Scott Bates of Stonington decides not to run for governor

Scott Bates at his home in Stonington on March 2, 2012. (Tim Cook/The Day)
Scott Bates at his home in Stonington on March 2, 2012. (Tim Cook/The Day)

Stonington — Democrat Scott Bates, who chairs the Connecticut Port Authority and serves as deputy secretary of the state, has announced he will not seek his party’s nomination to run for governor next year.

In April, Bates said he was considering seeking the nomination after being approached by a group of municipal leaders from southeastern Connecticut who asked him to run following Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s announcement that he would not seek a third term.

If he had been elected, Bates would have become the first southeastern Connecticut resident to serve as governor since Thomas M. Waller of New London from 1883 to 1885. It likely would have given the region, which often feels ignored by state government, a much stronger voice in Hartford.

Municipal leaders such as former Groton City Mayor Marian Galbraith, Stonington Selectwoman Kate Rotella and Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder all spoke in support of Bates’ bid when it was announced.

Bates said he loved traveling across the state meeting people over the past six weeks, but he learned that in order to mount a successful campaign, he would have to be on the road every day for the next 18 months.

Doing so would mean “not being able to make a difference in the jobs where I know I can make a difference,” he said.

And after 10 years of traveling to the Mideast and Washington, D.C., for his previous positions, he said he enjoys being home in the borough at night with his wife and son.

Bates said he was overwhelmed by the support from friends, neighbors and others who offered to help with all aspects of a campaign.

“It is humbling to know that people believe in me,” he said. “But the choice was clear.”

In an op-ed piece published in The Day on Sunday, Bates wrote, that since being asked to run he has “spent time traveling across the state, listening to a lot of people and thinking about how Connecticut can meet the challenges that face us today and in the years ahead.”

He said the state must invest in workforce development; rebuild its ports, airports and railways and increase affordable housing, all of which will require bipartisan cooperation.

“For my part, I’ve thought long and hard about how I can best help, and I keep coming back to thoughts of my father. He believed in doing your duty, and never doing a job halfway. With that in mind, I need to carry out the duties of my role as Deputy Secretary of the State and do all I can as chairman of the Connecticut Port Authority to help build the infrastructure that creates jobs and economic growth. I can’t do either job right from the campaign trail running for governor,” he wrote.

Bates, a native of Stonington, has worked on issues ranging from homeland security and terrorism on the federal level to chairing the town’s Board of Police Commissioners.

Bates, who served as Virginia’s secretary of the commonwealth in 1993, chairs the Stonington Democratic Town Committee and also has served on the borough Board of Warden and Burgesses.

Bates has helped build democratic institutions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia and Haiti. After Sept. 11, 2001, he worked as the first senior policy adviser to the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee and was the principal author of “Winning the War on Terror,” which helped inform the 9/11 Commission as it developed its report. He also worked on national security issues as president of the Center for National Policy, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

j.wojtas@theday.com 

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