Democrat Ned Lamont will run for governor with Susan Bysiewicz as his running mate, sources said Monday.
Bysiewicz, a Middletown Democrat and the former three-term secretary of the state, will abandon her campaign for governor and focus on the state’s No. 2 job. An announcement is expected Tuesday.
Joe Fox, a senior adviser to Bysiewicz, declined to comment Monday.
The news of the two one-time rivals forming a ticket stands in contrast to the disharmony on the Republican side, where at least six candidates will compete in a gubernatorial primary. The top two vote-getters at last week’s Republican state convention — Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst — have already been trading barbs.
Democrats will gather for their state convention in Hartford this weekend to nominate candidates for the party’s endorsement. Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim is collecting signatures to try to qualify for a primary to challenge Lamont for the party’s nomination if he fails win the support of the required 15 percent of convention delegates.
Sean Connolly of Hebron, the former state veterans affairs commissioner, is also campaigning for the endorsement. Guy Smith, a Greenwich business executive and former adviser to Bill Clinton, is collecting signatures to petition his way onto the primary ballot.
“There’s a lot of stuff that’s still wide open especially on the under-ticket, but at the top of the ticket, things have been falling into line and coming together cohesively for several weeks now,’’ said Attorney General George Jepsen, who has endorsed Lamont.
Jepsen added: “I hope we’re boring compared to the Republicans.”
Lamont, who lost to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2010, has emerged as a front-runner among Democrats. His campaign has been steadily picking up endorsements from Democrats, including New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary and State Rep. Matt Ritter of Hartford, the majority leader in the House of Representatives. He was the overwhelming favorite in a straw poll last month at the Connecticut AFL-CIO's political convention.
A Greenwich resident, Lamont, 64, is the founder of Lamont Digital Systems, a company that provides telecommunications services to college campuses.
Bysiewicz’s departure from the gubernatorial field — which had swelled to include more than two dozen contenders — leaves both major parties without a woman at the top of the ticket. New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, who was pursuing the Republican gubernatorial nomination, switched to a run for lieutenant governor on the opening day of the Republican convention.
Two other Democrats had been considering a run for lieutenant governor — New Haven state Sen. Gary Winfield and Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, a former member of the Newtown Legislative Council.
Winfield said he needs to have a discussion with his wife before deciding whether to make a run. But an all-white gubernatorial ticket could hurt Democrats’ chances to hold on to the governor’s office, he said.
“There’s been a lot of conversation around diversity this year,’’ said Winfield, who is African-American. The Lamont-Bysiewicz ticket “hits the female part but not the racial component.’’
Winfield said he has heard concerns from residents of New Haven and other cities about the lack of diversity and fears it could result in a lack of enthusiasm for Democrats in November.
Bysiewicz, a Yale-educated attorney, was considered the Democratic front-runner for governor in 2010 but she opted instead to run for attorney general. Her plans were derailed when the state Supreme Court ruled she did not meet the requirements to hold the job.
In 2012, Bysiewicz ran for U.S. Senate, but lost the Democratic primary to Chris Murphy.
After originally planning a return to Connecticut’s political scene with a run for state Senate, Bysiewicz shifted her focus to the governor’s race, forming an exploratory committee in February and formally declaring her candidacy in April.