Somers to run alone for lieutenant governor

Groton Town Councilor Heather Bond Somers decided to go it alone in the likely lieutenant governor primary and abandoned the proposed Boughton-Somers ticket, leaving her former running mate, gubernatorial candidate Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, to come up with a new strategy.

Republican gubernatorial candidates filed paperwork on Thursday, which made a primary against endorsed Republican candidate Tom Foley in August official.

“Obviously we are disappointed; we clearly have been working together since the first day of the campaign,” Boughton said over the phone on Thursday. “One only has to look at her campaign finance filings to see how many Danbury voters directed money there. She made her decision; we anticipated this might happen and are already pursuing an alternative scenario.”

Boughton was expecting to use his and Somers’ combined fundraising totals to qualify for public financing. His own fundraising as of today falls short of what he would eventually need to be eligible for the public money.

Somers released a written statement Thursday afternoon that said she would enter the primary for lieutenant governor and file for public financing on her own.

“My decision to pursue a primary for the office of lieutenant governor on my own is a reflection of my support at the State Republican Convention at which I won nearly one-third of the delegate votes,” Somers said. “Those votes represented a broad cross section of supporters from all of the respective candidates for Governor.”

Somers entered the race with Boughton on Jan. 28, and on Wednesday Somers said she hadn’t decided how she would proceed. Boughton told the Connecticut Post earlier this week that he expected she would keep her agreement.

On Wednesday, Foley said someone who didn’t get an agreement as “consequential” as combining finances in writing was “pretty naïve.”

“So if there is nothing in writing, I think a reasonable person would conclude there was no agreement between them on a financial combination,” Foley said.

Boughton said this wasn’t the type of agreement that went in writing.

“Did Al Gore put it in writing to Clinton?” Boughton said. “When I ran with Mike Fedele, did I put it in writing? — I shook his hand. In our business, in the political business, your word is your honor. ... If you have to put something in writing with someone, then clearly you don’t have the trust with them.”

In 2010, Boughton was Republican gubernatorial candidate and former Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele’s running mate. Boughton was endorsed by the Republican delegates for lieutenant governor and won the Republican primary while Fedele lost the endorsement and the primary to Foley.

Even though Fedele didn’t get the endorsement, “I kept my word,” Boughton said.

“I looked him in the eye and said let’s do this; it’s not the kind of thing you put in writing,” he added.

He said people could judge the situation for themselves.

Boughton said Somers had sent him a letter a while ago that said she wrote to her donors to ask them to consider donating to their team.

“So when you look at the history, the evidence, there is an arrangement there,” he said.

According to campaign filings, dozens of Danbury residents donated to Somers’ campaign, including Boughton, who contributed the day after they made the announcement to run together. The following day, Jan. 30, Somers donated to Boughton’s campaign. About six Groton residents have donated to his campaign, according to documents.

On Thursday, Somers said, “I have great respect for Mark Boughton, Tom Foley, John McKinney, Joe Visconti and Mark Lauretti. Any of them would be a better governor than Dan Malloy. As such, I feel it best to forge my own path in the primary to serve as lieutenant governor.”

As of April 10, she had raised $56,760 and needs $75,000 to qualify for $406,275 in the primary. At that time Boughton had raised $121,089 and needs to raise $250,000 from contributions of $100 or less in order to qualify for $1.4 million for the primary and $6 million for the general election.

He said his funds have grown to between $170,000 to $175,000 as of now and that he has a plan going forward that will be made known in the next day or two.

A new variable in the race as of Thursday is that former gubernatorial candidate and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, who didn’t get 15 percent of delegate votes at the convention, has taken out primary petitions from the Office of the Secretary of State for the lieutenant governor primary. He had previously taken out primary petitions for the gubernatorial race but has since withdrawn. To get onto the primary ballot for lieutenant governor, he has to obtain no fewer than 8,190 registered Republicans’ signatures by 4 p.m. on June 10, according to Av Harris, spokesman for the Office of the Secretary of the State.

State Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, R-Stafford Springs, won the endorsement for lieutenant governor with 51 percent of the vote.

As of Thursday, Somers — who came in second at the convention with 32 percent of the vote — and former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker — whom state Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield, had chosen as his running mate — had not filed primary paperwork. They have 14 days from the close of the convention to file.

However, Somers said on Thursday she has decided to enter the primary.

Boughton and McKinney, the gubernatorial candidates who collected 15 percent of delegate votes, filed paperwork Thursday to enter the primary.

“I promise to wage an aggressive but positive primary campaign that focuses on why I can beat Dannel Malloy,” McKinney said. “I want to move Connecticut forward with a message of change and effective leadership.”

Former West Hartford Town Councilor Joe Visconti has taken out primary petitions to run for governor in the primary. He did not collect 15 percent of delegates’ votes at the convention. He must also collect 8,190 signatures from registered Republicans.

Somers said that she was grateful for support from delegates, donors and volunteers.

“In three short months we were able to surge into contention, and I look forward to helping our federal, statewide and legislative candidates achieve victory this year in order to get Connecticut out of the economic mess that Dan Malloy has created,” she said.

j.somers@theday.com

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