Shawn Wooden, a Democrat who has emerged as the strongest opponent to Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra in the upcoming mayoral election, will drop out of the race and instead support Segarra, sources said today.
Wooden will hold a press conference at 4:30 p.m. on the front steps of city hall to announce his support of Segarra.
Sources also say Wooden is planning to run for city council instead, possibly with a focus on running for council president.
Phil Sherwood, Segarra's campaign manager, confirmed the press conference and said Segarra and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy would also attend.
Sources have said Malloy would also announce support for Segarra.
Malloy met with Segarra and Wooden recently to discuss the mayoral primary.
"The governor brought both sides together to find a way to avoid a contentious primary," a source close Wooden's campaign said Thursday. "There was a concern that a divisive primary would be bad for the city. The idea was to work out a situation where Hartford would get the leadership of both men."
Edwin Vargas, another Democratic mayoral contender, responded to the announcement with this statement:
"I am surprised and confused by the recent development of Shawn Wooden dropping out of the Mayoral race. This news reeks of the back room political deals Hartford residents are sick of. Hartford deserves better. The question is why would a candidate who's raised vast sums of money to the degree Wooden has inexplicably drop out?
When Shawn Wooden began his campaign, we both shared many of the same ideals for how to turn Hartford around for its people. I welcome and will work hard for the support of those who previously supported Shawn Wooden in the race. Hartford deserves a Mayor for us. That's what our campaign is about. Not politics as usual. This race is about the people of the city of Hartford and I look forward to a continued debate on the issues with Mayor Segarra."
Update: Press release on this afternoon's press conference------>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAJOR CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCEMENT
HARTFORD, CT (June 30, 2011) - Please join Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and candidate Shawn T. Wooden for an important announcement regarding the upcoming mayoral election.