Newington mayor bows out of governor’s race, will run for treasurer

Newington Mayor Jeffrey Wright ended his bid for the Republican gubernatorial nomination this afternoon, adding he will endorse the early GOP frontrunner, Greenwich businessman Thomas Foley, in the next few days.

Wright, 38, who has been mayor since 2007, also announced he still wants to be on the GOP’s ticket this fall, and will launch a campaign for state treasurer later this week or early next.

“It’s obviously a very crowded field,” Wright said, referring to the six remaining Republican gubernatorial contenders. Besides Foley, that field includes: Lt. Gov. Michael C. Fedele of Stamford, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, business leader Oz Griebel of Simsbury,  Chester First Selectman Tom Marsh, former Congressman Larry DeNardis of Hamden and Christopher Duffy Acevedo of Branford.

“We all have a very similar message,” Wright said, adding that Foley “has the financial resources to best bring his message to the people. And I believe he would make an excellent governor.”

Wright now hopes to unseat incumbent Democrat Denise L. Nappier of Hartford, who has been Connecticut’s treasurer since January 1999. Though Nappier has been quiet about her campaign plans, State Elections Enforcement Commission records show she formed a candidate committee on Feb. 18. A second Republican, Andrew G. White of Ridgefield, also has filed candidacy papers to run for treasurer.

Connecticut already boasts one of the highest levels of bonded debt, per capita, in the nation, and Wright, a certified financial planner with a practice in Newington, said this debt, and the dangerous lack of funds supporting the state employee pension plan, are problems likely to worsen as state government grapples with huge budget deficits. “I believe as treasurer I can have a huge impact on slowing down the borrowing,” he said.