Gov. Ned Lamont eliminated any ambiguity that existed over his low key re-election announcement Monday and affirmed his decision Tuesday following a tour of an elementary school in New Britain.
“I love the job. I think we’re making a difference and I just didn’t want to get tied down in the politics of it for the next six months so I kept it a little ambiguous,” Lamont said.
However he’s been preparing for this over the past few weeks by making changes at the Democratic Party which will help him with reelection.
Republican Party Chairman Ben Proto said it’s no surprise Lamont is running.
“It’s somewhat a surprise he did it as soon as he did,” Proto said.
He said the governor may have been prompted by the Democratic losses during last week’s election.
“He has to defend what is ultimately going to be an abysmal record of driving Connecticut to the bottom of every financial category that they rate states on,” Proto said.
What are the issues?
“They’re going to be focusing obviously on I think taxes and the state of the economy,” Sacred Heart Political Science Professor Gary Rose said.
With inflation and the cost of gas and groceries increasing that could be problematic for the Democratic Party, Rose said.
“The other issue is we have this rash of juvenile crime here in Connecticut, and a lot of cars are being stolen. My neighbor’s car was stolen, so these are important issues, I think that could actually work to a Republican’s advantage,” Rose said.
Proto said the Republicans are ready to mount a challenge.
They haven’t held the office for a decade since former Gov. M. Jodi Rell decided not to run again in 2010.
“We have really, really good folks who are looking at the office. Folks who have run before, who have served before and I think at the end of the day the governor’s going to be in for the fight of his life,” Proto said.
Former House Leader Themis Klarides has filed paperwork to explore a run for governor. Bob Stefanowski, the Madison executive and Republican who ran against Lamont in 2018, is also expected to consider a bid.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more than two,” Proto said.
Lamont, the former Greenwich cable executive who isn’t taking a salary from the state for the position, isn’t worried.
“For the foreseeable future I think we’re in good shape. We don’t need more taxes, we do have a lot more taxpayers, our revenues, our income tax revenues, our capital gains are very strong right now,” he said.