ctnewsjunkie file photo
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman (ctnewsjunkie file photo)

HARTFORD, CT — Ending months of speculation about whether she would seek higher office, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman decided to take a pass on running for governor.

The 71-year-old former X-ray technician who was catapulted into public service when she ran for her local school board said she won’t run for governor in 2018.

“I want to thank everyone who has come forward with offers to help on a campaign — Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters from across the state,” Wyman said in a statement. “The outpouring of support has been overwhelming and humbling. I made this decision after careful consideration and discussion with my family and friends, and after my granddaughter, a freshman at college, asked a simple question, ‘will you come over for dinner, Grandma?’ It took four weeks to schedule that dinner. This is not how I want to be a grandparent. I believe that family should come first.”

She said she didn’t do any polling and if she had listened to her supporters her decision would have been different.

Lt Gov Wyman talks about her decision not to run for governor in 2018.

Posted by CTNewsJunkie.com on Thursday, November 16, 2017

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Wyman is the best lieutenant governor he could have ever chosen.

“She’s a great friend and a wonderful public servant,” Malloy said.

He said he knows she “had her own internal debate about this,” but declined to describe the counsel he gave her on the matter.

Her decision leaves four Democratic candidates exploring a run for governor and one declared candidate.

Malloy declined to offer his endorsement at this phase in the competition.

“I suspect there are going to be a bunch more candidates in the field,” Malloy said.

The Republican Governors Association said Wyman is a casualty of Malloy’s “toxic record.”

Malloy is one of the least popular governors in the country, according to polls.

“After spending nearly eight years as Malloy’s Chief Enabler, standing by his catastrophic tax-and-spend agenda, her ties to the failed governor would have proven too much for her candidacy to overcome,” the RGA said in a statement.

Wyman, although popular with the Democratic Party’s base, may have struggled to overcome her ties to Malloy. But her decision not to run means Connecticut will never know.

“Nancy was the epitome of a party stalwart and leader,” Nancy DiNardo, Democratic National Committeewoman, said. “She was always there for the state party and for our town committees, regardless of whether she was on the ballot herself, simply out of her commitment to advancing the interests of our party.”

The results of the 2017 election have given Democrats hope that they can hold onto the governor’s office in Connecticut. Before last week the general sentiment was that it’s the Republican Party’s to lose.

Malloy, who announced in March he wasn’t seeking a third term, said the number of candidates in the field makes 2018 an election unlike any the state has ever seen.

Middletown Mayor Dan Drew is the only declared candidate seeking the Democratic nomination. Former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, former Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris, former Veterans Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly, and former Democratic Party Vice Chair Dita Bhargava are exploring a run.

Harris was the only candidate who said if Wyman ran he would get out of the race.

On Thursday he tried to explain why everyone seemed to like Wyman, even those from the other party.

“She is well-liked because people have always recognized that she is genuine, and has consistently strived to respond to people’s concerns,” Harris said. “I look forward to continuing to work with her to create a better future for all of our friends and neighbors across Connecticut.”

There are another 20 candidates on the Republican side seeking or exploring the nomination for their party.

Wyman will likely be remembered most for her work at a critical moment on healthcare.

“Her work with Access Health Connecticut has made our communities stronger,” Nick Balletto, chairman of the Connecticut Democratic Party, said. “Although every day President Donald Trump and his Republican enablers in Washington attack this work, I know Nancy Wyman will be a strong voice against the national Republican agenda to dismantle a system that works and has given middle class families peace of mind as they can – finally – count on access to health care for themselves and their children.”

Wyman co-chairs the board of Access Health CT and was instrumental in setting up Connecticut’s insurance exchange.

“It should come as a surprise to no one that Connecticut had the nation’s highest-performing healthcare exchange largely because Nancy was at the helm,” Bhargava said. “Many more people are covered and receiving the care they need today because of Nancy’s work.”