State Democrats overwhelmingly endorsed Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont for governor this past weekend. Lamont got 87 percent of the vote.
Lamont also ran for governor in 2010, but he lost the party’s nomination to Dannel Malloy. “I’ve been here on the floor not winning as you know and it just meant a lot standing there with the support of a lot of people," he said, after winning the nomination. "It took a while to get to know me. And I’m going to earn their support every day as their governor.”
He’s been so dominant this year that he only had one person to beat at the convention -- convicted felon and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim. Ganim got 13 percent of the vote and fell two percent short of qualifying for the August primary.
Ganim says he will continue his signature campaign to try to get on the primary ballot despite his poor convention showing.
Lamont says he’s ready for a potential primary but thinks Ganim should quit now. “I don’t think it’s great necessarily for the party unless there’s some really big issues worth debating," he said. "But if Joe wants to primary, we’ll have a primary. That’ll make the Republicans happy.”
Ganim had to resign as Mayor of Bridgeport back in 2003 after being convicted on federal corruption charges. He got his city hall job back in 2015.
And while he may have failed this weekend he says he’s not done. “I went through a comeback campaign for mayor of the largest city," he said. "There wasn’t one politician who would stand in the room with me and there wasn’t one reporter here who gave me a chance.”
Ganim says he has more than 11,000 signatures. About 15,500 certified signatures are needed to qualify.
Though Lamont's win was easy, the woman he picked as his running mate had a tougher time. Susan Bysiewicz won the party’s endorsement for lieutenant governor with 58 percent of the vote.
But first-timer Eva Bermudez-Zimmerman got 40 percent -- having made the case that the party’s slate lacked diversity. Bermudez-Zimmerman is of Puerto Rican descent. Her votes qualified her for the August primary.
Bermudez-Zimmerman even won in Middletown -- Bysiewicz’s home turf.
Bobbye Knoll Peterson, vice-chair of the city’s Democratic town committee said Lamont’s lieutenant governor pick swayed her vote. “I know that his campaign did court some women of color as running mates, but they were unable to seal the deal," she explained. "And so, I think that we sort of have to push and seal the deal ourselves.”
After the vote was over, Bermudez-Zimmerman said she intends to win the primary and do it without race defining her platform. “I can get there and represent all people—working class people—and that includes people of color,” she said.
Meanwhile, Bysiewicz said she and Lamont will prioritize diversity in their campaign. “I would contrast our ticket any day of the week with the Republican ticket," she said. "It’s all men -- all white men -- and one white woman running. And you’ll see that we’ll have beautiful diversity in the Democratic party.”
While Bysiewicz got the Democratic endorsement, Joe Markley is the Republican-backed candidate for lieutenant governor.