Rep. Sean Scanlon Credit: Christine Stuart

State Rep. Sean Scanlon, chair of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, announced Tuesday he will explore a run for state comptroller, one of two open statewide offices this year.

Scanlon, a 35-year-old Guilford Democrat, formed an exploratory committee for a statewide campaign. In a press release, he said his focus would be on the office of comptroller, an elected administrator who oversees the state’s finances, as well as the health care and retirement benefits of state employees. 

“From the rising cost of healthcare and childcare to an economy that isn’t working for everyone, our state faces many challenges as we continue to deal with COVID and its impact,” Scanlon said in a press release. “Yet even in these difficult and divided times, I know that progress on these tough issues is possible.”

The announcement makes Scanlon the first Democrat to publicly set their sights on the office, which unexpectedly became an open seat last month when former Comptroller Kevin Lembo stepped down for health reasons. Gov. Ned Lamont appointed Natalie Braswell, a former assistant comptroller, to complete the remainder of Lembo’s term. However, Braswell has indicated she would not run for the office this fall. 

Earlier this month, West Hartford Republican Mary Fay formed a candidate committee to run specifically for comptroller. In 2020, Fay ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. John Larson in the 1st Congressional district. 

Scanlon, who is in his fourth term as a state representative, currently works as executive director of Tweed-New Haven Airport and was formerly a staffer in U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy’s office. 

In forming a statewide office committee, Scanlon joins a crowded field of candidates this year, most of whom have focused on running for the other open constitutional office: secretary of the state. Denise Merrill, the current secretary of the state, announced in June she would not seek a fourth term and several candidates have formed committees and begun fundraising for potential runs. 

Reps. Hilda Santiago, D-Meriden, and Stephanie Thomas, D-Norwalk, have both declared their intent to run for secretary of the state. Santiago raised $26,840 during her exploratory phase and another $9,669 as a candidate. Thomas has raised $31,336 in contributions. Republicans Brock Weber of New Britain and Dominic Rapini of Branford have also formed candidate committees with Weber bringing in $52,445 and Rapini $47,311.

Meanwhile, five Democrats have formed general statewide office committees and have been raising money. They include three legislators: Rep. Josh Elliot, of Hamden who has raised $21,588, Sen. Matt Lesser, of Middletown who has raised $42,275. Maritza Bond, New Haven health director, has raised $36,100, Darryl Brackeen, a New Haven alder who has raised $15,021, and Rob Simmelkjaer, chair of the Connecticut Lottery’s board of directors, has raised $24,965.