Among establishment Democratic candidates running for governor, Ned Lamont and Susan Bysiewicz appeared to have the edge since their respective campaigns started last year.
Lamont, a businessman from Greenwich, has been gaining momentum among Democrats for the past month, while Bysiewicz has slowly seen her chances fade for the state’s highest office.
On Tuesday morning, the two announced they would become partners as they attempt to keep the Connecticut Governor’s Office in blue hands.
“It’s time for us to get together as a party and time for Democrats to win,” Lamont said during the event in New Haven.
The merger was discussed during a meeting Saturday, where one source with knowledge of the meeting told NBC Connecticut, “neither side knew what the outcome would be.”
By Monday afternoon, two days after Republicans emerged with three guaranteed candidates on the August primary ballot and four more possible, Bysiewiecz decided ending her campaign was the best path forward toward a victory in November.
“We just saw their very divisive convention and we’re going into our convention united and we’ll be stronger together,” Bysiewicz said.
Party unity is being touted with this move, but the reality is more complicated.
State Senator Gary Winfield, (D – New Haven), said the news of the possible team of Lamont and Bysiewicz caught him by surprise.
“I’m not overly excited as a Democrat about the ticket,” he said.
Winfield was considering a run for Lieutenant Governor over the past week and said he still needs to have more discussions with his family.
He said he is not so certain that two white people at the top of the Democratic ticket will make waves with the diverse sections of the party, especially in the state’s large cities where they provide an advantage Republicans can’t replicate.
“The party relies on those people on issues, to get them over the hurdle, to win elections. I think that’s important to consider,” Winfield said. “Those people want to see from time to time, I think this year was one of those years, that reflected in the ticket what they see in their communities.”
Lamont made a pledge which acts as a promise to historically Democratic supporters that acts as a sort of challenge to whomever the Republican nominee may be.
“Our administration will be the most diverse administration in Connecticut history and it’s not a political calculation. You’ve got to make sure you have a government that reflects the people of the state,” Lamont said.