Rudy Marconi ended his campaign for governor today by endorsing one of the two remaining contenders for the Democratic nomination, Ned Lamont.

With a week before the Democratic nomination convention, Marconi’s withdrawal completes the rapid transformation of a five-candidate field into a two-man race between Lamont and Dan Malloy.

Juan Figueroa dropped out for money reasons. Mary Glassman left to become Lamont’s running mate. Now Marconi, who never broke out of the second tier of candidates, makes his exit.

Marconi, the first selectman of Ridgefield, made a restoration of highway tolls part of the gubernatorial debate, arguing that gateway tolls on the state borders employing “EZ Pass” technology, could raise revenue without impeding traffic.

“I want everyone to know that while my campaign for governor is at its end, I have only just begun to fight for a better future for Connecticut,” Marconi said in a statement distributed by the Lamont campaign. “We have some challenging days ahead of us, but I believe that with hard work and the right leadership, they can also be great days. That’s why I support Ned Lamont and Mary Glassman. I’ve spent a lot of time with Ned and Mary on the campaign trail, and both of them have impressed me with their experience, their bright ideas and their grasp of the issues that face our towns and our state.”

Marconi was strong backer of preserving the public financing program for campaigns.

“Public campaign finance must live. The Connecticut Citizens’ Election Program, the nation’s most progressive, is in jeopardy,” Marconi said on his web site. “If our legislators don’t act to save it, we’ll go back to the days of special interests, millionaires and “Corrupticut.”

Lamont, an independently wealthy businessman, also has pledged to preserve the program, but he has opted out of the voluntary Citizens’ Election Program and is expected to self-finance a major portion of his campaign.

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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