Attorney General George Jepsen announced Thursday morning on WPLR’s Chaz and AJ show he’ll not be a candidate for governor in 2018. As Jepsen pointed out during the interview what’s the point of putting up with all the “misery” running for governor when he loves his current elected position?
And for some potential gubernatorial candidates it is a miserable year to run given the state’s messy budget situation. Two Bridgeport residents Mayor Joe Ganim and David Walker, the former U.S. comptroller general, have filed exploratory committees for statewide office. Several others from both major parties have done the same.
The cerebral Jepsen was viewed by Democratic insiders as a party healer unencumbered by the baggage of the state’s fiscal challenges. Governor Dan Malloy announced last month he’ll not seek a third term. Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman is expected to announce in June if she’ll run for the state’s top job.
Statement from Jepsen:
“I believe very strongly that the responsibilities of the Office of the Attorney General are of the greatest importance,” Jepsen said. “My family and I have considered very carefully the decision of whether to explore a campaign for governor. Any campaign, but especially a gubernatorial campaign, is a commitment not to be taken lightly, and I am lucky to have always had the support of my family for my career in public service. But ultimately, it is my respect for the Office of the Attorney General that has led me to the decision to end any speculation today and announce that I will not be entering the 2018 gubernatorial race.
“The work of my office is critically important, and never more so than in these challenging times for our state and our country. This work on behalf of the people of Connecticut demands and deserves my full attention. My office is leading more than 40 states in an investigation we launched nearly three years into what we allege is widespread illegal price fixing in the generic drug industry. We are deeply involved in challenges to the damaging and unlawful actions that are already streaming from the Trump White House–and that are not likely to ease anytime soon. I fear that I would be doing a disservice to the office and to my constituents if I were to divert my focus.
“Finally, when my office makes a decision on how to apply the law, when we choose whether or not to pursue an investigation or to file a lawsuit, or when we decide to speak out on a matter of law or policy, we call it as we see it, because the strength of the office rests on its credibility. While I have no doubt that my personal political decisions would have no influence on the work of the office, it is paramount to me that there not be even a perception that the integrity of the work is compromised by politics, which I fear would be the case if I embarked on a gubernatorial campaign.
“I will make a decision regarding whether I will seek reelection in 2018 sometime in the coming months.”
Jepsen was the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 2002, and he served as Democratic State Party chairman from 2003-2005. He was first elected Attorney General in 2010. He was reelected in 2014, and he earned more votes in that election than any other statewide candidate–outperforming the next closest candidate by more than 51,000 votes. He and his wife, Diana Sousa, live in West Hartford.