Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Sean Connolly announcing his campaign last October at Augie and Rays in East Hartford (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — Democrat Sean Connolly dropped his bid for governor Thursday afternoon.

A spokeswoman for the campaign declined comment, but said the campaign would issue a statement this afternoon.

Before that could happen Ned Lamont’s campaign issued a press release saying Connolly was endorsing Lamont.

“Ned Lamont is the best person to move Connecticut forward and bring bold change because he places service above politics,” Connolly said in the press release.

Connolly, the former Connecticut Veterans Affairs Commissioner whose family and friends enthusiastically supported his bid for governor, was never able to gain the momentum necessary to mount a formidable campaign. His fundraising lagged. He had about $25,000 left in his campaign account on April 10, despite what appeared to be a groundswell of grassroots support.

That leaves Lamont and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim to fight for delegates this weekend at the Democratic Party’s Convention.

There are 1,926 delegates and 72 superdelegates signed up for the convention.

Lamont and Ganim will need to get 15 percent of the delegates on any ballot to automatically qualify for the Democratic Party’s primary in August.

If all the delegates show up at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, it means Ganim will need the support of 300 to get onto the ballot. In order to receive the party’s endorsement and appear on the top line of the ballot, a candidate needs 50 percent plus 1.

Ganim has also been collecting signatures to guarantee a spot on the ballot if he fails the get the support he needs at the convention. He would need to collect more than the 15,458 signatures of registered Democrats before June 12 in order to qualify.

Guy Smith of Greenwich is also collecting signatures to gain access to the Democratic Primary ballot. Smith, a first-time candidate, has called the convention process “rigged.”

Smith will name Rep. Charles Stallworth of Bridgeport as his running mate Friday before the start of the two-day convention.

“My campaign has always been about true Democratic ideals and representing all of the people of this great state – African Americans, Latinos, women, union workers, gun safety advocates, the LGBT community and any and all Progressive Democrats looking for a Governor and lieutenant governor who counts the voice of the people as the most important,” Smith said.

Stallworth is black. Smith is hoping to capitalize on some of the backlash for Lamont choosing Susan Bysiewicz as his running mate.