Bridgeport mayor candidate reports break-in at campaign office

BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut -- A candidate pursuing a write-in campaign for Bridgeport mayor has reported a break-in at her campaign headquarters, the latest development in a local election marked by allegations of absentee ballot irregularities, an ongoing court case and a state elections investigation.

Campaign officials for Democratic state Sen. Marilyn Moore, who is seeking to unseat fellow Democrat, Mayor Joe Ganim, reported the Monday evening break-in to Bridgeport Police. Campaign Manager Gemeem Davis said Wednesday it's one of several recent attempts to disrupt Moore's efforts.

"Who is behind it, we don't know," said Davis, who discovered part of the door handle to Moore's office inside the headquarters had been broken off. "There should be some reaction to what has happened here ... something has happened that is targeting her campaign."

Ganim called the incident "unfortunate" and said his campaign "condemns anything that's a violation of the law."

In a written statement, the Bridgeport Police Department said it was investigating the "alleged report of burglary" at 360 Fairfield Ave. on Monday noting "the complainant on the scene stated that she did not believe anything was missing or out of place."

In a news release posted Tuesday on Facebook, Moore's campaign criticized Ganim's administration for failing to address the city's public safety issues and noted Ganim has a "long history of public corruption," a reference to the mayor's past convictions and the seven years he served in prison for steering city contracts in exchange for wine, clothes, cash and home improvements when he was previously the city's mayor.

Ganim's campaign manager, Josh Dellaquila, said the mayor was "given a second chance in 2015" when he was elected again and "we believe many citizens of Bridgeport also believe that he's making good on that second chance and that's why he deserves four more years in office."

Last month, Moore narrowly lost the Sept. 10 primary election to Ganim, who ultimately won by securing a majority of absentee ballots. The final margin was 270 votes out of more than 10,000 votes cast. But Hearst Connecticut Media reported widespread problems with the primary, including absentee ballots submitted by people not registered as Democrats and some absentee voters who claimed they were pressured to vote for Ganim. That prompted an investigation by the State Elections Enforcement Commission, which Ganim said he welcomes. Ganim said he's been made aware of allegations of possible election violations by Moore and her campaign.

Moore announced shortly after the primary that she would run as a write-in candidate after she fell short of securing enough valid signatures to appear on the ballot as a Working Families Party candidate.

Meanwhile, several voters filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the primary election results and schedule a new contest, alleging voters were provided unsolicited absentee ballots and some were instructed how to vote. Closing arguments and possibly a ruling had been expected Wednesday, but Hearst Connecticut Media reported a lawyer for the plaintiffs tried to introduce 200 alleged instances of absentee ballot irregularities. Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens said the request to submit the additional evidence will now delay closing arguments, possibly a day or two.

Besides a new special primary, the lawsuit seeks supervision of locations with a large percentage of voters voting by absentee ballot. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 5.

While Moore has posted informational videos online about how to vote for her as a write-in candidate and scheduled a series of community meetings, Davis said the campaign hopes the judge or SEEC will somehow ensure Moore's name appears on the November ballot.

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