Kevin Lembo, the state health care advocate, today entered the race to succeed his former boss, Comptroller Nancy S. Wyman.

As expected, Lembo immediately ceased his campaign for lieutenant governor once Wyman agreed to become Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy’s running mate.

Kevin Lembo

Kevin Lembo talks to press today. (Pazniokas)

He brings an immediate advantage to the late-starting race: Lembo has spent the past five months talking to potential delegates to next week’s nominating convention.

“Since December, I have spent almost every evening and weekend traveling the state and talking with voters about the need for greater efficiency and accountability in our state government – offering concrete ideas about the changes needed to make Connecticut a stronger state,” Lembo said in a message to supporters today. “With your support, I will work tirelessly with our new Governor to put us on-track to recovery and long-term prosperity.”

He said he had sufficient delegate support to qualify for a primary for lieutenant governor, support he hopes will follow him into his new race.

In an exploratory committee, Lembo had raised about half the $75,000 in small-dollar contributions he needs to qualify for $375,000 in public financing for a comptroller’s race. The money is transferrable to a candidate committee for comptroller.

Lembo, 46, of Guilford ran the policy section of the comptroller’s office for six years before becoming the state health care advocate.

“There is no learning curve for me as state comptroller, no on-the-job training that we cannot afford,” he said. “I am ready to begin to work on day one to tackle the complex issues that face our state and restore confidence in our government’s ability to get the job done.”

Rep. Thomas Reynolds, D-Ledyard, is announcing his candidacy for comptroller at 5 p.m. Thursday in front of Norwich City Hall.

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.

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