Lt. gov. hope­ful in city for fundraiser

Rais­ing funds as she pur­sues pri­mary ef­fort

Connecticut Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Kait­lyn Kras­selt

BRIDGE­PORT — Eva Ber­mudez Zim­mer­man, who is on a quest to beat en­dorsed Demo­crat Su­san Bysiewicz in the Au­gust pri­mary for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, is mak­ing up for lost time.

She’s host­ing fundrais­ers every night, and said she’s on track to sub­mit her ap­pli­ca­tion for the state’s Cit­i­zens Elec­tions Pro­gram by the first week of July.

She was in Bridge­port on Wed­nes­day for a fundraiser hosted by some of the city’s prom­i­nent Democrats at a Puerto Ri­can restau­rant, where guests were asked to con­trib­ute up to $100 to her cam­paign. Can­di­dates for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor must raise $75,000 in con­tri­bu­tions of $100 or less to qual­ify for the $406,000 grant.

“I’ve sup­ported Eva from the be­gin­ning,” said state Rep. Chris Rosario, who helped or­ga­nize the fundraiser. “I think it’s long over­due that we have a fresh voice and she’s re­ally at the fore­front of a grass-roots move­ment.”

The con­sen­sus among the small group of about 25 at­ten­dees, most of whom hold roles in city gov­ern­ment or lo­cal ac­tion or­ga­ni­za­tions, is that they feel like Bridge­port is the state’s for­got­ten city. As a re­sult, Ber­mudez Zim­mer­man’s back­ground as a prod­uct of Hartford’s North End and the daugh­ter of Puerto Ri­can mi­grants ap­peals to them.

“We need Latino lead­er­ship statewide,” said Fabio Mazo, vice pres­i­dent of the Bridge­port Young Democrats. “The way she talks to the Latino com­mu­nity in the inner cities ... Bridge­port never gets any love. We’re like the stepchild to the state.”

De­spite their de­fin­i­tive sup­port for Ber­mudez Zim­mer­man and hope for a slate of can­di­dates that lists Bridge­port as a pri­or­ity, at­ten­dees were less in­clined to pub­licly throw their sup­port be­hind a can­di­date for gov­er­nor. Even in Bridge­port, where Mayor

Joe Ganim is pe­ti­tion­ing his way onto the Au­gust pri­mary bal­lot to chal­lenge Green­wich busi­ness­man Ned La­mont, the party’s en­dorsed can­di­date. Green­wich ex­ec­u­tive Guy Smith is also at­tempt­ing to make the bal­lot via pe­ti­tion.

Though La­mont and Bysiewicz have aligned them­selves as run­ning mates, the gov­er­nor and lieu­tenant gov­er­nor are sep­a­rate votes on the bal­lot.

“I’m with who­ever takes care of Bridge­port,” Mazo said.

Matt McCarthy, a Bridge­port res­i­dent who came out to sup­port Ber­mudez Zim­mer­man, wouldn’t say whom he is sup­port­ing for gov­er­nor, but it’s prob­a­bly not La­mont.

“I don’t think Ned La­mont and Su­san Bysiewicz are the an­swer, they’re just a con­tin­u­a­tion of (Gov. Dan­nel P.) Mal­loy,” he said.

Ber­mudez Zim­mer­man said that while she is fo­cused on the cities where sup­port will be cru­cial in the pri­mary and gen­eral elec­tion, her cam­paign is also drum­ming up sup­port in the state’s smaller towns.

”At the end of the day, fundrais­ers and CEP is help­ful, but it’s about con­nect­ing with peo­ple,” she said.

Chris­tian Abra­ham / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Lt. Gov. hope­ful Eva Zim­mer­man poses with Greater Bridge­port Young Democrats Vice Pres­i­dent Fabio Mazo, left, and Pres­i­dent Con­stance Vick­ers, right, dur­ing a fundraiser for her at Sa­zon Y Mambo in Bridge­port on Wed­nes­day.

Chris­tian Abra­ham / Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

Can­di­date Eva Ber­mudez Zim­mer­man, left, greets Maria Valle dur­ing a fundraiser for her Wed­nes­day in Bridge­port.

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