Interviews

Ned Lamont wins as Democrats dominate in Connecticut

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Ned Lamont celebrates with running mate Susan Bysiewicz before delivering victory speech

It was not until over twelve hours after the polls closed that voters in Connecticut found out who their next Governor would be. After hours of waiting due to issues with voter registration in New Haven and wet ballots across the state, Ned Lamont won the election to be Connecticut’s Governor. With 95% of the vote in Lamont beat Bob Stefanowski 48.6% to 46.9%. Lamont was likely elevated by the extremely high turnout. 65.6% of eligible voters voted. Turnout was up almost 10% from the 2014 Gubernatorial race.

Bob Stefanowski called Ned Lamont to concede Tuesday morning and then publicly conceded on “Chaz and AJ” on WPLR. Stefanowski thanked his supporters and congratulated Ned Lamont on a fair and square and well-fought race. Stefanowski also offered to help Lamont in any way to get the state back on track. Ned Lamont first appeared publicly as the Governor-Elect at noon at Dunkin Donuts Park. In a brief speech, Lamont thanked his supporters, campaign staff, and Bob Stefanowski for a well-run campaign. Lamont said he would take Tuesday to reflect and relax but would be up early on Wednesday to begin the transition.

The Democrats managed to keep control of all of the state’s constitutional offices. William Tong was elected Attorney General, Shawn Wooden was elected State Treasurer, Denise Merrill was re-elected as Secretary of State, and Kevin Lembo was re-elected as Comptroller. In what seemed to be a good opportunity for Republicans to take the Governor’s mansion and the State Legislature, the Democrats maintained control of both branches. The Democrats broke the 18-18 tie in the Senate and now control 24 of the 36 seats. In the House, the Democrats picked up 12 seats and now control 92 of the 151 seats.

Lamont will take office on January 9th and is expected to begin the transition soon. Governor Malloy congratulated his former 2010 opponent and said he plans to meet with the Governor-Elect later this week.    

 

Interviews

Chief Justice Richard Robinson Interview

        Before my interview with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut Richard Robinson, I had not had a personal interaction with a judge. Judges are not always the most approachable person for the average person. The sense of superiority and power creates the false narrative that judges are not like normal people. Chief Justice Robinson is one of the most approachable, funny, and intelligent people that I have ever met. His knowledge of the law and his passion for his job were evident when I interviewed him. Chief Justice Robinson talked about his extensive career in the judicial system serving on the Superior, Appellate, and Supreme Courts in the state. His humbleness and openness were astonishing. He never thought he would become the first African American Chief Justice of the state’s court, but he is honored to serve. Richard Robinson’s career is incredible and he has done so much for the judicial system but what I found the most interesting was his life outside of the court. His main hobby is Karate. The Chief Justice is a fourth-degree black belt but his wife is an even more impressive sixth-degree black belt. The Chief Justice also listed Pepe’s as his favorite place for Pizza and talked about what it is like to tell people he is the Chief Justice of the court. I thoroughly enjoyed my interview with the Chief Justice and thank him greatly for the opportunity.

Interviews

Lamont and Stefanowski win primaries for Governor

After months of debates, campaign appearances, and television advertisements the field for the November general election is set. In the race for Governor on the Democratic side, Ned Lamont defeated Joe Ganim with over 80% of the vote. Ganim, the Mayor of Bridgeport, was a long-shot candidate. Ganim was elected Mayor of Bridgeport in 2015 for the second time. This was after serving 7 years in prison for public corruption during his first stint as Mayor. Lamont, who ran for the Senate in 2006 and Governor in 2010, called for party unity and said he is looking forward to the general election.

With 5 candidates on the Republican side, the race was a tossup. In an upset, Madison businessman Bob Stefanowski won the 5-way contest with around 30% of the vote. Danbury Mayor Mark Bought was seen as the favorite, but only garnered around 20% of the vote and finished second. Stefanowski, who served as a top executive at General Electric and the CFO of UBS investment bank centered his campaign on eliminating the state income tax. Dozens of economists and experts have said that idea is far-fetched and would be difficult to implement.

In the race for Lieutenant Governor, Susan Bysiewicz easily defeated Eva Bermudez-Zimmerman in the Democratic primary and Joe Markley defeated Erin Stewart and Jayme Stevenson in the Republican primary. Bysiewicz previously served as the Secretary of State and was running for Governor until Ned Lamont named her his running mate in May. Joe Markley, the conservative Senator from Southington, beat the more moderate Erin Stewart and Jayme Stevenson.

For the rest of the under ticket Republican Sue Hatfield and Democrat William Tong won their primaries for Attorney General, Democrat Shawn Wooden and Republican Thad Gray won their race for Treasurer, and Republican Kurt Miller won the primary for Comptroller. Matt Corey won the Republican primary for US Senate against Dominic Rapini with over 75% of the vote. In the primary for the 5th Congressional District Republican Manny Santos won and Democrat Jahana Hayes won. Hayes, a political outsider and 2016 National Teacher of the Year, beat political insider Mary Glassman with over 60% of the vote.

The field is set and the campaigning for the general election will begin in just a few hours. The race for Governor has been listed as a toss-up by many political pundits. On November 6th the people of Connecticut will make a decision that will change the course of the state for decades. Congratulations to all the candidates that won and get ready for a long general election campaign.

 

Interviews

Primary Field begins to take shape

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From Left to Right Candidates Tim Herbst, Oz Griebel, David Stemerman, and Bob Stefanowski participate in a forum hosted by the Connecticut Tourism Coalition  . (Mark Pazniokas/CTMirror)

Beginning on May 1st, Governor hopefuls have been crisscrossing the state gathering signatures to get on the August primary ballot. Republican candidates who do not receive 15% of the delegates at the state convention have to gather around 9,000 signatures to get on the ballot. Democrats have to get around 15,000. As of Tuesday, June 19th, Republican candidates Bob Stefanowski and David Stemerman as well as Democratic Candidate Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim have qualified for the ballot. Stemerman and Stefanowski join Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, and Tech Entrepreneur Steve Obsitnik on the Republican ballot. Joe Ganim joins Ned Lamont on the Democratic side. Former Bill Clinton aide Guy Smith only has 5,000 of the 15,000 certified signatures as of Tuesday, June 19th. Smith says he has received enough signatures but they have not been sent to the Secretary of the States office from local registrar of voters. In what is a crowded race on the Republican side, voters have a choice of three outsiders and two politicians. Stefanowski, Stemerman, and Obstinik all credit their business experience in their campaigns for Governor. The race favors a politician as the three outsider candidates have not been able to differentiate themselves.