Joe Visconti ended his campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination Friday and opened a petition drive to get on the November ballot as an independent candidate.
Visconti, who failed to qualify for the GOP primary at the state party's convention last month, was short of the 8,190 signatures required to win a place on the Republican primary ballot in August. The deadline to file the signatures is 4 p.m. June 10.
"We were getting close, but it was getting more difficult," said Visconti, a former town council member in West Hartford who has run been running as an opponent of gun control.
Republicans still face a three-way primary between the convention-endorsed candidate, Tom Foley, and two others who qualified by winning at least 15 percent of the convention vote: Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney.
To get on the November ballot, Visconti needs 7,500 signatures by Aug. 6. Jonathan Pelto, a former Democratic state legislator, also is petitioning for a place on the November ballot as an independent.
“I wouldn’t be in the race if I thought Tom could actually pull this off,” Visconti said last month as he gathered signatures outside a gun store.