New Haven – David A. Roche of Bristol, the president of the Connecticut State Building and Construction Trades Council, tearfully told the state AFL-CIO political convention Monday he is ending his state Senate campaign to work on saving his marriage.
His departure is a blow to Democrats’ hopes for picking up an open 31st Senate seat that’s been in Republican hands for only two terms. It is now held by Republican Jason Welch, who is not seeking re-election.
Roche apologized to delegates at the biennial political convention of the AFL-CIO, but he said his priority is his marriage.
“I blew it,” he said of his marriage. “I’m going to make it up.”
The delegates stood and applauded him.
Roche had posted on his Facebook page that he would be making a “major announcement.” His campaign web page was off line.
House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, an organizer with AFSCME Council 4, said he was unsure who would fill the vacancy, but he expected that Democrats would keep the race a priority.
“The district is a blue collar district,” he said.
The race was to be Roche’s second try for the seat, which had been held before Welch by a labor ally, Democrat Tom Colapietro.
In an interview, Roche said he and his wife of 33 years have been separated since he ran two years ago. In recent weeks, Roche said, he had realized that a second campaign was a mistake.
His wife was a bigger priority than the race said.
Roche acknowledged that his emotional withdrawal, cloaked in a plea for his wife’s understanding, was not the typical union-hall speech.
“I’m a building trades guy. That’s not easy to say,” Roche said. “My new campaign is to win my wife’s love back.”