- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch narrowly won the endorsement of local Democrats Tuesday night in his bid for a third term.

Finch has been facing a strong challenge from a former mayor, Joseph Ganim, who is making a comeback bid after serving seven years in prison for corruption.

The Democratic Town Committee gave Finch 49 votes, while Ganim got 41, The Connecticut Post reported (https://bit.ly/1LrSojm ).

“We’re confident that Bridgeporters are seeing the progress and will draw the same conclusion in September and November,” Finch said in a statement after the vote. “Together, we’ll continue building a Bridgeport that works for everyone.”

The two-term incumbent has touted his record on reducing crime and improving schools, and has raised almost $500,000 in contributions.

His campaign has frequently reminded voters of Ganim’s criminal convictions. Hours before the endorsement vote, the Finch campaign unveiled a website of information about Ganim’s past which Finch supporters have been gathering.

Ganim has reported raising more than $233,000 for his campaign, and has the endorsement of Bridgeport’s police union with a promise to hire more officers to fight crime. He also says he will improve schools and improve development. He was mayor between 1991 and 2003.

Ganim and three other Democrats are expected to launch petition drives on Wednesday to collect 2,000 signatures to get on the primary election ballot, where Finch’s name will now be on top.

The primary is Sept. 16 in the city of 150,000 people where Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans.

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Information from: Connecticut Post, https://www.connpost.com

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