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Hartford — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Friday morning that he would be running for governor again with Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman as his running mate, setting up a potential rematch with Republican Tom Foley.
"Nancy and I have talked about the race and we both reached a mutual conclusion that we should go to the people of the state of Connecticut and ask them for their support to continue the work that we have been undertaking in the last 3.6 years," Malloy said.
Within minutes of his announcement, Malloy sent out an email requesting support with a subject line that read, "I'm in."
Malloy beat Foley in the 2010 election by one-half of one percentage point, and a March 6 Quinnipiac University poll showed them tied with 42 percent.
After weeks of saying he hadn't yet made up his mind, Malloy announced his candidacy at the end of a 15-minute press conference after the State Bond Commission allocated $445 million in bonds. A reporter asked him whether he was running for governor again based on his discussion on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" television program that morning in which he responded to re-election questions. Malloy delayed answering the question until the end of the press conference.
"I am announcing we intend to be around for a while," Malloy said.
Now that Malloy is formally in the race, he can start raising campaign funds and preparing for the 2014 Democratic State Convention in May. Candidates who are seeking public financing, as Malloy is, can raise a maximum of $250,000 in $100 donations from the public to qualify for $6 million in public financing for the gubernatorial general election.
"I am looking at some of the things other candidates are saying and I want to be able to hit the ground running when the session is over," Malloy said. "Raising campaign funds, getting all the ducks in a row, is going to take some amount of time, so I thought we should get the job going."
Ronald Schurin, political science associate professor at the University of Connecticut, said Malloy's announcement meant that he could "speak more clearly about political issues without seeming disingenuous."
Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said the announcement doesn't change the political game. "I don't think this affects voters."
Foley is one of six potential Republican candidates for governor, making a GOP primary likely.
"The most obvious variable is the Republican candidate," Schwartz said. "If it's Foley, it would be a very close race; it couldn't get any closer. … But you don't know how Foley will come out of the primary, how bruised he'll be."
Malloy came out ahead of four other Republican candidates in the latest Quinnipiac Poll, by 6 to 11 percentage points: Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, state Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield, and former West Hartford Town Councilor Joe Visconti.
Since that poll, Martha Dean, an Avon lawyer who has run for attorney general in the past, has announced she is also running for governor.
Jerry Labriola, Connecticut Republican Party chairman, said Malloy faces a difficult challenge on a record that includes "the largest tax hike in state history," spending increases and a stagnant economy.
"Voters know that Connecticut can't afford four more years of Dan Malloy," Labriola said in a press release.
Boughton said in a press release that Connecticut's economic performance is one of the worst in the country and that the status quo isn't working for Connecticut residents."Only Gov. Malloy and his cronies believe his leadership over the last four years has been a success," he said. "Everyone else knows he led us in the wrong direction."
McKinney said the governor's announcement was anti-climactic. "As governor," he added, "I will work to repeal the Malloy tax hike, reduce state borrowing and pay down state debt," he said. "Those are important steps toward improving our economy and creating the conditions for job growth in the state of Connecticut."
In the Quinnipiac poll, Malloy was found to have support with how he handled gun policy and repealing the death penalty. He scored negatively on the economy and jobs, taxes and the budget.
"The governor is going to have to do two things: one is define his opponent, which is a polite way of saying going on the attack, whether it's Foley or McKinney," said Schurin, the UConn professor. He added that Malloy will "have to tap into those areas" where voters think he has done a good job, particularly in the handling of the Newton tragedy and during severe weather events.
Malloy's announcement came one day after signing into law a minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour by 2017.
"The high bipartisan support among voters for increasing that wage will prove to be a hurdle for the Republican challenger," said Khalilah Brown-Dean, associate professor of political science at Quinnipiac University.
The upcoming race "promises to be one of the most expensive and competitive in recent state history," Brown-Dean said. "Both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee are actively working to capture state houses, shore up victories in the midterm congressional elections and prepare for the 2016 presidential campaign cycle."