Republican Mark Lauretti’s campaign has informed the Secretary of the State’s Office that the 12-term Shelton mayor may now try to run in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor.
Lauretti had previously taken out petitions to run for governor in the Aug. 12 Republican primary, according to a May 22 email from Av Harris, communications director for the Secretary of the State’s Office.
“But today [Lauretti] informed our Elections Division that he has withdrawn those petitions and he instead wishes to submit primary petitions to run for lieutenant governor,” Harris wrote in the email.
On Thursday night, after a public meeting in Shelton, Lauretti declined for now to discuss in detail his statewide political intentions. He would not confirm or deny he was now switching gears to run for lieutenant governor instead of governor.
To qualify for the lieutenant governor primary, the Lauretti campaign would need to collect and submit 8,190 signatures from registered Republicans in Connecticut by the end of the business day on June 10.
That is the same number of signatures required to qualify for the gubernatorial primary.
Didn’t qualify at the convention
At the Republican State Convention on May 16 and 17, Lauretti failed to secure the required 15% of the delegates to automatically qualify for the primary for governor.
He said in the immediate aftermath he was uncertain whether he would try to qualify as a petition candidate for the gubernatorial primary by collecting signatures.
The Republicans endorsed businessman Tom Foley of Greenwich for governor, and he will face Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and state Senate Majority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield in a primary. Foley lost a close election to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2010.
Already will be lieutenant governor primary
In the race for lieutenant governor at the Republican convention, state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi of Stafford Springs won the party endorsement.
Two other candidates qualified for a GOP primary — former Groton Mayor Heather Somers and former U.S. Comptroller David Walker of Bridgeport.
Somers had been running in tandem with Boughton, and Walker became part of a team with McKinney at the convention.
This means at least a three-way Republican primary for lieutenant governor is all but certain. If Lauretti can qualify by collecting the required signatures, he would become the fourth candidate in the lieutenant governor primary race.
No action by Lauretti yet
On late Thursday, Harris said while Lauretti’s campaign indicated it would take out petitions for lieutenant governor, it has not actually done so yet.
Harris said a campaign attorney for Lauretti was in the Secretary of the State’s Office on Thursday to discuss the matter with state election officials.
Also, on late Thursday, the Hartford Courant reported that Boughton and Somers were no longer running together. There had been talk at the Republican State Convention that the two were no longer seeing eye to eye.
Boughton had been counting on combining his campaign funds with Somers’ campaign funds to help him meet minimum fund-raising totals required to qualify for the state’s public financing program.
Boughton therefore may be looking for a new lieutenant governor candidate to join up with.
Lauretti and Boughton have a good relationship from serving together as longtime mayors in Fairfield County.
Current lieutenant governor is Nancy Wyman
The state’s current lieutenant governor is Democrat Nancy Wyman, who won while running as Malloy’s running mate four years ago.
Wyman, who is from the northeastern part of Connecticut, previously was state comptroller and a state legislator.
Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run together in the general election, meaning people vote for both positions as a team.
But during the party nominating process, candidates for the two offices run separately. The names of candidates for governor and lieutenant governor appear separately at state nominating conventions and on primary ballots, although they may choose to affiliate with a candidate for the other office.
What does the lieutenant governor do?
The lieutenant governor is the second highest position in state government, and the occupant becomes governor if something should happen to the sitting governor (death, resignation, impeachment, etc.).
The main duty of the lieutenant governor is to serve as president of the 36-member state Senate. This means the lieutenant governor oversees Senate sessions and can cast a vote to break a tie. The lieutenant governor also can participate in debates involving the full Senate.
Shelton resident running for comptroller
In his email, Harris said Angel Cadena Jr. of Shelton filed the necessary papers on Wednesday to run for state comptroller in a primary.
Cadena will challenge the endorsed Republican candidate, Sharon McLaughlin, an accountant from Ellington.
Cadena did secure the required 15% support from Republican delegates at the state convention to run in a primary.
On his campaign website, Cadena is described as a former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Angel was born into economic, political and social turmoil in the city of Chicago and has been working tirelessly since the age of 8 to better his life and the lives of all that are around him,” states the website.
Other Republican primary news
Harris said both McKinney and Boughton submitted the necessary paperwork on Thursday to run in the Republican primary for governor. Both had automatically qualified to do so by getting at least 15% of the delegates at the Republican State Convention.
Another GOP candidate for governor, former West Hartford Town Council member Joe Visconti, took out primary petitions on Thursday to try to qualify for the gubernatorial primary, according to Harris.
Visconti now will need to get 8,190 signatures by June 10. Visconti, like Lauretti, had failed to reach the 15% threshold at the convention.