Political newcomer Matthew Oakes, an East Hartford Democrat who’s been trying to petition his way onto the Democratic primary ballot for U.S. Senate, said at Saturday’s Democratic State Convention he may soon abandon that bid.

Oakes, who already has collected about 9,000 of the roughly 14,600 signatures he needs, said he would decide shortly after the convention whether to continue, or to support U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5th District.

“Chris and I hit it off very well and he is more in line with the people I have talked to,” Oakes said, adding that he won’t support Murphy’s chief rival, former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.

Oakes said he particularly was disappointed with Bysiewicz, a Middletown Democrat, during 2010, when she switched from campaigning for governor to attorney general — and wouldn’t rule out — if elected AG — running for U.S. Senate during her first term. “I have some issues with Susan,” Oakes said. “It comes off as running for power” rather than to serve the public.

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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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