Will Mayor Lauretti run for re-election this fall? For governor next year?

Mayor Mark Lauretti
Mayor Mark Lauretti

After more than 21 years in office, it doesn’t appear Mayor Mark Lauretti is growing tired of his job.

While it’s too early to know for certain, the Republican is inclined to run for a 12th term this fall.

“Just consider that I’m running for re-election unless I say differently,” Lauretti said. “Nothing has changed.”

Lauretti won re-election by an almost two-to-one margin in 2011.

Possible run for governor

One thing that could change is Lauretti might run for governor in 2014. He’s talked about that in the past, and once again he is contemplating the idea of throwing his hat in the ring on the statewide level. “It’s also a consideration,” Lauretti said.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to seek a second term, and some consider him vulnerable due to the weak economy and the large tax hikes he pushed through when first elected in 2010. Still, Connecticut is a Democratic-leaning state, Malloy has the power of incumbency, the governor has been praised for how he handled the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting, and the economy is slowly improving.

Possible statewide Republican competitors

Two prominent Republicans looking at the gubernatorial race are state Sen. John McKinney or Fairfield and state Rep. Lawrence Cafero of Norwalk. They are the Senate and House minority leaders, and well-known in state political circles from their many years at the state Capitol.

Lauretti, however, thinks he may an advantage over other potential Republican candidates. “Draw a circle around them and draw a circle around me,” he said, referring to candidates’ name identity and reputation outside their immediate hometowns or legislative districts.

“After 22 years in office and Shelton’s reputation, people in this part of the state — and other parts of the state — know what is going on in Shelton,” Lauretti said.

Tom Foley of Greenwich, the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee who lost to Malloy in an extremely close race, also may run again.

‘Employment hub’

Lauretti said people throughout this part of Connecticut understand well the corporate presence and, more recently, ongoing downtown revitalization efforts in Shelton — partly because they, their family members, or their friends may be employed at companies in the city.

“We’ve become an employment hub,” Lauretti said. “Between 22,000 and 25,000 people come into Shelton every day to work. Business people know the Shelton story.”

One reason he might seek higher office is because most of what takes place in government in Washington and Hartford now is “counterproductive,” Lauretti said.

Low taxes vs. Botti scandal

Shelton is known for having a low tax rate and being home to many corporate offices, especially in the successful development projects owned by Robert D. Scinto. Lauretti has been in charge when most of that development happened.

However, Lauretti’s statewide standing also was hurt by the federal corruption scandal involving developer James Botti a few years back. Botti received jail time for bribing some city officials.

Lauretti appeared to be a focus of the investigation, but the mayor was never charged with any crime and has strongly denied involvement in any illegal activity. Scinto also was sentenced to a short prison term for a related crime that involved misleading FBI agents during the investigation.