When he exited the governor’s race almost a year ago he had spent close to $61,000, but he also had about $29,000 in outstanding debts. In an effort to make good on those debts, former House Speaker James Amann threw himself a retirement party Friday.
Amann, the former lawmaker from Milford who served two terms as House Speaker, said he thought a retirement party would help him erase some of the campaign debt and allow him to pay back the vendors he still owes.
But it also served another purpose. It lets people know I’m out of politics and won’t be running for elected office, Amann said last week.
“It is what it is,” Amann said at a press conference announcing the filming of a submarine movie in Connecticut. “I’m trying to send a message that I’m done politically.”
Amann started a lobbying firm last year, which comprises about 70 percent of his business and a public relations marketing firm which makes up the rest.
With about 300 people attending and most paying $75, Amann said he expected he’d be able to erase most of the campaign debt, but not all of it. He said his goal is to pay back all the vendors even if it means him and his wife will have to pay some of it from their own pockets.
Amann did not participate in the public campaign finance system which means he can accept contributions of up to $3,500 from individuals, $5,000 per PAC, and $7,500 per Town Committee.
One person still waiting to be paid for his services is Patrick Scully, Amann’s first campaign manager, who left the campaign in June 2009.
“Yes, Jim has an outstanding balance with me,“ Scully said this weekend. “But I have always had the highest respect for him and I take him at his word that I’ll be paid for the work I did.”
Amann first announced he was considering a run for governor back in April 2008. After trying to deter other candidates from a party primary, Amann dropped his bid for governor in February 2010, before Ned Lamont even decided to get into the race.
In late January of last year, Amann said he was disappointed that he received just five percent of likely Democratic voters in the Quinnipiac University poll.
Not seeking another term as a lawmaker to focus on the race for governor was a “tremendously humbling experience,” Amann said in January. “I thought people were paying more attention.”
Amann got out of the governor’s race after Sen. Gary LeBeau of East Hartford and Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, who dropped her gubernatorial bid to run for attorney general.