Connecticut Judge William Clark overturned the results of Bridgeport's Democratic mayoral primary on Wednesday after a video emerged showing a supporter of current Mayor Joe Ganim allegedly stuffing ballots into an absentee ballot drop box.
The videos, Clark said, “are shocking to the court and should be shocking to all the parties.”
“Clark ordered the parties to confer with each other, and with election officials, within 10 days to discuss scheduling a new primary,” Connecticut Public reported.
This is mere days before the November 7 election day. Clark overturned the results, saying that these allegations were enough to throw out the primary results. In that Sept. 12 primary, incumbent Ganim won by 251 votes out of a total 8,173 cast, per Connecticut Public.
What really sealed the deal for Clark, however, is that Ganim's win was secure by absentee ballots in his favor.
“The volume of ballots so mishandled is such that it calls the result of the primary election into serious doubt and leaves the court unable to determine the legitimate result of the primary,” Clark said in a ruling.
The surveillance video was obtained by Ganim's opposition candidate John Gomes. The Gomes campaign sued the city and demanded the results be thrown out and a new primary be scheduled, or to be declared the winner himself.
A new primary date has not been announced, and if Ganim loses the general election next week, a new primary may not be set at all. Gomes, who won the endorsement of a minority party, is also on the ballot.
Ganim’s opponent, John Gomes, whose campaign obtained the surveillance video and released it publicly after the primary, sued city officials and demanded a new primary, or for him to be declared the winner.
He was represented in court by lawyer Bill Bloss.
“At the end of the day,” said Gomes attorney Bill Bloss, “the videos don't lie. The videos showed substantial, massive absentee ballot misconduct. And that was certainly a substantial reason why the judge ruled the way he did, I think.”
Gomes said Clark's decision was “a victory for the people of Bridgeport.”
His full statement read:
“Today, Lady Justice fulfilled her duty. She attentively heard the voices of the people of Bridgeport, carefully considered the facts, and impartially applied the law, as justice should always be served.
“In this moment, we commemorate the significance of this decision by the Honorable Judge William Clark. I'm no stranger to competition or politics, and I understand that in life, we experience both victories and losses. We must continue to show up, give our best, accept the decisions, and move forward with integrity and respect. However, when there is wrongdoing, it must be addressed, and we have shown that in the courtroom.
“The victory today belongs not only to me as the Plaintiff but to all the people of Bridgeport who were wronged in the numerous ways detailed in Judge Clark's remarkable decision. Today, democracy prevails.
“Our campaign was designed to give a voice to the marginalized people of Bridgeport who have been overshadowed by a small group in the electoral process. Today, our faith has been restored, and we must carry this spark of hope into the upcoming general election.
“As the people of Bridgeport, we will take this victory lap and continue to navigate the path ahead while upholding transparency as our guiding principle.”