Stefanowski announces GOP bid for governor, seeking rematch

Republican businessman Bob Stefanowski seeks revenge against a former political rival, Democratic Governor Ned Lamont.

The 2018 GOP gubernatorial candidate, who narrowly lost to Lamont in a three-way race that year, announced early Wednesday that he hopes to be the party’s nominee again. Lamont announced in November he filed the necessary paperwork for a second term.

“I run because I fundamentally believe that by working together, we can change Connecticut,” Stefanowski said in a written statement. “I’m running for governor to make government work for the people of Connecticut, not political insiders.”

Asked Tuesday about Stefanowski’s prospects entering the race and how he would juggle both his job and his re-election bid, Lamont said he plans to focus “like a laser beam.” on the pandemic, keeping students in school and the state. open economy.

“Listen, it’s a political season. People are going to get into the race,” Lamont said. “I think Bob has been racing for five years, so nothing will change that much. I will focus on governance.

Stefanowski, who also said he made an “initial investment of $10 million” in his campaign, focused much of his statement on affordability and state security.

“The people of Connecticut aren’t asking for much,” he said in the statement. “They want to be safe, have confidence that the state government is open and accountable, and be able to afford to live, work and retire here.”

Stefanowski has maintained a public profile since losing to Lamont in his first bid for public office. At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Stefanowski and his wife Amy, chairwoman of the Republican City Committee in their hometown of Madison, launched a face mask distribution operation when PPE was hard to come by.

More recently, Stefanowski posted photos of himself on Twitter – still using the handle @bobforgovernor – helping a state representative candidate’s campaign, collecting donations for the Salvation Army and appearing with student groups. . He also took to social media to level strong criticism of Lamont, ranging from his response to the pandemic to the Democrat’s decision not to recall state lawmakers to Hartford to deal with a spike in youth crime.

“Does anyone else find it strange that @GovNedLamont is issuing executive orders and calling the @CTNationalGuard while families line up for hours to get tested while he relaxes on the beach in Florida – the very state he decried for their Covid outbreaks? Stefanowski tweeted.

Former House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, who has also expressed an interest in challenging Lamont, said she has yet to make a decision about her candidacy as the Republican candidate. Susan Patricelli Regan of Granby, former head of global marketing for spirits and beer company DIAGEO, has already announced that she is seeking Republican Party endorsement to become governor.

Stefanowski, former GE executive and former director of a payday loan company, skipped the party convention process in 2018 and became the first major party candidate in Connecticut history to win a nomination after running for office through petitions. He ran ads promising, among other things, to eliminate state income tax.

That year, former President Donald Trump endorsed Stefanowski, touting the candidate for the first time on Twitter as tough on crime and a “big tax cutter”. Lamont retweeted Trump, calling his opponent “Bob Trumpanowski.”

In the end, Lamont garnered over 49% of the vote while Stefanowski got just over 46%. Independent candidate Oz Griebel, who died in July 2020 after being hit by a vehicle while jogging, won nearly 4% of the vote.

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