HARTFORD, CT — He’s not finished with the second year of this first term, but Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said he’s receiving encouragement from supporters to run for governor.
The news comes on the heels of Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman’s decision not to run for governor. It also comes at a time when there is no clear frontrunner in the race.
“It’s not something I had planned to do right now, but over the past few weeks I’ve heard from a number of people around the state urging me to consider it,” Bronin said Saturday in a phone interview. “I haven’t made a decision, but I am considering it, and in the coming weeks, I’ll be talking with and listening to folks in the City of Hartford and around the state about it.”
The first-term mayor and Greenwich native worked as Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s legal counsel for two years before stepping down to mount his mayoral bid in which he challenged a sitting mayor in a Democratic primary and won.
Bronin said Hartford was recently a few weeks away from having to declare bankruptcy, but was saved by a last-minute bipartisan budget deal, which set up a system that will give the city enough money to avoid bankruptcy as long as it can restructure its debt and renegotiate its labor contracts.
Hartford is looking to bondholders to restructure roughly $604 million in general obligation bonds and lease debt. Options for restructuring include refinancing debt by issuing new refunding bonds with a maximum maturity of 30 years, instead of the previous cap of 20 years.
Moody’s analysts said last month that bondholder recovery is extremely sensitive to the amount of concessions received from stakeholders, and how those concessions are allocated.
If Bronin enters the race he will become the eighth Democratic candidate and at least the seventh candidate who is a local elected official or a former elected official at the municipal level.
He has not filed any paperwork with the State Elections Enforcement Commission yet to make it official.
Bronin, 38, and his wife, Sara, a law professor at the University of Connecticut and chair of Hartford’s Planning and Zoning Commission, live in a Civil War-era brownstone with their three children. Both are Rhodes Scholars, whose nuptials were covered by the New York Times in 2007.
Before working as Malloy’s general counsel, Bronin worked as deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Treasury Department where he was part of the fight against terrorist financing and financial crimes. As a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve, Bronin served seven months in Afghanistan where he was assigned to an anti-corruption task force.