Key Republican Won't Run for Governor as an Upstart Surges

Republican State Senate Leader Len Fasano announced Wednesday morning that he will not run for the state’s highest office.

Fasano said the decision not to run came after discussions with his family.

"When you talk about family, no one is a solo actor," Fasano, the top Republican in the evenly divided state senate, said. "They've got other people that depend upon you and you've got to make a family decision and it wasn't in the best interests of my family that I pursue the next step up, running for governor."

Fasano said he received encouragement from other Senate Republicans and influential members of the GOP around the state but eventually decided against a campaign for governor.

"I think I've worked hard and I don't want to disappoint but like I said, family comes first and that's what I'm going to put first," he said.

One candidate that has surged from unknown status to a possible fundraising juggernaut is Prasad Srinivasan, a Republican state representative from Glastonbury.

When he announced his candidacy last year, many in political circles either rolled their eyes or were asking who Srinivasan was.

Srinivasan, an allergist of Indian descent, announced late Tuesday that his campaign has raised $250,000 in donations of less than $100, meaning he would be the first candidate from either party to qualify for a $1.4 million grant from the Citizens Election Program (CEP).

The CEP is a state taxpayer funded campaign funding mechanism designed to force candidates to solicit small amounts of money, with the intention of blocking state contractor, lobbyist, and other outside funds from influencing both statewide and General Assembly elections.

"The money that goes into it will be for the campaign that takes us to the convention, that takes us to the primary and we're going to use it as we need to do it to use it efficiently to make it work for the campaign," Srinivasan said during an interview Wednesday.

The CEP issued grant isn’t guaranteed. All applications are reviewed by the State Elections Enforcement Commission, and there is doubt over whether the money will even be available given the state’s budget crisis. Without a budget, and with sagging state revenues, it is not yet clear whether there will be the tens of millions needed to satisfy candidates that qualify for grants.

Srinivasan said he will keep campaigning and raising money even with that certainty.

He also said such a milestone at such an early stage, 15 months before any votes are cast and nearly a year before candidates are selected, could give him a boost heading into the Fall.

 "Am I getting name recognition? Yes. Am I the frontrunner? I don't know and then you guys are going to decide who the front runner is going to be and I hope I am. I feel I am the frontrunner," Srinivasan said.

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