Robin Blassberg Staff Writer
In less than two months, registered voters of Connecticut will elect the next Governor and Lieutenant Governor.
Closed primary elections were held on Aug. 14 to determine the final nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties. The candidates for Governor include Dem. Ned Lamont and Rep. Bob Stefanowski, and the candidates for Lieutenant Governor are Dem. Susan Bysiewicz and Rep. Joe Markley. General elections will be held on Nov. 6.
The candidates for Governor for the Democratic Party prior to the primary election included Guy L. Smith, Sean Connolly, Susan Bysiewicz, Jonathan Harris, Joe Ganim, Dan Drew, and Ned Lamont. However, before the primaries in August, Connolly, Smith, Harris, Bysiewicz, and Drew withdrew from the race, leaving only Joe Ganim and Ned Lamont.
Joe Ganim, Mayor of Bridgeport, would eventually lose to Ned Lamont, a businessman and former Greenwich Selectman, with 81.2% of the vote. Susan Bysiewicz would become the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor.
While their individual policies varied, most of the Democratic candidates agreed on one issue: Connecticut’s dwindling economy. On his website, Lamont details ten policy initiatives he plans to support should he be elected governor. Among them are: reducing property taxes for the middle class, building a fair and just economy within the state through creating jobs and other means, investing in education, infrastructure and culture, getting Connecticut citizens access to quality health care, addressing climate change, protecting the environment, combating the opioid epidemic, and preventing gun violence.
Lamont takes action and interest in his state, visiting individuals, organizations, and cities, and taking the time to discuss ideas and issues with them. In fact, as he shares on his Facebook page, on Aug. 30, he met with the Hamden Professional Firefighters to thank them, and reports, “As Governor, I’ll thank them every day for helping keep CT safe.”
On the other side of the aisle, the race for the Republican Governor nominee included five candidates: Bob Stefanowski, Mark Boughton, Tim Herbst, Stephen A. Obsitnik, and David Stemerman. It is clear those on the Republican side also agree with the sentiment that the new Governor’s top priority must be the state’s economy; Mark Boughton, mayor of Danbury, shares that he believes “it’s puzzling as to how and why and where we lost our way, but we lost our way,” in terms of the presence of lack of growth, urban poverty, and multi-billion dollar budget deficits.
Stefanowski ultimately won the Republican primary for Governor with 29.4% of the vote, and Joe Markley, State Senator, won the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor. Similar to Lamont, Stefanowski strongly believes in regaining economic security in Connecticut.
The issues section of his website entails five initiatives he will incorporate into his plan to strengthen the state, including rebuilding the economy; helping small businesses; modernizing our infrastructure; keeping retirees; and retaining our graduates. He differs from Lamont in the way that each of his initiatives is largely based around the economic standpoint of the state. For instance, his initiative to retain graduates and stop losing them to larger surrounding cities will be sustained by “building businesses, growing our economy, and bringing in new workers.”
Stefanowski earned President Donald Trump’s “total endorsement” in a tweet on Aug. 15. President Trump declared that “it is about time Connecticut had a real and talented Governor” and predicts he will be a “major difference maker” due to the way he is “tough on crime [and] a big cutter of taxes.”
Stefanowski is indeed “a big cutter of taxes.” His main prerogative, as stated on his website, is to rebuild Connecticut with his five-step plan. He plans to: phase out corporate income tax and business entity tax over two years, phase out state income tax over eight years, eliminate the gift and estate taxes immediately, embrace zero-based budgeting to reduce spending, and enact a taxpayer bill of rights.
After the primaries, the Cook Political Report analyzed the general election to be a tossup. Registered voters can vote in the town they registered in. Students who are not registered to vote in Willimantic and will not be in their hometown on Nov. 6 can fill out an absentee ballot.