friday to Tortilla and the port of entry in El Paso. Connecticut Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District; Joe Courtney, D-2nd District; Jim Himes, D-4th District, and Elizabeth Esty, D-5th Distrcit, are also traveling to the border with other members of the House.

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