Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie

HARTFORD, CT — Perhaps capitalizing on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont’s decision to team up with Susan Bysiewicz, Guy Smith on Friday announced state Rep. Charles Stallworth, of Bridgeport, as his running mate.

At a press conference Friday morning before the kick-off of the Democratic Party’s nominating convention, Smith introduced Stallworth, who is African American, as his running mate. Smith is attempting to petition his way onto the Democratic primary ballot.

“This race for governor is about the people of Connecticut. It’s not about anything else,” Smith said. “It’s about what they want and what they need.”

He said he’s formed a ticket that reflects the diversity of the Democratic Party in the state.

“People of color make up an enormous percentage of Democratic voters in the state of Connecticut,” Smith said.

Stallworth is black. He’s also a pastor at the East End Baptist Tabernacle Church in Bridgeport, president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Bridgeport and Vicinity, and has served as a member of the East End Neighborhood Revitalization Association, and as a commissioner on the Bridgeport Board of Police Commissioners.

“It is our intention to represent all the voters of Connecticut,” Smith said, adding that “this campaign is about ideas.”

Smith and Stallworth will run separately in the primary and neither will be using public financing. They also must collect 15,458 signatures of Democratic voters to get onto the August 14 primary ballot.

Smith said he hasn’t even thought about the possibility that the voters would pair him up with Bysiewicz or Eva Bermudez Zimmerman.

“This is a winning ticket,” Stallworth said. “I believe Guy can win. I believe in the principles he’s set forth.”

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim is also seeking the Democratic nomination. He’s going to the convention to see if he can get the support from 300 delegates to get on the ballot, and if he’s not successful at the convention he’s already seeking to qualify by gathering the requisite number of signatures.

Smith also said they are on track to get the signatures they need to qualify.

The convention starts at 6 p.m. tonight at the Connecticut Convention Center.