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HARTFORD, CT — Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin filed paperwork Thursday to explore a run for governor.

Bronin hinted at a run last month after saying in 2015 that he would serve out his full four-year term as mayor. Bronin is just two years into that term and is in the midst of negotiating labor contracts and debt restructuring to help the city avoid bankruptcy.

Bronin said Thursday that he will be going around the state over the next few weeks and talking to folks about his vision for the state of Connecticut.

As far as his work in Hartford, the Greenwich native has said he thinks they’ve made tremendous progress in the city. He also thinks that he can do more good for the city as governor than as mayor.

“After tackling Hartford’s historic fiscal crisis over the past two years, I know what it means to face hard problems head-on and honestly, and not shy away from tough choices,” Bronin said in an email to supporters. “I also know that difficult choices alone aren’t enough. To get Connecticut working again, we need a shared vision for restoring economic growth and opportunity.”

But the Republican Party is salivating over a run against a “protégé” of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Bronin, Malloy’s former legal counsel, may struggle trying to distance himself from his former boss, who is one of the least popular governors in the country, according to a Morning Consult poll.

The Republican Governors Association said that Bronin “has followed the failed governor’s playbook in Hartford, pursuing a reckless tax-and-spend agenda that has driven the city to a ‘junk’ bond rating while putting it at ‘high risk’ for bankruptcy.”

The organization said that “under Bronin’s disastrous leadership, Hartford’s fiscal status has declined even further than the state as a whole, which has been plagued for years by routine credit downgrades under Malloy.”

Meanwhile, former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, who has been out of elected office for at least five years now, is looking to get back in.

Bysiewicz has said she formed an exploratory committee to run against Republican Sen. Len Suzio who represents Meriden and part of Middletown. However, the Windsor Democratic Town Committee agenda says she will visit them on Jan. 4 to talk about a run for governor.

In an email to questions about a gubernatorial bid, Bysiewicz said even though she’s still being encouraged to run for governor “I remain focused on exploring a run for the 13th state Senate district.”

Bysiewicz was leading in the polls in the governor’s race in 2010 when she decided to run for Attorney General, only to find out she didn’t have enough years of legal practice to qualify for the position.

Since 2013, Bysiewicz has been working for the law firm of Pastore & Dailey LLC.

Including Bronin, there are now six candidates exploring or running for governor on the Democratic side. There are 22 candidates on the Republican side looking at the office.