HARTFORD, CT — Another day, another Republican candidate for governor.
Joseph Visconti, 60, who ran as a petitioning, unaffiliated candidate for governor in 2014, announced Wednesday that he has taken out paperwork to seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2018.
Visconti, a contractor from West Hartford, is also a former 2008 candidate for U.S. Congress. He said he will be skipping the Republican convention in May and seeking the Republican nomination in the primary. In 2014, Visconti didn’t receive enough support at the convention to automatically qualify for the primary so he chose to become a petitioning candidate and collected enough signatures to qualify for the general election ballot.
His task will be a little more difficult this year. To qualify as a candidate for the Republican primary Visconti would need about 9,350 signatures, or 2 percent of the 467,687 enrolled GOP voters.
He dropped out of the governor’s race the weekend before the 2014 election and endorsed Republican Tom Foley. But it was too late to get his name off the ballot. Visconti remained on the ballot and received about 11,000 votes, but he didn’t play the role of spoiler because it wasn’t enough to hand Foley the election over Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Malloy announced last Friday that he won’t be seeking a third term in office.
In 2016, Visconti formed an exploratory committee to consider a run against U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal but he wound up not running.
Visconti, a tea party and gun-rights activist, also served a two-year term on the West Hartford City Council.
Visconti has had a four decade career in the construction business. His campaign biography also notes his work in theater, having trained as an actor and mentor in New York and performed for years in children’s shows in Hartford.
He joins a crowded field of Republicans who want to be the state’s next governor.
There’s Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who is making his third run, along with Glastonbury Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, David Walker, Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, and Peter Lumaj, who is running for statewide office but hasn’t said whether he will seek the governor’s office.
And those are just the candidates who have already filed their paperwork with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.
Others who have expressed interest in running include former state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, former congressman Joe Scarborough (who now hosts Morning Joe on MSNBC), Senate Republican President Len Fasano of North Haven, and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides of Derby.
High interest in the governor’s job isn’t just on the Republican side. Among the Democrats, about a half-dozen names have either entered the race or have had their names bandied about.
Almost every candidate for statewide office has been using the Citizens Election Program, which means they have to raise $250,000 in qualifying funds to receive a $1.4 million primary grant and a $6.5 million grant for the general election.
Ideally, each would want to qualify for those grants before the May 2018 convention. That means they have about 12 months to raise $250,000 if they haven’t gotten into the race yet.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story didn’t make it clear Visconti is seeking the Republican nomination through the primary.