Despite only being in the race for state comptroller for a short time after abandoning his bid for lieutenant governor, State Healthcare Advocate Kevin Lembo won the Democratic nomination for the office at the party’s convention on Saturday in Hartford.
Lembo gathered 998 delegates, or 55 percent of the total.
That left state Rep. Tom Reynolds – who had been running for comptroller since April 2009 – with 450 or 25 percent of the delegates. Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura polled 348 or 19 percent, which means both he and Reynolds qualified for a primary. Neither has made a decision on whether they will challenge Lembo, who worked in the comptroller’s office under Nancy Wyman for several years before he became state healthcare advocate.
“We remain in the race,” Reynolds said as the convention came to a close Saturday afternoon. “We formed an exploratory committee 13 months ago with one goal: to change the way state government works. My commitment to that goal remains unchanged and I will be listening to my supporters and talking to my family and anticipate announcing next week how we will proceed.”
Reynolds had stepped aside in January when Nancy Wyman announced her bid for re-election to state comptroller, but he re-entered the race when Wyman decided to join Dannel Malloy’s ticket and run for lieutenant governor. At the time, he had suggested that there would be “no office hopping” for him – a jab at Lembo, who had dropped his bid for lieutenant governor and jumped into the race for state comptroller.
Part of the reason was to help build grassroots support for the reforms that are necessary, because whoever is governor, they’re going to have an unprecedented fiscal crisis to deal with.
Reynolds said there weren’t any surprises Saturday.
“We knew that conventions take on a life of their own, and we saw that today,” Reynolds said.
Lembo was elated during his acceptance speech and said Wyman’s shoes can never be filled, though he plans to try if he is elected.
“The next six months is our duty and our responsibility to engage people of Connecticut in a discussion about our future,” Lembo said. “Not with sound bytes and ads and attack ads. We need to explain our values and how they are different from their values. We must acknowledge where decades of a lack of leadership have left us, but be clear and concrete about how we’re going to set things right.”