MASHANTUCKET – Following hours of voting, three ballots cast and some last-minute confusion, the Connecticut Republican Party endorsed Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton as its candidate for governor.
“First of all, I’m grateful to be alive,” Boughton said as he began his acceptance speech.
Boughton had a seizure during a campaign event in March. Now, the nine-term Mayor of Danbury is his party’s nominee.
At Foxwoods Resort Casino for its two-day, 2018 convention, the Connecticut GOP picked Boughton over seven others; Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti; state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan from Glastonbury; former First Selectman of Trumbull Tim Herbst; former U.S. Comptroller Dave Walker; Stamford’s Director of Administration Mike Handler; Fairfield Attorney Peter Lumaj; and Westport businessman Steve Obsitnik.
Handler and Srinivasan didn’t receive the 8 percent of votes required on the first ballot to move onto the second ballot. During the second ballot, Lumaj, Lauretti and Walker did not receive 15 percent of the vote needed to qualify for the third ballot.
After Boughton crossed the 50 percent threshold during the third ballot, which also featured Herbst and Obsitnik, it was unclear through a voice vote whether or not a majority of delegates supported closing the ballot. After some discussion between party leadership, the ballot was closed and Boughton was officially endorsed.
Herbst and Obsitnik received more than 15 percent of the votes on the final ballot, so both qualified for the Aug. 14 primary election. Both said they would challenge Boughton in the primary.
“Whether you voted for me or not, I’m going to earn your vote come August and work as hard as I can every day,” Boughton said. “Let’s be honest – the moment is now, the time is now for Republican leadership and Republican ideas and values to make this state the place that all of us remember it being.”
Six of New Britain’s delegates voted for Boughton, two for Lumaj, one for Herbst and one for Srinivasan on the first ballot. On the second and third ballots, all ten delegates voted for Boughton.
“After the second ballot, we were united,” said New Britain Republican Town Committee Chairman Tony Cane, explaining the city’s delegation breakdown.
For lieutenant governor, the CT GOP endorsed Southington state Sen. Joe Markley.
“We have a team here as Republicans and we have an obligation to save the state of Connecticut,” Markley said during his acceptance speech. “I will work day and night, for that end, from now until 8 p.m. on election night. Let’s get this done together.”
New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson and First Selectman of Columbia Steve Everett were also seeking the lieutenant governor endorsement. Stewart and Stevenson each received more than 15 percent of the votes on the final ballot, so they can primary. Stewart assured reporters she would indeed challenge Markley in a primary election.
“You’ve got to think about who is going to balance the Republican Party in November, and I don’t know that Joe is that person,” Stewart said. “I certainly don’t know that if we have two men on the ticket it’s going to be a good thing for the party so I think that the voters are going to have a great decision to make.”
All ten New Britain delegates voted for Stewart.
To kick off Saturday’s festivities, the Connecticut GOP endorsed Kurt Miller, First Selectman of Seymour, for comptroller over Litchfield’s Mark Greenberg. All ten New Britain delegates voted for Miller on the first and only ballot.
The GOP’s delegates next voted for treasurer, a race between state Sen. Art Linares of Westbrook and Lakeville’s Thad Gray. After 1,100 votes were cast, Gray had a 562 to 548 lead over Linares, narrowly winning him the party’s endorsement. Nine of New Britain’s delegates voted for Linares and one for Gray on the race’s second and final ballot.
Both Greenberg and Linares received enough delegate support to qualify for their respective primaries, should they so choose.
On Friday, the party endorsed Pomfret nurse and attorney Susan Hatfield for attorney general and former New Fairfield First Selectman Susan Chapman for secretary of the state.
Former state Rep. John Shaban of Redding received enough delegate support to challenge Hatfield in the primary election.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.