Lauretti has one less GOP competitor in governor’s race

Mayor Mark Lauretti now has one less potential competitor for the Republican nomination for governor.

State Sen. Toni Boucher of Wilton, who has been exploring a run for governor, announced Monday that she would not run for governor but instead seek re-election to her state Senate seat.

“Exploring a run for governor has been an extraordinary journey,” Boucher said. “I have been deeply moved by the outpouring of support from across my district and the state.”

Fund-raising has been a challenge

But Boucher said he has been unable to raise as much money as she needed for a gubernatorial run.

“While we have made considerable progress toward our fund-raising goals, it is unlikely that we will be able to reach them in the time that remains,” she said.

In addition to Lauretti, the remaining major GOP candidates are Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, the party’s 2010 candidate for lieutenant governor; former ambassador Tom Foley of Greenwich, who lost a close race for governor as the Republican nominee in 2010; and longtime state Sen. John McKinney of Fairfield.

Campaign finance reports due soon

Lauretti said before the Boucher announcement that he thought the release of the next campaign finance reports in April, covering the first three months of the year, could lead to some candidates dropping out of the race.

He expects to stay in. “People will be left with their mouths open at the kind of money I’m raising,” Lauretti said.

Candidates need to raise $250,000 in contributions of $100 or less to qualify for the state’s public financing program.

Boucher criticizes Malloy on way out

While bowing out of the race, Boucher criticized the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat who is expected to seek a second term this fall.

“I am struck by how many people feel that this administration's policies have made Connecticut a place too expensive to live, run a business, or retire,” she said. “They are clearly angry that high costs are forcing them and Connecticut jobs to move to other states.”

She said Connecticut “in serious trouble, and its future is at stake.”

Will support the party’s nominee

Boucher said she will support the eventual GOP nominee. “Our party’s candidates for governor are excellent, and I look forward to lending my active support to our Republican nominee,” she said. “Because there are twice as many Democrats as Republicans in Connecticut, our gubernatorial candidate must be able to win more than just Republican votes.”

She thanked those who supposed her possible gubernatorial candidacy through donations or volunteer efforts.

“Many dedicated volunteers have lent their impressive professional experience and stature to my exploratory committee, and this all-volunteer team made enormous strides in a very short period of time,” Boucher continued. “I am deeply grateful to them for all their time, energy, and wise counsel.”

Boucher is in her third term representing the 26th Senatorial District, which includes Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton.