Ganim, Petitioning Candidate, Shut Out of Forum for Governor

This article originally appeared on Only In Bridgeport 

If you have a place on the ballot, you’re invited to the forum, if not you can be a spectator. Mayor Joe Ganim, who says he’ll be approved for the August primary ballot, is crying foul that event organizers are denying petitioning candidates not yet approved for the ballot participation in its gubernatorial forum scheduled for broadcast Thursday on Connecticut Public Television at the Lincoln Theater in West Hartford.

The deadline to submit petition signatures to local registrar offices is June 12. Once verified, the lists are shipped off to the Connecticut Secretary of the State for final certification. Ganim has sent a letter to Connecticut Public Broadcasting President Jerry Franklin and Leslie Smith, director of the Rell Center for Public Service at the University of Hartford, urging them to reschedule the forum or allow petitioning candidates participation.

“It is hard to understand how organizations dedicated to educating the voters about the primary process would schedule such a forum before the Secretary of the State’s office certifies all the candidates for governor in mid-to-late June,” said Ganim in a news release. “With the primary not until August 14, rather than only promoting candidates endorsed by party insiders, this event should either be rescheduled or petitioning candidates should be allowed to participate. Allowing it to continue as planned does a disservice to Connecticut voters.”

If you’re shut out of the process, Ganim’s next best chance for visibility from the forum is to make some noise.

Event organizers say the criterion for the forum was developed weeks ago to invite party-endorsed candidates for governor and candidates who secured 15 percent delegate support at the respective party conventions. Ganim came up short of the threshold. Ned Lamont was endorsed by Democrats, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton by Republicans. Former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and Navy veteran Steve Obsitnik received enough support at the Republican convention for August primary ballot spots. Ganim is petitioning to primary Lamont. Ganim needs roughly 15,500 verified signatures from Democratic electors. The campaign reports it has already amassed about 25,000, leaving a large cushion to account for signatures invalidated.

News release from the event:

The Governor M. Jodi Rell Center for Public Service at the University of Hartford will offer Connecticut voters a candid and first-of-its-kind glimpse of all qualifying Democratic and Republican candidates for Governor on June 7, 2018 during a program broadcast on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) called A Job Like No Other: Interviews with Republican and Democratic Candidates for Governor of Connecticut. Based on the criteria shared with all candidates in advance of the state conventions, the four participants will be the Democratic and Republican endorsed candidates for Governor, Ned Lamont and Mark Boughton, and two candidates who qualified for the primary without petitioning, Tim Herbst and Steve Obsitnik.

The program will be held in front of an audience of up to 600 at Lincoln Theater on the University of Hartford campus, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. It will be unscripted and broadcast live on Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 7. The program will also be streamed live at

Criteria developed by event organizer, the Rell Center, and distributed weeks ago to all potential Democratic and Republican candidates, states that the event will be open to the party endorsed nominee for Governor as well as candidates who gathered 15 percent of their respective convention delegates on the final ballot, therefore qualifying for the August state primary without petitioning. The program will give voters an opportunity to learn about these candidates with the understanding that there will still be sufficient time to learn about candidates who might ultimately qualify by petition for the November ballot.

“This is not a debate, nor is it a typical candidate forum; rather it is something voters truly want to see, which is an unedited and unrehearsed look at the qualifying candidates for Governor and having them answer questions based around the premise of “Why should we hire you?” said former Governor M. Jodi Rell, who served as Connecticut’s Governor from 2004-2010 and founded the Rell Center in 2011. “Take it from someone who knows and who has been there; there is no job in the State of Connecticut quite like being Governor, and the best way for voters to get a close, unbiased look at the people vying for Governor is through a frank and open discussion. That’s what the June 7th program will be all about.”

“I cannot think of a more important time to show people the value of our open democratic process and to showcase the very best of our American elections,” Connecticut Public CEO Jerry Franklin said. “People are tired of seeing their candidates only appearing in the most comfortable and rehearsed environments. ‘A Job Like No Other’ offers voters a different perspective and will give Connecticut residents an unscripted look at those who are vying for the state’s top office.”

A Job Like No Other will be hosted by Chris Ulrich, an executive coach and body language expert who works with executives, salespeople, and small business entrepreneurs and who has appeared as a contributor on CNN, ABC, Fox News, MSNBC, ESPN, Washington’s USA Channel 9 and Fox 5 DC. It will be produced by Sara Conner, an Emmy Award-winning documentarian, producer, and on-air host based out of West Hartford. A Job Like No Other: Interviews with Republican and Democratic Candidates for Governor of Connecticut is made possible by support from Comcast.

The format of the live event will be:
– The order of interviews will be determined the evening of the broadcast with each participant selecting at random a number 1 through 4.
– Questions will not be submitted to participants in advance and will be job interview rather than political debate–style.
– Ground rules will be announced by the host at the top of show.
– Each participant will have an equal amount of one-on-one interview time with the host.

Tickets will be free and open to the public. Beginning Thursday, May 24, 2018, tickets can be ordered through the University of Hartford’s online box office, in person Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by calling 860.768.4228 or 1.800.274.8587. Tickets are limited to four (4) per person.

For more information about the event, visit the Rell Center event website, or contact: Leslie Smith, Director of the Rell Center for Public Service at or 860.768.4861 Rell Center at 860.768.4861. For information about the broadcast, visit


This article originally appeared on Only In Bridgeport