The Connecticut gubernatorial race is packed with candidates on both sides of the aisle — but as of Monday afternoon, that pool includes one fewer Yalie.
Hartford mayor Luke Bronin ’01 LAW ’06 announced he is dropping out of the governor’s race on Monday, saying he wants to focus on his work as mayor rather than running a gubernatorial campaign. Bronin first launched an exploratory campaign for governor last December, traversing the state to talk to voters and gather support.
In late February, he came to Yale and urged voters to “keep this state blue.” But in a press conference on Monday, Bronin said he decided to drop out of the race because he does not want to “politicize” the progress Hartford has made in tough fiscal times. Democratic businessman Ned Lamont SOM ’80, Republican candidate David Stemerman ’90 and Susan Bysiewicz ’83, the Democratic former secretary of state for Connecticut, are the only Yale alumni remaining in the race.
“I believe deeply that a strong, vibrant capital city is vital to the strength of our state as a whole,” Bronin said in a Monday press conference. “I want to be able to make that case as strongly and as effectively as I can, and it is more effective to make that case when you are not a candidate.”
Although Bronin said he is on track to raise enough money — roughly $230,000 in four months — to qualify for publicly financed campaign funds, he said his commitment to Hartford has stayed at the “forefront of my mind.”
Bronin, a 38-year-old Navy veteran and Rhodes Scholar who has been the Hartford mayor since 2016, worked as a senior official for the Obama administration’s Department of the Treasury and as a legal advisor to Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Asked why he launched an exploratory campaign, Bronin told the News in late February that the upcoming election marks “a critical time for our country, and I think all of us have to ask ourselves where we think we can have the biggest impact.”
Hartford has recently faced major criticism after receiving a massive bailout in state aid, while state aid for many other municipalities — including New Haven — was cut. The current plan says the state will cover $550 million of Hartford’s debt over the next few decades. With interest, that amounts to roughly $750 million.
Mayor Toni Harp and Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim have openly criticized the bailout as unfair to other cities.
Bronin acknowledged the criticism in his announcement and said he did not want people to take “shots at Hartford” in order to take shots at him.
In a statement to the News, Democratic State Party Chair Nick Balletto praised Bronin as “invaluable” to the state and the Democratic Party.
“These are difficult decisions, and I deeply respect how he approached this decision to terminate his exploratory committee, weighing his responsibilities within the City of Hartford and across our Party and across the state,” Balletto said.
The Republican Governor’s Association responded to Bronin’s decision by speculating about whom Malloy will now decide to endorse. Many believed he would endorse Bronin, given the pair’s history together.
“As committed supporters of Malloy and his anti-jobs agenda, Ned Lamont, Susan Bysiewicz and Jonathan Harris all make compelling cases to become Malloy’s standard bearer,” the statement said.
The Connecticut primary will take place on August 14.
Ashna Gupta | email@example.com
Correction, April 21: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article said Susan Bysiewicz ’83 was the only Yalie left in the gubernatorial race. In fact, David Stemerman ’90 and Ned Lamont SOM ’80 are also still in the running.