Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano discussing GOP budget proposals in May. Kyle Constable / file photo
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano discussing GOP budget proposals in May. Kyle Constable / file photo

Senate Republican leader Len Fasano of North Haven said Wednesday he will not join the crowded field of Republicans in the open race for governor in 2018, simplifying life at the Capitol should his House GOP counterpart decide to run.

Fasano, 59, a lawyer elected to the state Senate in 2002, publicized his decision in a press release after informing members of the Senate GOP caucus Tuesday night.

“My original intention was to wait until the state budget was resolved to make a decision about running for governor. But as the budget process has persisted, and it does not seem likely that a vote will take place before the end of the month, I knew it was time to choose my path and let others know where I stand,” Fasano said. “It is only fair to the other hard-working candidates, delegates, the party and the public to be upfront so that others can make important decisions to move the election process forward.”

Fasano’s decision defuses a potential awkward conflict with House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, should she decide to enter the race. Having the leaders of two GOP caucuses in competition for a gubernatorial nomination would have complicated life at the Capitol in the 2018 legislative session.

His statement indicated he would seek another term in 2018: “Connecticut is ready to overcome our challenges and ready to change.  I look forward to ushering in that change.”

Seven Republicans already have raised significant funds for potential gubernatorial campaigns in 2018. Four are declared candidates and three have exploratory committees.

Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, R-Glastonbury, an allergist first elected to the General Assembly in 2010, is the leader in fundraising. He reported raising $205,000 by the end of June, his campaign says it recently passed  $250,000, the threshold for qualifying for public financing.

The other declared candidates to raise at least $70,000 are Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and former Comptroller General Dave Walker. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Steve Obsitnik and Peter Lumaj have exploratory committees.

The Democratic Governors Association paid Fasano a back-handed compliment in a statement deriding the field: “Fasano would have been a stronger candidate than the field of GOP B-teamers that currently includes Mark Lauretti, David Walker, and Tim Herbst, who all lost their respective statewide bids in 2014.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the first Democrat to win a gubernatorial race in Connecticut since 1986, is not seeking a third term. His narrow victories in 2010 and 2014 reinforce the GOP’s belief it can compete in an open race, despite the Democratic advantage in voter registration.

Fundraising for Governor
*Tim Herbst also raised and spent money through an exploratory committee, which he closed last month to become a declared candidate. Dan Drew and Dave Walker opened  candidate committees since filing their last reports.
Politician Party Status Raised in Q2 Cash on Hand Total Raised Money Spent Launch Date
Peter Lumaj Republican exploratory $74,425 $125,614 $281,130 $155,515 Sept. 6, 2016
Mark Boughton Republican exploratory $70,990 $84,299.00 $162,151 $77,872 Nov. 22, 2016
Prasad Srinivasan Republican candidate $66,367  $178,854 $205,311 $26,457 Dec. 16, 2016
Tim Herbst * Republican candidate $92,972 $80,909 $92,972*
($148,590 through both committees.)
$12,062 Jan. 11, 2017/ June 8, 2017
Dan Drew* Democrat exploratory $71,006  $26,393 $177,133 $150,740 Jan. 12, 2017
Steve Obsitnik Republican exploratory $92,840  $109,984 $201,567 $92,671 Jan. 13, 2017
Mark Lauretti Republican candidate $145,090 $101,622 $145,090 $43,467 Apr. 5, 2017
David Walker* Republican exploratory $72,156 $46,411 $72,156 $25,744 Apr. 10, 2017
Chris Mattei Democrat exploratory $118,343 $54,037 $118,343 $64,306 Apr. 18, 2017
Jonathan Harris Democrat exploratory $88,957 $46,925 $88,957 $42,031 Apr. 18, 2017
Joe Visconti Republican candidate $2,150 $497 $2,150 $1,652 Apr. 19, 2017
Kevin Lembo Democrat exploratory $143,701 $78,583 $143,701 $66,438 Apr. 27, 2017
Joe Ganim Democrat exploratory $36,165 $33,085 $36,165 $3,080 Apr. 28, 2017
State Elections Enforcement Commission

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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