Category Archives: Heather Somers

GOP’s Mark Lauretti Fails To Get Signatures For Lt. Governor

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, Heather Somers, Mark Boughton Date:

It’s official.

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. Continue reading

Political Irony: As Boughton Drops Out, Somers Qualifies for Public Money

by Categorized: Heather Somers, Mark Boughton, Mark Lauretti, Tom Foley Date:

Adding insult to injury. Salt in the wound. Either cliche would fit for Wednesday’s announcement by Heather Somers that she’d qualified for public financing in the GOP lieutenant governor’s campaign.

Her little victory just happened to come on the same day that Mark Boughton halted his campaign to take the Republican gubernatorial nomination away from the convention-endorsed candidate, Tom Foley.

Somers, once upon a time, was Boughton’s running mate. Then she decided to split and run on her own, leaving Boughton hurting in his bid to qualify for public campaign financing. Without Somers, Boughton tried to link up with Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti to reach the $250,000 contribution threshold need to qualify for public primary financing.

Boughton decided Wednesday he wasn’t going to make it, suspended his campaign and called on Republicans to unite behind Foley.

Somers said she’s raised the approximately $80,000 she needed to qualify for public money in the lieutenant governor’s race, which means she’ll get $800,000 in taxpayer dollars for her campaign.

Mark Boughton Suspends Campaign, Calls for GOP to Unite Behind Foley

by Categorized: Heather Somers, Mark Boughton, Mark Lauretti, Tom Foley Date:

Hobbled by a lack of money, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton suspended his campaign on Wednesday and is calling for Republicans to coalesce behind Tom Foley and his running mate, Penny Bacchiochi.

“It’s been my honor to seek Connecticut’s highest statewide office,” Boughton said in an email to supporters. “However, I now believe it is time to suspend my candidacy and call for party unity behind the endorsed Republican candidate, Tom Foley.”

Boughton announced he will close out his campaign committee in the coming weeks and release the committee’s staff to work on other campaigns.

“Obviously when something doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to, you feel disappointed,” Boughton said in an interview shortly after his announcement. “You can’t look at what was, you can only look at what the future will bring.”

Boughton’s departure from the race leaves the Republican primary field with two candidates: Foley and state Sen. John McKinney. The primary will be held on Aug. 12.

“I welcome a two-person race for the Republican nomination for governor,” McKinney said. “This will provide Republican primary voters a clear choice on the issues. The next Governor will have to close an almost $3 billion deficit. Mr. Foley and I could not be more clearly different in our approach too it.”

Connecticut Republican party Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said Boughton’s withdrawal brings the party “one step closer to party unity in the race for governor.” He praised Boughton as “an extremely talented candidate and a dedicated public servant.”

Boughton, a 50-year-old former teacher, cast himself as a plain-spoken, can-do mayor, a blue collar Republican who identified himself as “pro life” and took a hardline stance on undocumented immigrants.

Personable and popular, he was also known for his adept use of social media, including a folksy Twitter feed that riffed on everything from policy issues to rap lyrics to mini-reviews of “The Walking Dead.”

But Boughton experienced a series of stumbles and setbacks in the early months of the 2014 campaign cycle. He languished in second place in public opinion polls; a May 9 Quinnipiac University poll put him at 9 percent, to Foley’s 39 percent.

Boughton drew criticism from gun rights groups for his support of tougher gun control laws. But earlier this year, he publicly severed his ties with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, drawing scorn from gun control activists, including family members of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

But ultimately, it was lackluster fundraising that hurt his chances the most. Boughton, who lacks Foley’s personal wealth, said Wednesday he had raised about $175,000, a sum that falls far short of the $250,000 he would have needed to qualify for the state’s public campaign financing program.

To bridge the fundraising gap, Boughton forged an alliance with former Groton Mayor Heather Bond Somers. Under a state Supreme Court ruling in 2010, running mates can combine their money in order to reach the threshold for public financing, and Boughton hoped she would bring geographic balance and gender diversity, in addition to campaign cash.

But shortly after the Republican convention, Somers ditched Boughton and announced she was striking out on her own, a move that blindsided the Danbury mayor.

“Look, I’m a little old school,” Boughton said Wednesday. “When I give my word, I stick to my word…that’s just something I’ve done in for 25 years.”

Boughton’s next move was to team up with Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti in a push to reach that all-important $250,000 threshold. But Lauretti had not yet collected all the signatures he needed to secure a place on the Republican primary ballot. Boughton said he believes the petition drive will ultimately wind up 500 to 1,000 signatures short of the 8,190 needed to qualify.

While Boughton is suspending his campaign, he left the door ever so slightly ajar should the signature effort prove successful.

“If a miracle happens and we get the signatures,” Boughton said, “I’ll turn the lights back on.”

 

 

Heather Somers Opts to Fly Solo

by Categorized: Heather Somers, Mark Boughton Date:

Back in January, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Boughton picked former Groton Mayor Heather Somers as his running mate in a quest to bring geographic balance, gender diversity and money to his campaign.

“With Mayor Somers as my running mate, we will change Connecticut’s state government and make our top priority jobs, jobs, jobs,” Boughton said at the time.

somers

On Thursday, Somers announced she was striking out alone.

“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,” she said in a press release Thursday. “Those votes represented a broad cross section of supporters from all of the respective candidates for Governor.”

Boughton campaign spokesman Heath Fahle expressed disappointment at Somers’ announcement.

“We had an agreement to team up on the financial side and that seems to have been broken today,” Fahle said. “We’re disappointed but were moving forward.”

Boughton is former teacher who lacks the personal wealth that several of the other GOP candidates have. From the start, his arrangement with Somers was fueled by fundraising needs. Under a state Supreme Court ruling in 2010, running mates can combine their money in order to reach the threshold for public financing. “We picked a very clear path on how to get to our qualifying amount,” Boughton said recently.

Boughton had been counting on Somers to help him reach $250,000 benchmark to qualify under the public financing system. Now, the campaign is reassessing its options, Fahle said.

“We’re moving forward with an alternative strategy,” Fahle said. he declined to provide details. “As soon as we’ve got something ready to go public, we’ll make that annoucement,” he said.

Somers said Thursday that she has “great respect” for Boughton, the mayor of Danbury, as well as the other potential GOP candidates in the race: businessman Tom Foley, state Sen. John McKinney, West Hartford councilman Joe Visconti and Shelton Mayor 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,” added Somers, who currently serves on the Groton town council.

In addition to Somers, former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker and state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi are also running lieutenant governor.