Christine Stuart photo

Standing outside the Community Child Guidance Clinic in Manchester state Rep. Ryan Barry, D-Manchester, offered his wholehearted support to former House Speaker James Amann’s bid for governor in 2010.

“This is the kind of guy who grabs you by the lapels in the middle of a budget crisis and says, ‘Just be thankful we’re here to help people’,” Barry said describing Amann’s character.

Regardless of who enters the race, Barry Amann’s 12th endorsement, pledged his unwavering support to the former speaker Wednesday afternoon.

“Manchester owes a great debt of gratitude to Jim Amann,” Barry said. “As speaker he took stock of what your district looked like and kept a file so he always knows what you need.”

“Time and time again he proved that he was the ‘go-to guy’ on virtually every issue that needed to be addressed for our communities,” Barry said using the Community Child Guidance Clinic as an example. Barry said when the clinic, which serves children with behavioral and mental health problems, needed bond funds to keep an after school program in town Amann helped him get $457,000 for construction of a new wing.

Amann, who is probably the most moderate of the six or possibly eight Democratic candidates interested in the nomination, is able to “work across party lines,” Barry said. 

In Barry’s opinion there isn’t any other candidate—including Attorney General Richard Blumenthal who said he’s “listening” to those encouraging him to run—that has Amann’s negotiating ability.

“My advantage over any of the candidates is my legislative experience,” Amann said.

While he highlighted his legislative career, Tuesday’s Quinnipiac University poll found that if the Democratic primary was held today Amann would get 3 percent of the vote.

The poll found that Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz would get 26 percent of the vote, Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont gets 22 percent, Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy gets 9 percent, while state Sen. Gary LeBeau receives 2 percent and Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi trails the rest of the pack with one percent of the vote.

Amann’s favorability rating, according to the poll, was 7 percent. The poll also found that while 8 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him, 84 percent didn’t know enough about him to have an opinion.

Even though he wished Quinnipiac University did the poll before Lamont announced his exploratory campaign, “It doesn’t matter what the number is,” Amann said.

“I guarantee no one would know how to fix the budget crisis except for me,” Amann said. “The way you fix the problem is by creating opportunity.” He said as governor his focus would be job creation and job retention, which was a theme during the last gubernatorial debate.

The Democratic field continues to grow as Juan Figueroa, president of the Universal Health Care Foundation, also considers a run.

Barry said Wednesday’s press conference in Manchester wasn’t the result of Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s announcement earlier this week. He said it was planned before she announced she wouldn’t seek another term.

Over the next few months endorsements from state legislators and Democratic Town Committees will be announced by all the candidates seeking the nomination. The convention will be held in May and the primary will be held in August.