House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero of Norwalk announced Monday afternoon that he will not seek the Republican nomination for governor and refused to endorse either of the two announced Republican candidates. 

After forming an exploratory committee and talking with his family, Cafero said “it wasn’t the time,” for him to run for higher office. “Sometimes family timing and political timing don’t match up,” he said.

When asked if he would consider a run for lieutenant governor, Cafero said flatly, “never.”

“Who would want me?” he said at a Capitol press conference. “How would they shut me up?”

According to Cafero, the next governor, man or woman, will be the most “unpopular human being in the state of Connecticut for at least the first two years of their term.”

“If they are going to think about, politically, how to position themselves in term one for term two, they’re going to lose and destroy this state,” Cafero said.

He said knowing that didn’t play into his decision not to run. “I knew that from the very beginning, if I was ready to go I accepted that challenge.“

And as far as endorsing the other Republican candidates, Cafero made it clear in his opening remarks that he’s “not prepared at this time to endorse anybody who is running.“

The Republican candidates for governor include Greenwich businessman and former Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley and Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele of Stamford. Cafero called both Foley and Fedele friends.

Instead, Cafero, who has served in the House of Representatives since 1993, will seek re-election to his seat and run for a third term as leader of the Republican caucus.

As far as the future of the party is concerned, Cafero said he believes the Republican Party has to re-brand itself in 2010. He said many in the party believe the wind is at the party’s back at the moment. “That may be true, but that does not mean people will automatically flock to the Republican party,” Cafero said.

He said the party has to convey a platform of “common sense commitment to Connecticut.“ He said that commitment includes principles, such as “you don’t spend more than you make” and “don’t borrow more than you can pay back.”

“I love my Republican Party. We always have the better product, but we may not have always had the best sales force,” Cafero said.