To the surprise of no one, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made it official Friday and declared his candidacy for a second term as governor of Connecticut.
While Malloy’s pursuit of a second term had been a foregone conclusion for many, he waited on making the formal announcement on it until Friday when he spoke briefly after a State Bond Commission in Hartford.
Saying he “intended to be around a while,” Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who joined him for the remarks, said they would again be running as a ticket.
Malloy, a Democrat, was first elected in 2010 in a close election. He previously was mayor of Stamford.
‘We have more work to do’
Malloy had initially said he would wait even later to make his official announcement, tentatively setting a May timeframe after the legislative session was over because he wanted to go through it as governor and not a candidate, but he changed course with Friday’s announcement, which was immediately followed by a fund-raising email.
“I fought my whole life to have the privilege to serve my community, my city, and my state,” Malloy said in the campaign email. “It’s how I live my mother’s words each day.
“I never would have made it to where I am today without the inspiration and help of so many — my parents, my wife Cathy, my family, teachers, friends and supporters — to overcome obstacles and take on the challenges that truly make a difference in people’s lives,” he said.
In the email, Malloy trumpeted his signing of a bill raising the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour — a move praised by President Barack Obama — and pledged to remain committed to his legislative agenda.
“We’ve made a lot of progress since 2011, but I’m not satisfied,” Malloy said. “We have more work to do.”
Lauretti among Republican candidates
The field of Republican candidates to challenge him is a crowded one with Tom Foley, who narrowly lost to Malloy in 2010, seen as the most likely opponent.
Foley, a businessman and former U.S. ambassador to Ireland, is currently leading the field by a wide margin, with the party’s convention set for May. Polls have him neck-and-neck with the incumbent.
But first Foley must get the nomination. The other major GOP candidates are Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and state Sen. John McKinney of Fairfield.
Democratic leader: ‘Economic progress’
Malloy’s official entry into the race was hailed by state Democrats. State Democratic Party Chairman Nancy DiNardo released a statement saying she was proud of what’s been accomplished in the state during Malloy’s first term.
“From the minute he took the oath of office, Dan Malloy has spent every single day working to strengthen Connecticut’s future,” DiNardo said. “The effects of his laser-focus on economic progress can be felt everywhere.
“Small businesses are growing and creating new jobs, more Connecticut families are moving into the middle class, and a balanced state budget means that our long-term debt has been reduced by billions,” DiNardo said. “His plans for universal pre-K and college affordability are what Connecticut needs to continue its forward motion.”
Republican leader: ‘Abysmal approval rating’
State Republicans though, looking at the ultra tight poll numbers, were quick to rebut. In a statement, state Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said Connecticut was heading in the wrong direction under Malloy, claiming the state was lagging behind in the nation’s economic recovery.
“Gov. Malloy’s announcement that he’s running for re-election doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone,” Labriola said. “The governor has been in full campaign mode for the past six months, raising campaign cash from state contractors in a pay-to-play shakedown and misleading voters about his record in a desperate attempt to improve his abysmal approval rating.
“Unfortunately for the governor,” Labriola continued, “the numbers don’t lie. Connecticut’s economy is among the worst in the nation, our unemployment rate remains significantly higher than the national average, and hundreds-of-thousands of Connecticut families are struggling to make ends meet.”