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 filed paperwork to form an exploratory committee for statewide office, but decided in April to run again for state senate.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton: Republican

Boughton is currently Danbury‘s Mayor. He has run for Governor twice before, in 2010 and 2014. He officially announced his campaign on Jan. 9.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin: Democrat

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin exited the race on April 16.

Susan Bysiewicz : Democrat
The former Secretary of the State is now running for Lieutenant Governor. She was candidate for governor in 2010.

Sean Connolly: Democrat

Former State Veterans Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly announced his campaign for governor in January. 

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. Drew dropped out of the race in January.

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, and officially announced in early January.

Oz Griebel: Independant

Griebel, longtime head of the Hartford Metro Alliance, is running as an independent candidate.

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 a former legislator, mayor of West Hartford, and Executive Director of the state Democratic Party. He was most recently Commissioner of Consumer Protection in Connecticut under Governor Malloy.  He  stepped down so he could explore a run for Governor. In April, he dropped out of the race and endorsed fellow Democrat Ned Lamont.

  Tim Herbst: Republican

Herbst was Trumbull’s First Selectman.  He has run before for State Treasurer but lost in a close race in 2014.

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.

Ned Lamont: Democrat

Lamont, who ran against Joe Lieberman for Senate in 2006, announced he was running for Governor in January.

Peter Lumaj

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. Lumaj filed paperwork to run for Governor (he previously had an exploratory committee, but withdrew on May 16.

Marisa Manley : Independent

Manley is the owner of a commercial real estate company and long-term resident of Fairfield County. She announced her independent campaign for Connecticut Governor on April 25.

Eric Mastroianni: Republican

Mastroianni is a veteran who wants to enhance trade program for high school students. He wants to cut spending and corporate taxes.

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. He has since decided to run for Attorney General.

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 2018.

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.

Guy Smith: Democrat

Smith is an executive from Fairfield County. He was an advisor to both Bill and Hillary Clinton. He has had a fractious relationship with the Democratic Party. 

State Rep. Prasad Srinivasan: Republican

Srinivasan is a republican representing Glastonbury.  He is also an allergist. Srinivasan has filed paperwork to run for Governor.

Bob Stefanowski: Republican

Stafanowski has had a career in finance. He declared his candidacy in September.

Mayor Stewart’s emails on the Rock Cats move to HartfordErin Stewart: Republican

Stewart just started her third term as Mayor of New Britain. She formally announced in March, but on May 11, hours before the state GOP convention, she dropped out of the Governor’s race and announced she was seeking the nomination for Lieutenant Governor instead.

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.

Micah Welintukonis

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. She was dragged out of a debate she was not invited to in April. 

Jacey Wyatt

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.