Figueroa to go from ‘explorer’ to candidate

Democrat Juan Figueroa said Sunday he will end his exploratory campaign and become a declared candidate for governor by the end of the month.

“I feel good about what we have been able to put together,” said Figueroa, who intends to bypass the Democratic convention and qualify for a primary by petitioning.

Figueroa said he will file papers creating a candidate committee before April 27, when he can begin gathering signatures to qualify for the primary ballot.

Figueroa, a former state legislator on leave as president of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, would join Ned Lamont and Dannel P. Malloy as declared Democrats.

Simsbury First Selectwoman Mary Glassman and Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi also have exploratory committees, but the Connecticut Post reported over the weekend that Marconi will end his campaign today. Marconi could not be reached.

Figueroa is the only candidate in either party who has decided to skip the nominating convention and utilize the state’s direct primary law.

Candidates can qualify for a primary by winning 15 percent of the convention vote or by gathering signatures from 2 percent of party members.

“I had to test the waters,” Figueroa said. “I am comfortable we can do it.”