Lamont vs. Stefanowski: Race for Connecticut governor features rematch from 2018

Gun Rights

CONNECTICUT — In rematch of the election he won four years ago, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is hoping to fend off Republican businessman Bob Stefanowski following a feisty, expensive campaign battle that has focused on abortion, crime and the cost of living.

Lamont, a Democrat, spent much of his first term navigating Connecticut through the COVID-19 pandemic. His campaign has painted a positive picture of a state that is “getting its mojo back” economically and attracting new residents and businesses.

See Election 2022 Results for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut here

If Stefanowski wins Tuesday’s election, he would become the state’s first Republican governor in more than a decade. The last GOP governor in Connecticut was M. Jodi Rell, who left office in January 2011.

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Stefanowski has accused Lamont of being oblivious to the financial toll that high inflation and taxes have taken on residents. He called for putting about half of the state’s budget surplus toward tax cuts.

“It’s your money,” he said during a recent debate. “It’s not Gov. Lamont’s money.”

The two have presented starkly different views of public safety in Connecticut. Stefanowski called crime in Connecticut “out of control,” echoing a message from Republicans across the country, and proposed overhauling parts of the 2020 police accountability law which he said is to blame for challenges recruiting more police officers. Lamont has countered with statistics that show a 3% reduction in overall crime between 2020 and 2021, saying it’s a positive trend despite political “fearmongering.”

Voters have been deluged with TV ads paid for by various political action committees as well as the candidates themselves, who’ve each invested millions of dollars of their own money in the race.

Democrats have focused heavily on the abortion issue, in light of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. They hope to drive abortion-rights supporters to the polls in a state where abortion is legal with restrictions. Stefanowski calls himself “pro-choice,” but Democrats have argued he can’t be trusted to protect Connecticut’s laws.

Former President Donald Trump backed Stefanowski in his 2018 run, but he did not weigh in on this year’s race. Also, Stefanowski didn’t seek a rating from the National Rifle Association. In 2018, he received an A rating. Lamont has received an F for 2022.

National Republicans, meanwhile, have portrayed Lamont as a failure when it comes to the state’s economy, tying him to President Joe Biden.

“Joe Biden’s inflation crisis continues to hammer families in Connecticut and Ned Lamont can’t get enough of it, cheering on trillions in federal spending that fuels the crisis and dumps debt on future generations,” Republican Governors Association spokesman Chris Gustafson said in a written statement.

Lamont is running for reelection with Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, while Stefanowski tapped state Rep. Laura Devlin as a running mate.

Cheshire banker Rob Hotaling and Stewart “Chip” Beckett are running on the Independent Party line.

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