Crowded field remains after GOP convention

A primary looms for the Republican nomination for governor after last weekend’s statewide Republican Convention. How many candidates will be on the primary ballot is barely more in focus than it was before the GOP gathered at Foxwoods.

Despite finishing with just under 11% of the vote on the first ballot and 9.2% on the second roll call, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti has said he will attempt to petition onto the August primary ballot.

Lauretti, who said he has begun his work to petition for the primary, called Boughton and Herbst insiders.

“What people don’t understand is that this is an inside baseball game,” said 14-term mayor of Shelton Lauretti. “Boughton’s been working at this for 12 years so he’s developed relationships and loyalties along the way and the same thing can be said for Herbst, he’s been working at it for four years.”

Lauretti said the convention results haven’t affected the need for him to continue spreading the word about his campaign.

“I’ve filed for petition. I’ll be seeking signatures. I will need 9,081 to get on the ballot,” Lauretti confidently said. “We have people in many places around the state who are working on our behalf on signatures. We will be focusing a lot on Shelton, Stratford, Trumbull, Monroe, Seymour and Oxford.”

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton was the party’s choice for the gubernatorial nomination, with 50.1% support on the third ballot, up from just over of 42% on the second.

Former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst finished second. Steve Obsitnik was third with 19.8% of the vote on the third ballot before releasing his delegates to support one of the two front-runners. All three qualified for the primary based on the percentage of delegates.

Herbst said he was confident he was well-positioned to win the August primary. He won two congressional districts (the second and third) at the convention Saturday and nearly tied two others (the first and fourth).

In all, Herbst received just over 40% of the total vote on the third and final round of balloting.

Herbst won the Second Congressional District by 2-1 margin over Boughton. The district, located in the eastern part of the state, includes Windham, Tolland, New London and most of Middlesex counties. He also won the Third District, the New Haven area.

Boughton ran strongest in the Fifth District, which includes northern Fairfield and most of Litchfield counties.

"I am overwhelmed by the tremendous support I received from so many great Republicans at the [Connecticut] GOP convention and could not be more excited to now take my record of proven reform and outsider message directly to Republican primary voters," Herbst said Sunday. "Republican voters deserve a nominee they can trust, not only to win the November election, but to bring fundamental change to Hartford and fight for their values."

Herbst said he was proud of having won two of the state’s five districts outright and declared himself a Hartford outsider running against the party establishment.

"We simply cannot afford to nominate any candidate who we cannot trust to win an election, change business-as-usual in Hartford or fight for our values," Herbst said.

I am happy and grateful to announce that I have qualified for the CT GOP primary,” wrote Obsitnik, running as a “Navy Submarine veteran — engineer — high tech job creator.”

“When we first started this journey months ago, I shared a proverb: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’ Together we have accomplished so much, and for your support I thank you. I am looking forward to continuing to Reinvent Connecticut, and I know you will join me along the way,” Obsitnik added.

Fairfield resident Peter Lumaj and former U.S. Comptroller David Walker made it to the second round of balloting.

After being eliminated, Walker, who ran as a “professional problem solver,” ended his run.

“The results of the GOP state Convention Gubernatorial voting represent a personal disappointment, as we did not achieve the required 15% of delegate support for primary ballot access,” Walker wrote in a statement. “Thank you to all my supporters, and congratulations to all the endorsed candidates.”

Eliminated on the first ballot were Michael Handler of New Canaan and Prasad Srinivasan

“While the end result of our campaign for governor might not have been what we were hoping for, we are all the better for the journey,” Handler wrote in a letter to the New Canaan Advertiser.

Two candidates, Bob Stefanowski and David Stemerman, did not participate in the convention and could petition onto the primary ballot.

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart withdrew from the gubernatorial race to pursue the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor.