Connecticut Governor Race up for Grabs amid Voting Dispute


Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski conceded to Democrat Ned Lamont in Connecticut’s race for governor Wednesday morning, reports WTNH TV News.

The concession came after Stefanowski earlier sought a court injunction to stop certain ballots cast in New Haven and the University of Connecticut from being included in the total tally.

The Madison businessman’s campaign raised concerns about some first-time voters in New Haven being allowed to vote after swearing as a group they’ve never registered to vote before in Connecticut. The potential voters were waiting in a long line to take advantage of the state’s Election Day voter registration law.

“We have rules for a reason. We have cutoffs and deadlines that they are not honoring,” said State Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano. Gabe Rosenberg, a spokesman for the Secretary of the State’s Office, said the votes were “being segregated and they’re being counted” toward the final tally, unless a judge orders otherwise.

All eyes were on the close race for governor in which the two major party candidates, Stefanowski and Democrat Ned Lamont, have argued for months over who is better positioned to fix Connecticut’s fiscal ills. As of 10 p.m., the race remained too close to call.

By Tuesday evening, more than 42 percent of the state’s record 2.16 million registered voters had cast ballots, according to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office. Merrill said the elections were going smoothly despite some long lines and some ballots getting dampened by rainwater from voters’ jackets.

Turnout is typically about 55 percent to 65 percent in midterm elections.

The vote for governor headlines midterm balloting in Connecticut that includes a re-election bid for Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, contests for the state’s five U.S. House seats and other statewide and local races. Murphy easily won his bid for a second term .

Stefanowski, of Madison, and Lamont, of Greenwich, led a pack of five men vying to succeed Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat who narrowly won the state’s top office in 2010 and 2014. Petitioning independent candidate Oz Griebel, a former Republican and Hartford business advocate, conceded the race by mid-evening. His running mate, former Democrat and attorney Monte Frank, praised their campaign, saying “When the others engaged in the politics of fear, we offered the politics of hope.”

Lamont and other Democratic candidates have made this election partly a referendum on President Donald Trump, and Lamont has promised to be the state’s firewall against the president’s policies.

But the state’s continued economic challenges, including projected budget deficits, have also been a key issue.

Republican state Rep. Doug Dubitsky, who greeted voters in a drizzling rain outside a polling place in Norwich, said he wasn’t sure how much influence the president will ultimately have on the state’s election.

“It’s hard to tell how the whole Trump situation is going to play out,” he said. “Certainly there are angry people who hate Trump and will vote against anybody who is associated with Trump. And there are some who love Trump and will vote for anybody that’s associated with him.

“Most of the people that I’ve spoken to are really concerned about Connecticut’s economy,” he said. “Because really, everything flows from that: education health care, municipal issues.”

Stefanowski has painted Lamont as a clone of the unpopular Malloy who would preside over tax increases.

A rare Republican in heavily Democratic Hartford, Ken Lerman said high taxes — not Trump — were foremost on his mind as he filled out his ballot.

“Our taxes keep rising. We can’t afford it,” said Lerman, an attorney and chairman of the Hartford Republican Town Committee. “We need a change in government.”

Lamont, in turn, has accused Stefanowski of proposing a reckless tax-cutting plan and being a threat to Connecticut’s values, including the state’s strong gun control laws and protections for women.

Libertarian Rod Hanscomb and Mark Stewart Greenstein, co-founder of Americans for Minimal Government Party, were also on the ballot.

This report contains material from The Associated Press.


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