September 19, 2017

Hedge fund manager could throw hat in ring in CT governor's race

[This story has been updated.]

Hedge fund manager David Stemerman is exploring a run for Connecticut's top political post under the Republican Party banner, according to multiple published reports and a letter he sent to investors in his firm.

Stemerman, 48, founder of Greenwich hedge fund Conatus Capital Management, is closing that fund to pursue a political run for governor, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported late Tuesday.

In the letter to investors obtained by the Hartford Business Journal, Stemerman said he would continue as portfolio manager and head of Conatus through the end of the year as he evaluates a run for governor and forms a candidate committee to launch a campaign. He also plans to seed a new fund and maintain a passive financial stake in it, he said.

In the letter, Stemerman calls himself a political "outsider with a fresh perspective."

"Connecticut -- home to my family and business -- is in crisis," he wrote. "I believe that too many of our leaders to not understand the challenges we face, nor do they have a strategy for the path forward…. I do not claim to have all of the answers, but … I believe that I can bring a different approach to finding solutions."

Stemerman could not be reached for further comment. A woman who answered the phone at Conatus referred all questions to Conatus management, who could not immediately be reached for comment.

No one could be reached at Connecticut Republican Party headquarters.

Patrick O'Neill, Republican caucus spokesman and press secretary, could not confirm Stemerman's plans.

Asked whether House Republican leader Themis Klarides is still planning a run for governor, as she has indicated she might, O'Neill said she hasn't made any decision as yet because she's still waiting until legislative business on the state budget is complete.

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