- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Groton Town Councilor Heather Somers announced Thursday she now plans to run for lieutenant governor on her own and won’t pool her campaign funds with her one-time running mate, Republican gubernatorial candidate and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.

Somers said she respects Boughton and the other Republican candidates for governor, but felt it was best “to forge my own path in the primary to serve as lieutenant governor.”

It’s unclear how much of a financial blow this means for Boughton, who needs to raise $250,000 in small contributions in order to qualify for $1.25 million in public financing for the primary and $6 million for the general election, should he win the primary. Boughton had planned to use Somer’s campaign funds to help meet the $250,000 threshold.

“That was our original agreement. We’re disappointed in what has happened, but we recognized that this was a possibility and so we’ve got an alternative strategy,” said Heath Fahle, a Boughton campaign spokesman who declined to elaborate.

In Connecticut, candidates for lieutenant governor run separately from gubernatorial candidates during the convention and primary process, but run on a single line for the general election.

Boughton and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, submitted paperwork on Thursday to run in the Aug. 12 gubernatorial primary. Each secured enough support at Saturday’s GOP convention to challenge the party’s endorsed candidate, Greenwich businessman Tom Foley.

Democrats last week nominated Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to seek a second term.

While state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi won the Republican Party’s endorsement for lieutenant governor on Saturday, both Somers and former U.S. Comptroller David Walker, who has teamed up with McKinney, received enough delegate support to qualify for the primary. Walker has said he also will run.

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti denied an assertion from the Secretary of the State’s Office that he had withdrawn his petitions for the gubernatorial primary and is collecting petitions for the lieutenant governor’s. He has until June 10 at 4 p.m. to collect signatures of at least 8,190 registered Republicans for either primary.

Also, the Secretary of the State’s Office said Republican contractor Joe Visconti, of West Hartford, took out primary petitions on Thursday to run for governor.

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