HARTFORD, CT — Two women who some believe would “clear the field” when it comes to the 2018 gubernatorial race have continued their silence about their future plans.
Both Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides have said they would offer some insight into their plans after the state has a budget.
Last Tuesday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed the two-year $41.34 billion budget.
Both have since declined to comment on their plans.
“Lt. Governor Wyman is still considering and will make a decision soon,” according to her spokeswoman Juliet Manalan.
Wyman is wildly popular with the Democratic base, but would be criticized for her tenure under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, one of the most unpopular governor’s in the country, according to the Morning Consult.
Klarides has been busy negotiating the budget and unable to think about her political future.
Liz Kurantowicz, a Republican analyst and former executive director of the Connecticut Republican Party, said “The fact that it’s November 6th and there’s still an open lane for both these women to run in their respective Party primaries speaks for itself.”
In previous years, under the Citizens Election Program, it would be difficult to conceive of a candidate waiting so long to get into the race because they would have to raise less than $100 donations from thousands of donors.
But both Wyman and Klarides have enough name recognition to pull it off.
“To Rep. Klarides’ credit, she opted to leave politics at the door and instead focused her efforts on passing two bipartisan budgets that undo the harm caused by the Governor’s failure to lead,” Kurantowicz said. “With that behind her, she now has an opportunity to see where she’ll be able to have the greatest impact on undoing the harm caused by the last seven years of one party rule in Hartford.”
Republican Party Chairman JR Romano said he can’t remember a candidate who has had to decide between becoming Speaker of the House or running for governor. He said that’s the enviable position Klarides finds herself in.
Romano is assuming that Republicans will take control of the House in 2018, which would elevate Klarides to Speaker of the House.
In 2016, Republicans gained eight seats in the House, decreasing the Democrats’ advantage in the chamber from 86-64 to 79-72. To take control of the chamber in 2018, Republicans need a net gain of four more seats.
The last time Republicans controlled the House was in 1986.
“She is uniquely the only person in recent memory to be put in this position,” Romano said.
Party insiders have balked at the number of unknown candidates running for governor in 2018.
Many of the candidates are running for office for the first time and have no statewide name recognition.
Both Wyman and Klarides are well-known within their parties and across the state.
Leigh Appleby, a spokesman for the Democratic Party, said they are excited about the field of candidates, who have a positive and exciting vision for the state.
He said they’re ready to hit the ground running with the Democratic candidates they have.
There are grumblings that if Wyman and Klarides decided to get into the race they would shoot to the top of the pack without much leg work.
Most of the serious candidates have been attending town committee meetings across the state and fundraising for months.
At least one Democratic candidate has said he would get out of the race if Wyman enters. None of the Republican candidates, at least one who serves with Klarides in the House, have made the same offer to Klarides.