It’s official. Former House Speaker James Amann dropped out of the governor’s race Thursday morning at a Capitol press conference.
“It just didn’t work out,” Amann said surrounded by a group of supporters from lawmakers, construction workers, lobbyists, and Teamsters.
“I’m just a beach kid from Milford, Connecticut,” Amann said. “Never in my life, never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d have a chance to run for governor.”
In his heart he still believes he’s the best qualified of all the candidates running for governor, however, as time went on and more candidates jumped into the race Amann said he didn’t see a clear path to victory.
Fundraising was also an issue.
Amann joked about how he’s now allowed to raise $3,500 per person to cover his campaign’s estimated $50,000 to $70,000 in debt, but as a candidate he was only allowed to raise $100 per person under the state’s new public campaign finance system.
“The old system worked a lot better for me than the new one,” Amann said. But he refused to make any excuses and said he hopes the legislature makes the necessary improvements to the fundraising system.
Amann, who met last month with former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy and Greenwich cable executive Ned Lamont, refused to endorse any of the candidates Thursday. He said he’d sit back for the next month and think about publicly endorsing one of them.
Amann is the third Democratic candidate to get out of the race. Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, who was the frontrunner opted to run for attorney general instead, and state Sen. Gary LeBeau, D-East Hartford, dropped out on Feb. 1.
No longer looking for a job in the public sector Amann has his own promoting, marketing, and advertising company called American Resources Unlimited. He said last week he was in Nashville putting together a deal with Dreamworks and Kenny Rogers.
Supporters like state Rep. Ryan Barry, D-Manchester, said he’s disappointed Amann dropped out of the race because he thought he was the most qualified candidate. Barry said he’s talking with Lamont, Malloy, and Simsbury First Selectwoman Mary Glassman to gauge who he will support at the Democratic convention in May.
Click here to read today’s preview of Amann’s announcement.