Ted Kennedy, Jr., Rejects Calls to Run for Governor
By Daniela Altimari
There will be no Camelot in Connecticut in 2018: Ted Kennedy Jr. declared Monday that he is not running for governor.
"I will not be a candidate for statewide office in 2018," said Kennedy, a Democratic state senator from Branford. "I am deeply grateful to everyone who has contacted me and encouraged me to run."
The possibility of a Kennedy in the race had tantalized some Democratic insiders. Having the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy and the son of former U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts on the gubernatorial ballot would have brought star power and national attention to what is already expected to be a hotly contested race. The respected Cook Political Report lists the race as a toss-up, making it among the nation's most competitive contests.
But Kennedy said he plans to seek a third term in the Connecticut Senate instead. "I value the contribution I am able to make as the state senator for the 12th District. I believe that if we put aside our partisan politics and find common ground, we can overcome our challenges and move Connecticut forward," he said in a statement issued Monday. "I remain committed to making our state a better place to live, do business and raise a family."
Kennedy, who lost a leg after a childhood cancer diagnosis, has been an outspoken advocate for people with disabilities and a high-profile critic of Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Kennedy's decision to forgo a gubernatorial run still leaves a crowded field of candidates from both parties. The list of declared candidates on the Republican side includes Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, U.S. Army veteran Micah Welintukonis of Coventry, Joe Visconti of West Hartford, Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, and state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan of Glastonbury. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, attorney Peter Lumaj and businessman Steve Obsitnik are among the candidates who have formed exploratory committees.
On the Democratic side, state Comptroller Kevin Lembo, former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and former West Hartford Mayor Jonathan Harris have launched exploratory campaigns. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election.
State Republican Chairman J.R. Romano said Kennedy's announcement leaves a Democratic field dominated by back-benchers. "He was their biggest name," Romano said. "The path the Democrat party has taken in Connecticut has been a disaster and voters will hold them accountable. Ted Kennedy sees that and he doesn't want to take that chance."
With Kennedy out of the race, Democrats are now waiting to see what Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman will do. She has not announced whether she will run for governor in 2018.
(c)2017 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)