By Jeff Cohen
Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, who has been a front runner in the race for governor, changed course Wednesday and announced her intention to run for attorney general. WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports.
With recent decisions by U S Senator Christopher Dodd, Governor Jodi Rell, and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to leave their elected seats, Bysiewicz sees her chance. "It is my intention to continue to serve and advocate for the people of Connecticut as your next attorney general."
Bysiewicz – the daughter of a lawyer and a potato farmer– told supporters at Middletown’s city hall Wednesday that she was a born advocate, dropping Blumenthal’s name several times over the course of her thirty minute press conference. Then, she answered the big question before reporters had a chance to ask it.
"'Susan, we thought you were exploring a run for governor.' Indeed I was, until things changed a week ago."
Bysiewicz says Blumenthal’s decision to run for Dodd’s seat created an opportunity for her to better serve the state. She also had some concerns about the state of Connecticut's public financing system, as she looked to enter a governor's race with deep-pocketed candidates. But, she also says her decision had nothing to do with the prospect of dealing with a troubled state budget as governor.
"My husband is fond of saying that there was political constipation in Connecticut for quite some time. Unbelievably, these two opportunities presented themselves at the same time."
George Jepsen says its Bysiewicz's opportunism that bothers him. Jepsen, former state senate majority leader and former state party chairman, is also running as a Democrat for attorney general. He says Bysiewicz has made it known that she is interested in a United States senate seat and fears her campaigning could get in the way of her service. If elected, Jepsen pledged to serve a full term – a pledge Bysiewicz wouldn’t match.
"The people of Connecticut will be choosing between somebody who is clearly qualified and 100 percent committed, and somebody who has significantly lesser qualifications and would be, in effect, a part-time attorney general."
Both candidates say they expect to file their formal paperwork with the state shortly.
For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.