Patty McQueen

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen endorsed businessman and former U.S. Senate candidate Edward “Ned” Lamont SOM ’80 for governor last Monday in one of the race’s most high-profile endorsements to date.

Lamont burst onto the political scene in 2006 when he ran on his opposition to the Iraq War and defeated incumbent U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., in the Democratic primary election. Ultimately, though, he lost the general election to Lieberman, who ran as an independent candidate.

Lamont also challenged Gov. Dannel Malloy for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2010. Last year, Malloy announced that he would not seek a third term, igniting the gubernatorial race. Currently, 29 candidates have officially registered to run for governor.

“Of all the Democratic candidates, Ned is the only one who can win the November general election,” Jepsen said in a March 26 press release. “Ned carries a real understanding of the policy issues facing our state; he is thoughtful, practical and brings a diversity of public and private sector experience to the table.”

Lamont is currently the chairman and founder of Lamont Digital Systems, which provides satellite-delivered cable television and telecommunication services to colleges and universities. He also teaches political science and philosophy at Central Connecticut State University.

In an interview with the News, Lamont said Jepsen was an extraordinary attorney general and a great friend, so “his endorsement meant an awful lot.”

Besides Lamont, seven other registered candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination. They include Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, who spent seven years in prison on public corruption charges, former Commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Veterans Affairs Sean Connolly and former state senator Jonathan Harris. Former Secretary of the State of Connecticut Susan Bysiewicz ’83, and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin ’01 LAW ’06 are also exploring runs for governor.

Ward 1 Alder Hacibey Catalbasoglu ’19 said that Jepsen’s endorsement was significant because the attorney general is a prominent Democratic figure in the state and his support could push undecided delegates to back a candidate in the Democratic convention come May. Still, Catalbasoglu said he has yet to make a decision.

“We’re so early in the nomination process,” he said. “There are way too many candidates for me to confidently throw my support behind a single candidate.”

Lamont is running on a platform that includes measures such as ensuring a $15 minimum wage, creating jobs for Connecticut and creating safer conditions through gun control legislation.

“No more of the same old,” Lamont said. “[We need] to make young people stay in Connecticut.”

Most of the candidates have a similar message that focuses on revitalizing Connecticut’s economy, growing jobs and balancing the state budget. In recent years, the state has dealt with chronic budgetary problems, and it now faces a projected $240 million deficit for the current fiscal year.

The primary elections will be held on Aug. 14, while the general election will take place on Nov. 6.

Le Vi Pham | levi.pham@yale.edu