Dita Bhargava, a former Wall Street trader who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for state treasurer in 2018, announced her candidacy for the office Monday morning just days after Treasurer Shawn Wooden unexpectedly removed himself from the race.
Bhargava, a Greenwich resident who is COO of a Stamford-based investment firm called Catalan Investments, released a press statement early Monday saying the state needed a treasurer with financial experience.
“I’ve spent 25 years working in finance on Wall Street and the past ten years working to help hold corporate America to a higher standard on issues that impact Connecticut residents in their everyday lives,” Bhargava said.
Bhargava, who ran unsuccessfully for state representative in 2016, lost to Wooden during a primary challenge in 2018.
Another 2018 Democratic treasurer candidate, lawyer Arunan Arulampalam, announced Sunday he would not seek the nomination and would instead focus on his current work in the city of Hartford.
“I love Hartford, I believe in its potential, and I feel blessed to be a small part of building its future,” Arulampalam said. “I am right where I want to be.”
Gov. Ned Lamont said Bhargava was a “highly qualified candidate,” and he expects more to get into the race.
Wooden was widely expected to seek another term in the fall and his late and unexpected announcement to the contrary left Democrats rushing to identify candidates with less than one month before the party’s nominating convention. Meanwhile, Harry Arora, a longtime investment manager and state representative from Greenwich, is seeking the Republican nomination.
Last week, Lamont told reporters he did not intend to back a candidate before the nominating convention. However, Lamont said it should be someone with a background in finances.
“A lot of states you’re not elected, a lot of state’s treasurers are appointed because it’s a very specialized job with a unique skill set,” he said.
The governor said Wooden’s announcement was unexpected.
“I was taken by surprise,” Lamont said. “I thought Shawn was all in. He had a pretty good track record, it was a good performing fund. He had worked really hard to get and it’s usually a job people keep for awhile so I take him at his word. He’s got a kid going to college, he’s a single father so maybe it was family, maybe it was money.”
The nominating convention will take place on May 6 and 7.