Conn. Gov. Malloy to run for reelection

Conn. Gov. Malloy to run for reelection

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Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (official portrait from CT.gov) Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (official portrait from CT.gov)

By SUSAN HAIGH | AP

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Friday he will seek a second term, formally entering a contest that already has several Republican candidates challenging the Democrat's handling of taxes and the economy.

Malloy's campaign opened with a fundraising email signed by "Dan," the nickname Malloy used when he ran in 2010. As governor, he prefers to be called Dannel.

While Malloy was expected to run again, his announcement came as somewhat of a surprise because he has previously said wouldn't reveal his decision until lawmakers adjourned their session on May 7. Malloy, 58, said some of the criticism he's heard from his Republican competitors prompted Friday's announcement.

"I'm looking at some of the things that other candidates are saying and I want to be ready to hit the ground in May when the session is over," he said at a news conference that's traditionally held after the monthly State Bond Commission meeting. "So raising campaign funds and getting everything, all the ducks in a row, is going to take some amount of time and so I thought we should get the job going."

The state Republican Party seized on the return of Malloy's nickname in a message on Twitter: "We don't need a new name, we need a new governor."

Several Republicans have already announced their intentions to challenge Malloy. The list includes Malloy's 2010 foe, Greenwich businessman Tom Foley; Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton; Senate Minority Leader John McKinney; Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti; Avon Attorney Martha Dean; and former West Hartford Town Councilman Joe Visconti.

Republican Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. predicted Malloy will have a difficult challenge winning another term, given the state of Connecticut's economy.

"Unfortunately for the governor, the numbers don't lie: Connecticut's economy is among the worst in the nation, our unemployment rate remains significantly higher than the national average, and hundreds of thousands of Connecticut families are struggling to make ends meet," Labriola said. "Under Gov. Malloy, we have gone in the wrong direction. As many states are enjoying real economic recovery, Connecticut continues to lag far behind."

Malloy contends the state is on the right path economically, and he takes credit for fixing some of his predecessors' mistakes.

In a Quinnipiac University survey of 1,878 registered voters conducted between Feb. 26 and March 2, 48 percent said they approve of the job Malloy is doing as governor while 45 percent disapprove. When asked if Malloy should be re-elected, 45 percent said yes while 46 percent said no. Meanwhile, 60 percent of registered voters said Malloy has strong leadership qualities, while 35 percent disagreed. The survey had a sampling error margin of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

The governor said Friday he intends to participate again in the state's public campaign finance system. He must raise $250,000 in contributions of $100 or less in order to qualify. Ultimately, he can receive at least $1.25 million for a primary and $6 million for the general election.

Malloy does face a potential primary challenge. Lee Whitnum, a former U.S. Senate and House candidate from Greenwich, recently announced on her website that she planned to seek the Democratic party's endorsement at the May 16 state convention.

Malloy's announcement came a day after he signed legislation increasing Connecticut's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2017. Connecticut became the first state to pass legislation that sets the minimum wage at the same rate President Barack Obama wants for the federal minimum wage.

Malloy mentioned the minimum wage in his fundraising email, as well as efforts to address Connecticut's budget problems, saying, "we've made a lot of progress since 2011, but I'm not satisfied. We have more work to do."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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