Connecticut Democrat Susan Bysiewicz
On Tuesday, two of the leading Democratic candidates for governor of Connecticut struck a deal to join forces, with former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz dropping her own bid and agreeing to become businessman Ned Lamont’s running mate. Between Lamont’s personal wealth and growing list of endorsements, plus Bysiewicz’s position as the only woman in the race (EMILY’s List had previously endorsed her), this is now the ticket to beat at this weekend’s Democratic convention.
But there are no guarantees. For one, the positions of governor and lieutenant governor are nominated separately, and while Lamont is the heavy favorite to win the party’s endorsement (and thus a spot on the August primary ballot), the same may not be true of Bysiewicz. Two other Democrats have said they’re considering bids for lieutenant governor: labor organizer Eva Bermudez Zimmerman and state Sen. Gary Winfield. As Winfield notes, the Lamont-Bysiewicz team is all-white, whereas Winfield is black and Bermudez Zimmerman is Latina. If convention-goers are interested in a more diverse ticket, that could spell trouble for Bysiewicz.
And the convention is not the final word. Anyone who secures the support of 15 percent of delegates gets placed on the primary ballot, so it’s possible that multiple contenders could clear that threshold in both races. Yet even if that doesn’t happen, two other Democrats who are seeking the governorship, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim and businessman Guy Smith, are collecting petitions to run in the primary regardless of what goes down this weekend. (A fourth candidate, former state Veterans Affairs chief Sean Connolly, is only trying his hand at the convention.)
Still, even in a primary, Lamont would still be the frontrunner—though that was also true the last time he ran for governor. In 2010, every poll of the Democratic primary showed Lamont ahead, but he nevertheless lost decisively in an upset to Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, who’s now leaving office after two terms as governor. But back then, it was Malloy who earned the party endorsement, whereas now Lamont is the one with widespread support among insiders. Whether that’s enough to ensure he gets his new choice of running mate, we’ll soon see.