Primaries will be held in 25 cities and towns on Tuesday, with 12 Democratic and 14 Republican primaries. Bloomfield has primaries in both parties. Yehyun Kim /

The Republican mayor of Connecticut’s smallest city, Derby, and the Democratic mayor of its largest, Bridgeport, are among the chief elected officials facing primaries Tuesday as voters go to the polls in two dozen communities.

Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford — the three largest cities with mayoral elections this year — are among the five places with Democratic primaries for mayor. Hamden and Middletown are the others.

Republicans are holding contests for mayor in Derby and West Haven and first selectman in Brookfield, Griswold, Killingworth and Thompson. 

Both parties have primaries for down-ballot offices. Overall, there are 12 Democratic and 14 Republican primaries. Bloomfield is the only community where voters of both parties will be going to the polls.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.


In Bridgeport, Mayor Joseph P. Ganim is seeking his third four-year term after a stint in prison on a corruption conviction ended his first tenure in city hall, from 1991 to 2003. He made a comeback in 2015 and was reelected in 2019, if barely.

Last week, Ganim and his challenger, John Gomes, staged pre-election events familiar to Bridgeport: The incumbent celebrated a promised economic development project. The challenger warned of potential fraud.

John Gomes and his campaign manager, Christine Bartlett-Josie, right. Gomes is challenging Ganim for mayor of Bridgeport. MARK PAZNIOKAS / CTMIRROR.ORG

Four years ago, Ganim needed a lopsided 967-to-313 advantage in absentee-ballot votes to defeat his challenger, state Sen. Marilyn Moore, who beat him on votes cast at the polls.

Gomes said Thursday he was concerned about calls from voters about unnamed canvassers pressing them to fill out absentee ballots in their presence.

 This year, a record 4,302 absentee ballots had been requested and mailed to voters as of Thursday, which has unsettled the Gomes campaign. 

By comparison, only 1,167 ballots had been sought and mailed to voters as of Friday in Hartford, where there is a three-way race for an open seat for the Democratic mayoral nomination.

Absentee ballots are not opened until Election Day, but the number of sealed ballots returned to city hall are periodically tallied. As of Thursday night, according to the Gomes campaign, 1,502 votes already had been cast by absentee in Bridgeport.

“Anybody who has an issue, who has some uneasiness about an AB, we’ll pick you up, and we will take you to the polls to vote,” said Christine Bartlett-Josie, Gomes’ campaign manager.

If someone votes at the polls after returning a completed absentee ballot, their absentee ballot will be discarded.

Ganim said the increased use of absentee ballots may just be a consequence of voters using them more during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he was not familiar with his campaign’s absentee-ballot efforts.

“I don’t really know that much about the AB part of it, to tell you the truth.  I don’t really pay much attention on that part,” Ganim said. “If elections are close, you know, you could win on the ABs or win on the machines.”

Gomes has asked for the secretary of the state’s office to monitor the polls and counting of absentee ballots on Tuesday. Ganim said, “Anything that deals with that issue by the proper authorities, fine.”

Ganim briefly took questions about absentee ballots at a press conference announcing plans for a gas station and coffee shop on one of the long-vacant lots on the city’s waterfront.

Gomes is a former member of the Ganim administration who worked on his reelection against Moore. Gomes said he had no involvement with soliciting votes by absentee.

Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim, center, at a press conference announcing plans for a gas station. MARK PAZNIOKAS / CTMIRROR.ORG.

Other Democratic races

Hartford residents likely will learn the identity of their next mayor on Tuesday. Mayor Luke Bronin is not seeking a third term, and winning a Democratic primary in the city is a reliable predictor of a win in November.

Arunan Arulampalam, who easily won the endorsement of the Democratic town committee and has been endorsed by Bronin, is challenged by Eric Coleman, a retired judge and former state lawmaker, and Sen. John Fonfara.

In a televised debate Thursday night, Coleman effectively conceded Arulampalam is the front runner by ignoring Fonfara and criticizing the Hartford Land Bank, an anti-blight nonprofit run by Arulampalam.

Hartford is the only city with a Democratic primary for an open mayoral seat.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker is being challenged by Liam Brennan, a former federal prosecutor. Elicker was elected to a two-year term in 2019, unseating Toni Harp, and reelected in 2021.

Hamden Mayor Lauren Garrett is challenged by Walter Morton IV, a member of the Board of Education. Garrett was first elected in 2021.

Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim is challenged by Ed Ford Jr., who was a Republican until recently.

Republican races

The six Republican primaries for chief elected official involve five incumbents — three of whom were not endorsed by their local Republican town committees.

In Derby, a city of 12,000, Mayor Richard Dziekan did not seek the endorsement of the local GOP. The party endorsement went to an alderman, Gino DiGiovanni Jr., who also has chaired the Republican town committee.

At the time of the endorsement, it was public information that DiGiovanni had entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He since has been charged with disorderly conduct, but not accused of participating in the violence at police.

NBC 30 had confronted him in October with video showing inside the Capitol. He acknowledged being there. 

In an interview with the Valley Independent, DiGiovanni said he went to Washington to attend a Trump rally and went to the Capitol as he followed the crowd and entered through an open door. 

The other GOP incumbents not endorsed by their local parties are first selectmen: Dana Bennett of Griswold, who is opposed by Wayne J. Malin; and Amy St. Onge of Thompson, opposed by Bill Warner.

First Selectman Tara Carr of Brookfield is opposed by Matt Grimes, and Amy Roberts-Perry of Killingworth is opposed by John A. Samperi.

The final GOP primary for chief elected official is in West Haven, where Paige Weinstein is opposed by Barry Lee Cohen for the mayoral nomination. 

The Democratic incumbent, Nancy Rossi, is not seeking reelection. Rep. Dorinda Borer has no opposition for the Democratic mayoral nomination.

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.