Figueroa drops out of governor race; cites difficulty raising money

Last week’s five-way race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination race is down to three with Friday’s withdrawal of Juan Figueroa.

Figueroa, who was trying to become the first Latino to hold statewide office in Connecticut, said he could not raise the money to compete with businessman Ned Lamont or Dan Malloy, the former Stamford mayor who can expect $1.25 million public financing the week after the May 22 nominating convention.

“The money is just an overwhelming problem,” said Figueroa, who was struggling to raise the $250,000 in small-dollar contributions to qualify for public financing. “I offer no excuses.”

The remaining Democrats in the race are Lamont, Malloy and Rudy Marconi, the first selectman of Ridgefield. Mary Glassman, the only woman in the race, dropped out Monday to become Lamont’s running mate.

Figueroa said he has had no conversations with Malloy about lieutenant governor.

“I haven’t talked to anyone,” he said.



Glassman and Figueroa before dropping out. (Mark Pazniokas)

Figueroa has no committed delegates to offer another candidate, as he was bypassing the Democratic nominating convention and planning to qualify for a primary by petitioning.

His withdrawal was prompted by finances, not a deal with any candidate, he said.

Malloy is the only candidate for governor to meet the threshold of $250,000 raised in contributions of no more than $100. Based on campaign finance reports, he may be the only one.

Figueroa, a former state legislator, was on leave as president of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut. He said he had no regrets.

“It was a fun ride. It felt great to be in a position to be part of the conversation,” he said.

Figueroa did not endorse anyone.

He is dropping out as a new Rasmussen poll shows Lamont and Malloy each leading in hypothetical match ups with Republicans Tom Foley and Lt. Gov. Michael C. Fedele.

Lamont is ahead of Foley, 42 percent to 35 percent, and Fedele, 48 percent to 28 percent.

Malloy is ahead of Foley, 38 percent to 35 percent, and Fedele, 44 percent to 27 percent.

Oz Griebel, a Hartford business leader, is trying to raise his profile with two endorsements: Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney, R-Fairfield, and Sen. Andrew Roraback, R-Goshen.

After the passage of the budget Wednesday night, Griebel issued a statement ignoring Gov. M. Jodi Rell and praising McKinney and House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk.

“For months, Republican leaders John McKinney and Larry Cafero have offered a fiscally conservative ‘Common Sense’ plan presenting reasonable solutions to privatize and consolidate government services. These suggestions fell on deaf ears and the Democrat-controlled legislature has failed to make the tough choices necessary to fix our long term structural deficits, instead mortgaging Connecticut’s financial future,” Griebel said.

Also in the race for the GOP nomination is Mark Boughton, the mayor of Danbury, former U.S. Rep. Larry DeNardis and Charles Duffy Acevedo.

Figueroa was one of six candidates who committed to attend a gubernatorial forum Monday that will focus on issues relating to economic security. The other five are Malloy, Marconi, Griebel, Acevedo and Tom Marsh, a Republican seeking the Independent Party nomination.

The forum, which will be moderated by John Dankosky of WNPR’s Where We Live, is at 6:30 p.m. at Manchester Community College. It is open to the public.