Rep. Cameron C. Staples, D-New Haven, withdrew today from the race for attorney general, leaving a two-way fight between Susan Bysiewicz and George Jepsen for the Democratic nomination.

Staples, the co-chair of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee, said he will not be seeking re-election to the General Assembly, ending an 18-year legislative career.

He said he has no plans to seek another office this year, including the office of comptroller being vacated by Nancy Wyman’s decision to run for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Dan Malloy.

“The comptroller’s job is a great job, but it is not my ambition,” Staples said. “I’m looking forward to just returning to my law practice and being a private citizen.”

Staples said he would confident he could have won votes from 15 percent of the delegates at the Democratic state convention, the minimum necessary to qualify for a primary. He was less confident of what would follow.

“At the end of the day, you make an assessment of what your prospects are winning a three-way primary,” he said. “I’ve determined it’s not in the cards for me this year.”

Staples has endorsed no one in the race for governor, but he praised Malloy’s selection of Wyman.

“I’m excited for Nancy. Nancy is one of my dearest friends in general, not just in politics,” he said. “She is making a decision that is good for the party and good for the ticket. Clearly this is not as much a shoo in as her run for re-election probably would have been.”

Jepsen, the former Senate majority leader and former Democratic state chairman, is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of Staples’ withdrawal.

“It’s a rapidly changing environment, and there will be some more twists in the road on the way to the convention,” Jepsen said. “I think it will be a close convention.”

But Bysiewicz said she believed that she will pick up delegate support in Hamden and New Haven that had been committed to Staples.

“I think I will be benefitting from Cam’s decision,” he said.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

Leave a comment