Lumaj an early entrant in 2014 race for GOP underticket

Peter Lumaj, a businessman who enjoyed making waves last year as he ran a longshot race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, declared his candidacy Monday for the 2014 contest for secretary of the state.

Lumaj, an Albanian immigrant who described himself as the only across-the-board conservative in the Senate race, dismissed the eventual GOP nominee, Linda McMahon, as “an empty suit” and former Congressman Chris Shays as a closet Democrat and “opportunist” who left the state after his defeat.

While calling McMahon unelectable, he endorsed her after the primary.

He weighed in on the presidential race, accusing President Obama of making “anti-Christian tirades” in an essay on his campaign web site under the headline, “Christians should not vote for Obama.”

The secretary of the state is the state’s top elections official and also oversees business registrations. Other than the one term of Pauline Kezer from 1991 to 1995, a Republican has not won the office since 1954.

The incumbent is Democrat Denise Merrill, the former House majority leader.