Step Right Up! Former BarFest Ringmaster Mark Lauretti Running For Governor

Herbst, Lauretti Columbus Day
Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti at Bridgeport’s Columbus Day Parade 2014.

With deep roots in Bridgeport and a strong story to tell about a mega grand list that has kept taxes down, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti says he will formally announce his candidacy for governor next month joining a potentially large Republican field for the 2018 gubernatorial cycle. Lauretti was elected mayor in 1991, the same year Joe Ganim was elected mayor of Bridgeport his first tenure as chief executive.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst have formed exploratory committees for statewide runs. Lauretti, the 2008 Barnum Festival ringmaster, declares, “Look, if people are exploring at this point, then they don’t belong in the race. There’s nothing for me to explore.”

For several years as mayor, Lauretti was the target of a federal corruption probe into his administration. While several in Shelton were charged, he was not. He has maintained his popularity with Shelton voters.

The 2018 race for governor could very well be a three-ring (maybe four or five) circus. But hey, we’re used to that in Bridgeport, right? Democratic Governor Dan Malloy is not expected to make his reelection plans known until after the legislative session ends in June.

Hearst Media political reporter Neil Vigdor has more:

In addition to Lauretti, Boughton and Herbst, the party’s 2014 candidate for secretary of the state, Peter Lumaj, state Sen. Tony Hwang, R-Fairfield, and state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, R-Glastonbury, have formed exploratory committees.

“He’s all in,” state GOP Chairman J.R. Romano said of Lauretti. “I think Mark’s got a great story to tell. He’s done a tremendous job in Shelton over the course of many years.”

Lauretti, 61, is Fairfield County’s longest-serving mayor or first selectman.

“There’s a lot of people that never ran anything before and now they think they can run the state,” Lauretti said. “I think what we’ve done in Shelton is a model that can serve the state of Connecticut pretty well. When you don’t raise taxes for eight years in a row, I’ve got to believe that’s something the people of the state would just die for.”

Full story here.

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15 comments

  1. Can you see the economic development that continues to grow? Eight years of continued City service without a tax increase? And isn’t at least one of the forces for development progress a refugee from Bridgeport processes that failed to provide OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST governance?
    Perhaps there is reason to dig into some of the other details behind this candidate. Time will tell.

  2. One comment. Mark Lauretti DOES NOT have a mega-grand list. Neither does Timmie Herbst. Both are examples of small suburbs letting one developer have his own way.

        1. I did a cursory look for Trumbull’s Grand List but I could not find it. But at 1:30am, I’m not going to drive myself crazy because I will not be able to fall asleep. If anyone can find it, thank you. Otherwise I will search in the afternoon. Good night to all.

      1. Lennie, you are right that there are other Shelton developers TODAY but Scinto was the first and the most active developer in Shelton. I believe he remains Shelton’s largest property taxpayer. Where would Shelton be without Scinto? As for the ratio of population to grand list, it certainly looks good, especially compared to Bridgeport, but I would not be surprised if that ratio is similar to many/most CT suburbs. The fact Shelton’s Grand List was almost equal to Bridgeport’s despite the huge difference in population was a real eye-opener.

        1. Let’s remember Scinto’s role (and Lauretti’s as well) in the Shelton corruption probe as mentioned in the article. Shelton’s economic development was definitely pay to play and Scinto was part of that.

  3. I had one run-in with Tony Hwang. I was parked in the Shop-Rite Plaza on Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield when a car barreled in and parked next to me but did not even leave enough space that I could open my door on the driver’s side. I had to pull out and re-park to be able to get out. Hwang said to me “Is everything okay?” I said “oh sure” but I said to myself, what an inconsiderate person. Then I got out and saw the legislative plates.

  4. Just what we need, another politician who has been under investigation. The feds have not arrested Lauretti but they have arrested someone who was part of the investigation and this guy went to prison. Go figure.

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