Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy formally announced his plans not to run in the 2018 election at a news conference Thursday afternoon at the state Capitol.
“Serving as Connecticut’s 88th governor is the honor of a lifetime, second only to being a father and a husband,” said Malloy. “And it will continue to be an honor to work as hard as I can. I will give you one guarantee: no governor’s ever going to outwork me.”
The Democrat narrowly won election in 2010 against Republican businessman Tom Foley of Greenwich, and he won a second term in 2014 after a rematch with Foley.
Malloy, a former 14-year mayor of Stamford, is currently the chair of the Democratic Governors Association and he was a major surrogate for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race.
Much of Malloy's tenure as governor has been marked by budget struggles. Malloy and lawmakers are currently negotiating the state's next two-year budget with a looming deficit of more than $1 billion. His proposal has been met with criticism on both sides of the aisle.
“My proposed budget was built with Connecticut’s best interests in mind, regardless of political consequences for me or for anyone else. And I intend to make the core principles of that budget a reality in the coming months,” Malloy said. “For that reason today I announce that I will not seek a third term as governor.”
Malloy said he will use his political capital to get his budget passed, which he says is a reflection of his administration's view of a more vibrant Connecticut.
“It means creating a fair and more equitable system for town aid. A system that includes a more sensible and equitable ECS formula. And a system that responsibly shares the obligations of teachers’ retirement just as every other state does,” Malloy said. “It also means maintaining our commitment to better and more sustainable budget practices. We will not rely on gimmicks or one-time fixes. We will not push off debts that should be responsibly paid now. And we will not borrow to save ourselves from difficult but necessary reductions in spending.”
Malloy has had one of the lower approval ratings in the country in recent months. It hit an all time low at 24 percent last June, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. A Morning Consult poll has his approval rating at 29 percent as of early April.
Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano released a statement thanking Malloy for his years of service to the state of Connecticut, including his leadership following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December of 2012.
“While we may not always see eye to eye, I respect him greatly for his tireless work ethic and dedication to Connecticut. Governor Malloy has led our state during some of its most difficult times and enormous economic challenges. He has governed when our communities had to rebuild following devastating storms and when we all had to heal following unspeakable tragedy. I thank the Governor for his service and look forward to continuing to work with him through the remainder of his term.”
Malloy's announcement comes as a growing list of potential Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates has been forming.
On the Republican side, the list of declared candidates includes Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and State Rep. Prasad Srinivasan.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, State Senator Tony Hwang, attorney Peter Lumaj, and businessman Steve Obsitnik are among the candidates who have formed exploratory committees for a possible gubernatorial campaign.
On the Democratic side, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew has expressed interest, along with Branford businesswoman Jacey Wyatt, the state's first transgender candidate for governor.