Gov. Dannel Malloy announced this afternoon that he will not seek a third term as the state’s governor, leaving the field open for a host of contenders to replace him next November.
“I’ve obviously had to consider what the future might look like for myself and my family, for the Democratic Party, and for our great state,” Malloy said at a press conference.
His decision came in the midst of yet another budget battle – something he cited in his remarks.
“It’s been said by some that if I were interested in a third term, I might’ve put forward a different looking budget,” he said. “I’m not sure I agree with that, but I take it as a compliment. My proposed budget was built with Connecticut’s best interest in mind, regardless of political consequence for me, or anyone else. And I intend to make the core principles of that budget a reality in the coming months.”
Earlier this month, Malloy was ranked the third least-popular governor in the country; recent polls had his approval rating at 29 percent and a disapproval rating of 66 percent, ahead of just Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback with a 27 percent approval rating and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – both Republicans – with a 25 percent approval rating.
“Throughout our work, we’ve tried to play the long game for Connecticut, not doing what is politically expedient, but rather what we believe is in the best interests of the people we serve today, and for generations still to come,” Malloy said.
While trumpeting some of his accomplishments – including the addition of more than 74,000 private sector jobs since 2010, and the current unemployment of 4.7 percent, its lowest level since 2007 – Malloy said that “now, a little past the midway point in my second term, I’ve obviously had to consider what the future might look like for myself and my family, for the Democratic Party, and for our great state.”
Going forward, he said, “I will focus all my attention and energy – I will use all of my political capital from now through the end of 2018 – to continue implementing my administration’s vision for a more sustainable and vibrant Connecticut economy.”
“The decision I have announced today will allow me to focus on these areas fully – not just for the remainder of this session, but for the next 20 months,” he added. “In the remainder of my term, my team and I will continue to play the long-game. We’ll keep fighting for what we believe is in the best interest of Connecticut residents now, and in the future.”
Malloy singled out Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman – a possible contender next year – in his remarks, saying, “I’ve made a habit of saying that she is the best lieutenant governor in the United States, and I have meant it every single time.”
“Plain and simple, our party and our state are better off today for Dan Malloy being our governor,” said state Democratic Party Chair Nick Balletto. “He proved yet again this afternoon what he’s always been: a leader willing to make the hard choices necessary for the long-term interests of our state and to secure a sustainable future for our residents and our businesses, regardless of the political calculus.”
Among Republicans planning to run in 2018 are Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, State Sen. Tony Hwang and former U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker, now a senior strategic adviser at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Another Republican, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, is also a possibility.