To the surprise of no one, Gov. Dannel Malloy made it official Friday and declared his candidacy for a second term as governor of Connecticut.
While Mr. Malloy’s pursuit of a second term had been a foregone conclusion for many, he waited on making the formal announcement on it until Friday when he spoke briefly after a State Bond Commission. Saying he “intended to be around a while,” Mr. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who joined him for the remarks, said they would again be running as a ticket.
Mr. Malloy had initially said he would wait even later to make his official announcement, tentatively setting a May timeframe after the legislative session was over because he wanted to go through it as governor and not a candidate, but he changed course with Friday’s announcement, which was immediately followed by a fund raising email.
“I fought my whole life to have the privilege to serve my community, my city, and my state,” Mr. Malloy said in the email. “It’s how I live my mother’s words each day. I never would have made it to where I am today without the inspiration and help of so many — my parents, my wife Cathy, my family, teachers, friends and supporters — to overcome obstacles and take on the challenges that truly make a difference in people’s lives.”
Mr. Malloy trumpeted his signing of a bill raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in the state, a move praised by President Barack Obama, in the email and pledged to remain committed to his legislative agenda.
“We’ve made a lot of progress since 2011, but I’m not satisfied,” Mr. Malloy said. “We have more work to do.”
The field of Republican candidates to challenge him is a crowded one with Greenwich resident Tom Foley, who narrowly lost to Mr. Malloy in 2010, seen as the most likely opponent. Mr. Foley is currently leading the field by a wide margin with the party’s convention set for May and polls have him neck and neck with the incumbent. But first Mr. Foley must get the nomination. While recently State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) said she would not pursue a candidacy, former Republican Attorney General candidate Martha Dean jumped into the race, joining Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and State Sen. John McKinney (R-28).
And Mr. Malloy has a primary challenger of his own as controversial Greenwich resident Lee Whitnum, infamous for calling U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy “a whore” during a 2012 Democratic debate and for being accused by Mr. Malloy, while he was mayor of Stamford, of anti-Semitic remarks during her 2008 primary run against U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, has also said she will be running as Democrat.
Mr. Malloy’s official entry into the race was hailed by state Democrats. State Democratic Party Chairman Nancy DiNardo released a statement saying she was proud of what’s been accomplished in the state during Mr. Malloy’s first term.
“From the minute he took the oath of office, Dan Malloy has spent every single day working to strengthen Connecticut’s future,” Ms. DiNardo said. “The effects of his laser-focus on economic progress can be felt everywhere. Small businesses are growing and creating new jobs, more Connecticut families are moving into the middle class, and a balanced state budget means that our long-term debt has been reduced by billions. His plans for universal pre-k and college affordability are what Connecticut needs to continue its forward motion.”
State Republicans though, looking at the ultra tight poll numbers, were quick to rebut. In a statement, state Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said Connecticut was heading in the wrong direction under Mr. Malloy, claiming the state was lagging behind in the nation’s economic recovery.
“Gov. Malloy’s announcement that he’s running for re-election doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone,” Mr. Labriola said.. “The governor has been in full campaign mode for the past six months, raising campaign cash from state contractors in a pay-to-play shakedown and misleading voters about his record in a desperate attempt to improve his abysmal approval rating. Unfortunately for the governor, the numbers don’t lie. Connecticut’s economy is among the worst in the nation, our unemployment rate remains significantly higher than the national average, and hundreds-of-thousands of Connecticut families are struggling to make ends meet.”