New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, not quite three months into her bid for the state’s highest office, announced Tuesday she had selected Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei as her running mate to serve as Lieutenant Governor.
The pick is far from a sure thing, as delegates will convene at their convention next month at Foxwoods to make formal party supported nominations for all statewide offices.
“He is going to be a true partner in this endeavor that we are signing on for fixing our state,” Stewart said of Tesei during a press conference in front of the State Capitol.
Tesei has spent just about his entire adult life involved in Greenwich politics. He won a set on the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting at the age of 18, and has spent the past decade as the town’s First Selectman.
Up until November 2017, the RTM as it is known, had been in Republican control going back decades, but a rush of Democratic support flipped control.
Tesei said he had not previously considered running for Lieutenant Governor, but described how the circumstances of this election and joining forces with Stewart convinced him it was a good idea.
“While we have a very talented field of people, I think ultimately it’s a mathematical equation in how you can put forward the best team that’s experienced,” Tesei said. Westport businessman Steve Obsitnik had previously received Tesei’s endorsement for governor last year. Obsitnik released a statement later Tuesday saying he still has strong support among Greenwich Republicans.
Stewart has trailed her competitors in fundraising. She said it’s had to do with her short time in the race, pointing out that she’s raised money at a high rate since February. The move to bring Tesei on to her campaign could lead to more campaign contributions from a part of the state where Stewart has little name recognition.
Adding Tesei, she said, shows she is an electable Republican who close to the political center, since her views on collective bargaining and abortion do not align with most other GOP candidates for the office.
“I think the center is where I’m at, maybe a little bit right of it,” Stewart said. “The center I think is where Peter is at. But I think that’s where most of the residents of the state of Connecticut are and at the end of the day, that’s what matters most.”
The Republican convention will be held the weekend of May 11 and 12, where GOP delegates will make their selections for endorsements and who will receive access to the August Primary Ballot. Stewart would need to receive 15 percent of all delegates in order to have a spot on the ballot.