News that Republican Chris Coutu is forgoing a run for Congress in favor of a seat in the state Senate has set off a scramble in the 2nd Congressional District among some Republicans, who are reportedly reconsidering their political options less than a week before the state party convention.
“I’ve received calls from two candidates who were evaluating their options after the withdrawal of Rep. Coutu,” state Republican party Chairman Jerry Labriola said Saturday. “We had discussions. I’m not sure what the outcome will be.”
Coutu, a state representative from Norwich, said last week he was abandoning his run for Congress and would instead run for the state Senate after Democrat Edith Prague announced her retirement.
There is already another Republican running for the 2nd District seat — Madison businesswoman Daria Novak. Reached Saturday afternoon, Novak said her campaign is doing “extremely well” and that she expects to receive the party endorsement at the convention on Friday.
“We have strong support,” Novak said. “There is no other announced Republican in the race.”
But that could change in the next few days: sources said two Republicans, East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica and Doug Dubitsky, a lawyer and farmer from eastern Connecticut who ran for the seat in 2010, are contemplating a run for the 2nd District seat, currently held by Democrat Joe Courtney.
UPDATE: After this item was posted, I received a press release from Formica, affirming that he is getting into the race. “It’s time we look at where we are as a country and take immediate action to guarantee that the ‘American Dream’ will be available for every generation of future Americans. We need to be able to leave our kids a truly ‘United’ States of America that is safe and financially secure,” he said in the release.
Formica, whois also a small business owner, plans to make a formal announcement on Tuesday during stops in East Lyme, Colchester, Enfield and Vernon.
Labriola said any Republican from the 2nd District has the right to enter the race, but, he added, “we have a good candidate, Daria Novak, still remaining in the race.”
Labriola has pledged to be a “fair and honest” broker, saying as party chairman he would not take sides in internal Republican contests.
“It remains to be determined whether any one of those prospective candidates will enter the race in light of change of circumstances” following Coutu’s withdrawal, the chairman said.
But, he added: “When there’s an opening in politics, its not unusual that people would take a look at it.”