Former state Rep. Lenny T. Winkler of Groton jumped into the race for lieutenant governor this morning at the Republican State Convention, saying she was asked to do so by gubernatorial contender Tom Foley.

The front-runner among GOP gubernatorial candidates in the last Quinnipiac poll, Foley had surprised some political observers by coming into this weekend’s Republican State Convention without having endorsed a running mate.

“I was asked (by Foley) to throw my hat in the ring,” said Winkler, who served 19 years in the General Assembly from 1988 through 2006.

“I’ve encouraged her” to run, Foley said, adding he would love to have Winkler as a running mate. “She has an outstanding record. She’s served the state well.”

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Former state Rep. Lenny Winker, seen conferring Friday with gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, says she’s running for lieutenant governor at Foley’s request. (Keith M. Phaneuf)

“I do believe we need somebody from the 2nd Congressional District, Winkler added, noting there are no other Republican candidates for state constitutional offices from the eastern half of the state.

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Keith M. PhaneufState Budget Reporter

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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