Lt. gov. hopeful in city for fundraiser
Raising funds as she pursues primary effort
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.
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.
Candidate Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, left, greets Maria Valle during a fundraiser for her Wednesday in Bridgeport.