2018 candidates and potential candidates for Governor
HARTFORD — Now that Governor Malloy has announced he is not seeking a third term, many people across the state are throwing their hats in the ring for the 2018 Election. Some people have filed paperwork to run for Governor, some have formed exploratory committees for statewide office which could include governor or other positions.
What is an exploratory committee?
An exploratory committee is established to help determine whether a person has support to run for an elected office. If a potential candidate forms an exploratory committee in Connecticut, it means they are considering a run for statewide office – those include Connecticut’s Constitutional Offices, and Senate and House positions at the Capitol. Constitutional Offices are: Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of the State, Office of the State Treasurer, Office of the State Comptroller, and Office of the State Attorney General. Below is a list of potential and declared candidates for the state’s top seat, in alphabetical order.
Senator Toni Boucher: Republican
Boucher has filed paperwork to form an exploratory committee for statewide office. She filed May 3. Boucher told FOX61, at the minimum the exploratory committee allows her to run again for her seat, but she is open to considering higher office, including the office of Governor. Boucher did make run for Governor in 2014, but dropped out.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton: Republican
Boughton is currently Danbury‘s Mayor. He has run for Governor twice before, in 2010 and 2014. He has said he is interested in running for Governor and has formed an exploratory committee.
Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew: Democrat
Mayor Drew announced his candidacy even before Gov. Dannel Malloy announced he would not run. He is currently the Mayor of Middletown and recently underwent surgery to be a live donor, giving his kidney to a constituent.
Bridgeport Joe Ganim: Democrat
The Mayor was a candidate for governor in 1994 and ended up becoming the democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor that year. He was Mayor of Bridgeport from 1991-2003, until he resigned after he was convicted on felony corruption charges. Ganim spent seven years in jail. He then decided to run again to get his old job back and won the seat in November 2015. He has filed for an exploratory committee for Governor.
Bethy Guiles-Smith: Democrat
Guiles-Smith is from Glastonbury. On Twitter @MsGuiles describes herself as a community organizer. She has filed paperwork to run for Governor.
Michael Handler: Republican
Stamford’s director of administration skipped the exploratory phase and formed a candidate’s committee, according to his filing with the State Elections Enforcement Commission. He has worked under two mayors, one Republican and one Democrat, and says he has “practical experience in solving fiscal problems.”
Jonathan Harris: Democrat
Harris is the former Commissioner of Consumer Protection in Connecticut. He recently stepped down so he could explore a run for office after working in the Malloy administration. He has stated he is interested in running for Governor and has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee.
Tim Herbst: Republican
Herbst is Trumbull’s First Selectman. He has run before for State Treasurer but lost in a close race in 2014. He is interested in running for Governor and has formed an exploratory committee.
State Sen. Tony Hwang: Republican
Currently State Senator in Fairfield, Hwang hasn’t come out and said which office he is interested in. He has formed an exploratory committee for statewide office.
Mark Lauretti: Republican
Lauretti is currently Shelton’s Mayor, and has been for more than 25 years. He has filed paperwork to run for Governor.
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo: Democrat
State Comptroller Lembo is a well-known Democrat who is on his second term as Comptroller. Despite being in the same political party as Governor Malloy, Lembo has clashed with the Governor several times, including on where the budget numbers fall and on whether wealthy hedge funds should get tax breaks. He has formed an exploratory committee, and has expressed interest in the office of Governor.
Peter Lumaj: Republican
Lumaj is a Fairfield Attorney, candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, and the 2014 Republican nominee for Secretary of the State. He is interested in Governor and did launch an exploratory committee.
Chris Mattei: Democrat
Mattei is a former federal prosecutor, involved in the Rowland case. He has said he is considering a run for Governor and has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee.
Scott Merrell: Republican
Merrell is a resident of Norwalk. He ran unsuccessfully for Norwalk Mayor twice and had an eviction incident back in 2010. He has filed paperwork to run for Governor, signing up in 2016.
Anthony Moran: Republican
Moran’s previously ran against Democratic State Rep. Matt Lesser in Middletown and lost. Right now it’s unclear what office he is seeking. He has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee for statewide office.
Steve Obstinik: Republican
Obstinik is a Westport businessman. He ran against U.S. Rep. Jim Himes but lost in 2012. He is a Navy veteran. He has filed for an exploratory committee but it is unclear what office he is interested in.
State Rep. Prasad Srinivasan: Republican
Srinivasan is a republican representing Glastonbury. He is also an allergist. Srinivasan has filed paperwork to run for Governor.
Linda Szynkowicz: Republican
Szynkowicz is a resident of Middletown. She has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee for statewide office, but it is unclear what office she is seeking.
Joe Visconti: Republican
Visconti ran unaffiliated to a political party in the 2014 gubernatorial race with Tom Foley and Governor Malloy, despite his republican roots. Toward the end of the race he dropped out and endorsed Foley. He has filed paperwork to run for Governor as a Republican.
Dave Walker: Republican
Walker lost primary in 2014 for Lt. Governor, voters chose Heather Somers (who is now a state senator) to run with Tom Foley in 2014. Former U.S. Comptroller General under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Interested in Governor, he has filed for an exploratory committee.
Micah Welintukonis: Republican
Welintukonis is a veteran who was injured by a suicide bomber while deployed in Afghanistan. He is also a former Coventry Town Councilman. He has filed paperwork to run for Governor.
On May 1st 2017, Welintukonis said he’s decided to withdraw from Connecticut’s Citizen Election Program. “I will not use taxpayers’ dollars to fund my campaign. I’m leaving it up to the voters to decide who they would like to contribute to.”
L. Lee Whitnum: Democrat
Whitnum is a resident of Greenwich, and a former U.S. Senate Candidate. On her website, Whitnum has a “15 Step Plan to Clean up the Connecticut Judiciary”. She’s had some legal issues in the past including an arrest at a library and she filed a slander lawsuit against Gov. Malloy. She has filed paperwork to run for Governor.
Jacey Wyatt: Democrat
Wyatt is a Branford businesswoman, and the first transgender candidate for Governor in Connecticut. She has filed paperwork to run for Governor.