Dogged by state finances and poor approval ratings, Democratic Governor Dan Malloy announced on Thursday he will not seek another four-year term in 2018. This announcement will trigger a series of decisions by would-be candidates for statewide office be it governor or other constitutional positions such as comptroller and lieutenant governor.
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo and State Senator Ted Kennedy Jr. are among the potential Dems to jump into the governor’s race. Congressman Jim Himes’ name is also floated by political insiders. Still to be heard from is Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, one of the most popular politicians in Connecticut. Will she go for it? Mayor Joe Ganim wants to run, but he has issues qualifying for Connecticut’s public financing system that prohibits participation by those who violated the public trust while in office.
The state’s public financing system coupled with the advent of August primaries for state office, has pushed up the election cycle clock. Party endorsement conventions now take place in May for the election year. Within the next year multiple candidates for statewide office will try to bank as much dough as possible to qualify for public financing and show strength going into the respective conventions.
The Republican side will have a crowded field for governor including Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, a Bridgeport resident.
Malloy’s in the middle of another difficult budget process as the state legislature goes through his spending plan.
Malloy, former mayor of Stamford, defeated Republican Tom Foley in close race in 2010 and then once again in 2014.
Malloy’s prepared remarks:
I began my first run for Governor on February 3, 2004, more than 13 years ago. And now, a little past the midway point in my second term, I’ve obviously had to consider what the future might look like for myself and my family, for the Democratic Party, and for our great state.
I’ve thought a great deal about the areas my administration has tried to prioritize these past six years. Throughout our work, we’ve tried to play the long-game for Connecticut, not doing what is politically expedient, but rather what we believe is in the best interests of the people we serve today, and for generations still to come.
I’ve thought about how our state has added more than 74,000 private sector jobs since 2010, and unemployment is now at 4.7 percent–its lowest level since 2007.
I’ve thought about how we worked across party lines in 2012 to pass comprehensive education reforms, and today our students are some of the best readers in the country, and our graduation rates are now at their highest point in Connecticut’s history.
I’ve thought about the commonsense and compassionate changes we’ve made to our criminal justice system–changes that are helping us experience our lowest crime rates in generations.
And I’ve thought about similar progress in so many other areas–energy, affordable housing, transportation, and so much more.
In all these areas, I am tremendously proud of the undeniable progress we’ve made, but I also know how much is still yet to be done. I know that Connecticut must continue to change and grow and strive for a more perfect tomorrow–that we must continue to focus on the long-game.
I know that until anyone who wants a job can have one, until every person in our criminal justice system is treated fairly and equally, until every student has access to a quality education–that we have never done enough, and that there will always be more work to do.
Inherent in the nature of our Democracy is that no governor, no mayor, or no president for that matter ever sees their vision fully realized. America, each of its states, and each of its amazing cities and towns, are forever works-in-progress. Elected leaders at every level are stewards–entrusted to use the time they have to improve the lives of their constituents as best they can. That’s what I have tried to do every day I’ve held this office, including this one.
In fact, it’s been said by some that if I were interested in a third term, I might’ve put forward a different looking budget. I’m not sure I agree with that, but I take it as a compliment. My proposed budget was built with Connecticut’s best interest in mind, regardless of political consequence for me, or anyone else. And I intend to make the core principles of that budget a reality in the coming months.
For that reason, I am today announcing that I will not seek a third term as Governor.
Instead, I will focus all my attention and energy–I will use all of my political capital from now through the end of 2018–to continue implementing my administration’s vision for a more sustainable and vibrant Connecticut economy.
Here’s what that means:
It means creating a fairer and more equitable system for town aid–a system that includes a more sensible and equitable ECS formula, and a system that responsibly shares the obligations of teachers’ retirement–just as every other state does.
It means maintaining our commitment to better and more sustainable budget practices. We will not rely on gimmicks or one-time fixes, we will not push off debts that should be responsibly paid now, and we will not borrow to save ourselves from difficult but necessary reductions in spending.
And it also means continuing to make our criminal justice system work better for everyone, regardless of where they live, the color of their skin, or how much money they have. No one should sit in jail simply because they are poor, while others walk free. And if a young person pays the consequences for a mistake when they are young, those consequences shouldn’t prevent them from eventually taking part in our society, and our economy.
The decision I have announced today will allow me to focus on these areas fully–not just for the remainder of this session, but for the next 20 months. In the remainder of my term, my team and I will continue to play the long-game. We’ll keep fighting for what we believe is in the best interest of Connecticut residents now, and in the future.
In closing, I want to recognize my wife Cathy who is here today. She is my partner and my best friend, and it’s only through the love and support of Cathy and our sons that my career as a public servant has been possible.
I also want to recognize Nancy Wyman. I’ve made a habit of saying that she is the best Lt. Governor in the United States, and I have meant it every single time.
And finally, I want to thank my staff and the many, many supporters without whom I would not have been able to do this job. My message to them this afternoon is simple: thank you … now get back to work. We have many months ahead, and much work to do.
Serving as Connecticut’s 88th Governor is the honor of my lifetime, second only to being a father and a husband. It will continue to be an honor as I work hard–as hard as ever–for the remainder of this term.