Erin Stewart ended her bid for governor Friday morning just about four months after she launched her campaign.
There is some awkwardness with the timing, too, because about three weeks ago she introduced a running mate to join her on the campaign trail.
While there is probably some level of disappointment for Stewart, the three-term Republican mayor of New Britain, there is surely excitement with the prospects of her landing on the top of the ballot as someone’s running mate for Lieutenant Governor.
Stewart is the most intriguing young Republican in Connecticut. She’s a woman running one of Connecticut’s larger cities as a Republican where Democrats far outnumber her own party.
At the age of 31, Stewart has made progress in a political career that many politicians would envy.
The prospect of becoming Lieutenant Governor is something Stewart has brushed off in the past. She’s been asked about joining a ticket by at least four different Republican campaigns for governor.
When asked about whether she would be interested in running for lieutenant governor back in January, she did not close the door on a run for the second spot on the ticket. She said at the time, "I would find me being in that position hard to believe but I will be giving it my all.”
There are some party mechanics that could very easily lead to a primary for the spot on the November ballot, but Stewart would have a slight advantage over her counterparts.
Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson and Southington State Senator Joe Markley are the other two candidates for the office. Stevenson is a seasoned professional in local government running the affluent town in Fairfield County, while Markley is a veteran of state politics serving as one of the most conservative members of the Connecticut Senate.
Both would be respectable choices for the second highest office in Connecticut, but Stewart brings a different appeal.
With Stewart, the Republicans would have someone who could go into the state’s largest cities like Hartford, Bridgeport, and New Haven and work to provide the same appeal that has worked for her in New Britain. That could provide a major advantage for a GOP ticket that will likely have an older white male on the ticket.
Delegates will gather at Foxwoods Friday night to decide who will receive the Republican Party’s nominations, and they now have a new option to join the top of the ticket.
Stewart could broaden the base of Republicans by reaching out to groups of people where so statewide Republicans have failed over the past decade, and that draw could very well land her name on the top line in August.