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Where there is smoke there is a “good cigar”

May 2, 2018 GMT

You can tell the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination is getting heated, when text messages are being floated as evidence of animus.

Such was the text that Tim Herbst sent the other day, suggesting that he would like to put out a cigar in the eye of competitor Mark Lauretti, the Shelton mayor among the 12 GOP hopefuls heading into the May 18 convention.

“Sometimes you say things in jest and sometimes say things to blow off steam,” Herbst, the former Trumbullo first selectman, said Wednesday morning, describing the text as a leak from another “desperate” Republican’s campaign, pulling “banter back-and-forth” and a joke out of context. “I have had the occasion to have a cigar with Mayor Lauretti,” Herbst said. “There was nothing serious in this. I have no ill will toward Mayor Lauretti. I respect him as a person. I know he’s working hard and I’m working hard.” He suggested that the two politicians may eventually find themselves together in a well-known New Haven cigar shop to “kiss and make up.”

Lauretti said Wednesday morning that any little edge could leak out in a race for the nomination with a dozen potential candidates. “You should know in this day and age that things we used to say are no longer acceptable,” Luaretti said. “It’s easy to clarify your position after the fact, but unless you understand the context, you don’t know. His record and my record are very different. So maybe he’s feeling just a little bit up against it.”

kdixon@ctpost.com Twitter: @KenDixonCT