Former First Selectman and GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Herbst found himself embroiled in another political kerfuffle Tuesday after the Hartford Courant published a text message purportedly from Herbst to a supporter, in which he declared “I would love to put my cigar out in Mark Lauretti’s eye.”

Lauretti, the 14-term Shelton mayor, is also running for the Republican nomination for governor.

The Herbst campaign said it was not clear that Herbst had sent the message in question. Herbst himself questioned the context and the reporting.

“I haven’t seen the source confirmed,” he said. “Was this a group chat? When did it even happen?”

He said he did not remember sending any such text, asking rhetorically, “Do you remember every single text message you’ve ever sent?”

Lauretti expressed disappointment over the message, but downplayed any possible rivalry between the two.

Herbst expressed a similar sentiment, saying he and Lauretti had gotten along well at various Republican functions and had smoked cigars together at GOP outings.

“This story is completely overblown,” he said.

Herbst and Lauretti are two of the Republicans vying for the party’s nomination to run for governor. Others in the GOP field include New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, former U.S. Controller General Dave Walker, Fairfield immigration attorney Peter Lumaj and State Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, among others.