Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti says he’s thinking about throwing his hat into the already crowded ring for the Republican nomination for governor–but right now he’s still focused on keeping the job he’s had for more than 20 years.
At least one outlet has reported that he is definitely in the race, but Lauretti said in a phone interview Monday night that he’s still trying to gauge his popularity outside of the Naugatuck Valley and win another term as mayor, which would last until 2015.
Lauretti’s bid for governor in 2010 was sandbagged by the trial of a local developer who said he had bribed Lauretti to win support for his projects. A jury convicted the developer, but deadlocked on that bribery charge. Lauretti himself did not face any charges in the investigation and maintained that he had done nothing wrong.
On Monday, he said he wasn’t worried about Republican foes bringing up the scandal in a future campaign, saying that candidates face constant scrutiny from opponents, the media and investigators.
“Doesn’t anybody in my position go through this?” he asked. “We had a trial, we had witnesses, we had a verdict. People are going to say whatever they have to say, that’s politics, but at the end of the day, it won’t carry water.”
If he does go for the GOP nod, he could face a few prominent challengers, including the 2010 nominee, businessman Mark Foley, who was running neck-and-neck with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in last week’s Quinnipiac Poll. House Minority Leader Larry Cafero is also expected to announce whether he’ll join the race by the end of the month.
Lauretti said that if he does try to win his party’s backing, his focus would be on cutting taxes as a way of attracting businesses and young people to the state.
“All the things that come with our quality of life, all that revolves around money,” he said. “If you don’t have your financial health, you can’t help anybody.”