Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti has failed to get the required signatures to be a candidate for lieutenant governor, according to the Secretary of the State’s office.
Lauretti needed nearly 8,200 signatures to qualify for a spot in the August 12 Republican primary. The battle will now be a two-way race for governor and a three-way race for lieutenant governor.
Lauretti, who has been Shelton’s mayor for more than 20 years, had been running on a ticket with Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. Boughton had been expected to be a formidable opponent by many political insiders, but he dropped out of the race last week.
Once Boughton dropped out, many Republicans believed that was because Lauretti could not obtain the necessary signatures. That word became official Tuesday afternoon with the ruling by Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.
Lauretti needed 8,190 signatures, but he obtained only 6,723 signatures that were officially accepted.
The battle for lieutenant governor will be a three-way race between state Rep. Lisa Marie “Penny” Bacchiochi of Stafford Springs, former Groton mayor Heather Bond Somers, and former Comptroller General of the United States Dave Walker of Bridgeport. Walker is running on a ticket with gubernatorial candidate John McKinney of Fairfield, who is running in a two-way race against Greenwich business executive Tom Foley.
McKinney and Walker announced Tuesday night that they have merged their campaigns and are applying jointly for public financing on Wednesday. They could be approved as soon as July 10 – one month before the primary.
Lauretti said he was unaware of the Secretary of the State’s ruling until contacted by a Courant reporter just before 3:30 p.m.
He blamed his failure to meet the threshold on a late start.
“There were a lot of obstacles to overcome, the biggest one being time,” he said. “We had 18 days to do it, so I think it’s a pretty good showing.”
“Am I disappointed? Yes,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I got started late.”
Lauretti said he raised money from more than 1,900 individual donors. “I’ve got a pretty good base of support,” he said. “Look at the number of donors I got. Look at the number of contributors I got. … There’s obviously some support out there for Mark Lauretti.”
Lauretti said he plans to play a role in the 2014 campaign, even though he won’t be on the ballot.
“I’m 24 years into my political life, and I think my record speaks for itself,” he said. “I don’t intend to go away any time soon. I’m going to support somebody, there’s no question about that.”
But asked what his immediate plans are, Lauretti said: “I plan to go fishing.”