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Thursday, Jan 18, 2018
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List of Connecticut gubernatorial candidates keeps growing

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The list of people who want to become Connecticut's next governor continues to grow.

Oz Griebel, the outgoing head of a Hartford business group, announced Wednesday that he and Newtown attorney Monte Frank are forming the first independent ticket in the 2018 race.

Griebel joins more than two dozen Democrats, Republicans and other candidates who are officially "exploring" a possible run for governor or have already declared themselves as contenders. Meanwhile, others are still considering whether to join what's become the most crowded field for Connecticut governor in recent years, sparked by news that Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy isn't seeking a third term.

That roster includes people like House Republican Leader Themis Klarides, of Derby, and Democratic businessman Ned Lamont, of Greenwich, who previously ran for U.S. Senate and governor. Both have yet to announce their intentions.

"Clearly, there is going to be a lively election," said former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz. Now an attorney with her own private practice in Middletown, Bysiewicz said she plans to decide early next year whether she'll seek the Democratic nomination for governor or possibly pursue a bid for the state Senate.

Some highlights of the race so far:

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WHO'S OUT?

With Election Day less than a year away, some of the better-known potential candidates have already stepped aside.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Malloy's political partner for the past seven years, said in November she wants to spend more time with her family, ending months of speculation about whether she would jump in to the race.

Also, State Comptroller Kevin Lembo surprised many of his fellow Democrats in August when he announced he was dropping his bid for governor and instead running for re-election as comptroller.

Bysiewicz, who has been campaigning for a state senate district, said Democratic leaders asked her to consider running after Lembo and Wyman dropped out of contention. If she decides to run, Bysiewicz would be one of the better known Democratic candidates. Besides serving as Secretary of the State, Bysiewicz previously ran for U.S. Senate and Attorney General.

Meanwhile, former federal prosecutor and Democrat Chris Mattei this month announced he was switching from a gubernatorial run to a bid for attorney general after Attorney General George Jepsen said he won't seek re-election.

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WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW?

The list of people seeking Connecticut's top office or exploring the idea is wide-ranging, including political newcomers, veteran state legislators and municipal officials.

Many are already busy trying to raise the $250,000 in small contributions needed to possibly qualify for public campaign financing. Some hope their ability to raise the funds quickly will help distinguish them from other candidates in the pack before next year's party conventions. The Republicans will endorse their gubernatorial candidate at the May 11-12 convention, while the Democrats will tap their candidate on May 18-19. Primaries could follow.

Griebel and Frank said they don't plan to seek public financing for their race, noting the state's continue budget woes.

But Republican Mark Lauretti, the mayor of Shelton, made it a point in October to announce he was the "fastest candidate from either party, who wasn't a sitting governor" to reach the $250,000 threshold in the history of the Citizens Election Program.

Despite that claim, the State Elections Enforcement Commission requires that candidates have to be on the ballot in order to qualify for public financing, which likely won't be approved until late May or June. SEEC needs to review all contributions.

The public financing account typically receives about $11 million annually from escheats, which is property such as old, unclaimed financial accounts that revert to state control. Qualified candidates for governor receive $1.25 million for a primary and $6 million for the general election.

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Election

List of Connecticut gubernatorial candidates keeps growing