NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart announced on Sunday that she would not be running for governor of Connecticut in 2022. The Republican cited her obligations to her city and her young family as her current priorities.
Stewart mounted campaigns for governor, and then lieutenant governor, in 2018, but did not get her party's nomination. She has been mentioned repeatedly as a possible candidate in 2022. Stewart said she has gotten plenty of encouragement in recent months, and “I have spent the past year giving it the most serious consideration.”
“There is no question that the State of Connecticut could benefit from new ideas and a fresh perspective - but, a successful gubernatorial campaign means making it a full-time job, and I have to be honest with myself and with the public about my priorities and what is most important to me at this time.
Stewart gave birth to a baby girl last summer, and says she and her husband have been struggling to balance their work and family lives. "The families of all who serve in public office make sacrifices of time and privacy, but forcing marriage and motherhood into a secondary role is not a sacrifice that I’m willing to make at this time."
She also said her obligations as mayor, particularly during the ongoing pandemic, would not allow her to mount a campaign. "Though we’ve taken steps to mitigate many of the negative impacts and have placed New Britain in a prime position for a fast and fierce recovery, there has never been a more critical time to have an experienced Mayor steering the ship."
Stewart has already said she will seek a fifth term as mayor this November. But she made it plain she has loftier ambitions.
“In my heart I know that my passion for public service and love of Connecticut will lead me to set my sights on higher office in the future, but now is not that time. Right now, my focus will continue to be on my family and my City. For those reasons, the best reasons, I will not be a candidate for Governor in 2022.”
No other Republicans have officially announced that they will run for governor in 2022, but former GOP legislative leader Themis Klarides, and 2018 candidate businessman Bob Stefanowski are widely expected to enter the race. Klarides has formed a political action committee to fund Republican candidates and causes, and Stefanowski has stayed in the public eye with frequent commentaries on Connecticut politics.
Governor Ned Lamont has not yet said if he will seek a second term.