Christine Stuart photo

A little more than a month before the Republican nominating convention, Rep. Dan Carter, R-Bethel, announced that he’s running for U.S. Senate.

Carter is the second Republican to announce his intention to run against Democrat U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is finishing out his first term after two decades as Connecticut’s attorney general.

Carter, 48, is in his third term in the General Assembly and said he knows how to build a campaign team and fundraise.

He said he’s run three times and the first time was against a two-term incumbent.

“I know what a long shot race is like and I’m willing to put the work in,” Carter, a former C-130 Air Force pilot who served in Saudi Arabia in support of operation Desert Storm, said.

Carter didn’t mention the other Republican seeking the nomination in his prepared remarks, which focused on why he’s a better candidate than Blumenthal.

“While Islamic killers terrorize western allies, Dick talks about the perils of Astro turf; while real estate prices continue to crater, Dick talks about genetically altered salmon and while Connecticut’s mass transit systems needs some of our tax dollar back to repair them, Dick Blumenthal is worried about legroom on jetliners,” Carter said.

Carter has the support of House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, who joined him on the north steps of the state Capitol with snow falling for a very cold April press conference.

Carter said he saw that the Republican Party needed a candidate and he saw the problems with out August Wolf’s campaign.

“I saw an opportunity to have a clear choice at the top of the ticket,” Carter said. “We need the wind in our sails to carry the message that people like Dick Blumenthal and Dan Malloy can’t walk all over this state anymore.”

Wolf, the only declared candidate in the race until Monday, struggled to retain staff and manage his finances. Wolf had only raised about $84,000 from July 1 to Sept. 30. He recently injected $100,000 of his retirement funds into the race, and hired his third campaign manager since announcing his candidacy last May.

Wolf, a businessman and former Olympian, blamed inexperienced young staffers for failing to file the proper end-of-year financial reports with the Federal Election Commission.

In 2012, the average amount needed to win a U.S. Senate race was more than $10 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington D.C. 

Blumenthal has already raised more than $4 million for his re-election bid.

Carter said he doesn’t expect to raise $4 million, but he promised a good ground game where volunteers will get out the word and knock on doors on his behalf.

“This race is going to be about a good ground game and it’s going to be about character,” Carter said.

Wolf’s campaign welcomed Carter to the race.

“He is a nice guy, but Dan is just another politician and a politician cannot beat Dick Blumenthal,”  Greg Manz, Wolf’s press secretary, said. “The politicians have made a mess in Washington and we can’t send a politician to try and clean it up.”