The Day – Bob Stefanowski rested, relaxed and stirred for a rematch with Lamont

I thought last week that Connecticut Democrats might need to rush to Code Blue and find a new gubernatorial candidate, as the flames of scandal continue to roll up the pants of Governor Ned Lamont’s expensive suits. .

But this week, I met Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski for the first time, and came away convinced that the Democrats’ best hope for winning in November is to quickly recruit a new gubernatorial candidate.

Not only does Stefanowski appear to be a much better prepared candidate this year, but he also has a lot of wind at his back, to the benefit of the growing Lamont scandals.

This summer, as Stefanowski fills the airwaves in Connecticut with publicity for his promised $10 million self-funded campaign, high-ranking refugees from the Lamont administration could raise their hands and plead in Superior Court.

I must say up front here that I desperately want to vote for a Democrat for governor in November, almost any Democrat except for Lamont, who I believe is a Democrat in name only.

And yet, I found Stefanowski surprisingly refreshing, as he calmly lashed out at Lamont and his record, the governor’s lack of transparency, his blind eye on ethics, and the two high-ranking minority women. of his administration, now defunct, who claimed to be victims. of discrimination.

“We have to regain integrity,” he said.

Ouch.

Most important to me, Stefanowski had all the right answers to my Trump questions.

I don’t think I’m the only Democrat and Independent in Connecticut who will never vote for a Republican gubernatorial who buys into Donald Trump’s corrosive approach to democracy and the lie that the election was stolen in 2020.

Stefanowski told me unequivocally that Joe Biden is the legitimately elected President of the United States, even though he doesn’t think Biden is doing a very good job.

He said what happened on January 6 in Washington should never happen again and that anyone found responsible – “at any level” – should be held accountable.

“I don’t like the personal side of Donald Trump,” Stefanowski said. “I agree with a lot of his policies.”

Stefanowski has ditched his 2018 campaign’s central pledge, the absurd notion of eliminating income tax, and appears to be more realistically focused on taxes he might be able to tame.

He says he would support audits of every state agency to find waste and start by building budgets from scratch instead of factoring in existing spending increases.

He hits his candidate stride by talking about Connecticut’s crippling energy costs and what he calls the second-highest tax burden in the nation.

“You have energy prices that are in some cases higher than car payments,” he said. “We need to make the state more affordable… There’s a lot to fix.”

As for the Lamont scandals, which he says could involve tens and possibly hundreds of millions of dollars in school expenses, he says the legislature needs to create some sort of body to investigate.

Connecticut residents deserve to know what happened and should not have to rely on the sealed investigation of federal authorities.

He’s right about that. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen, though.

The Republican candidate also complained that Attorney General William Tong’s office is refusing to take his phone calls about the need to investigate public allegations of discrimination by two high-ranking women in the Lamont administration.

I’m sure Tong sees Stefanowski’s appeals as a campaign stunt, but he and the state Democrats need to understand that the Republican nominee is very persuasive in making it look like the Attorney General and the Governor are in cahoots. trying to bury complaints of discrimination at the highest levels of the Lamont administration.

Stefanowski could still face challenges within his own party and possibly a primary.

But I fear Republicans will be more savvy than Democrats in seeing that Stefanowski will likely be a much tougher contender in a rematch than in the first race, in which he had a losing but respectable finish.

Meanwhile, if Democrats don’t choose someone else soon, the flames of scandal may have consumed the entire fall governor’s suit, with Lamont’s hair on fire.

It’s time to call a code blue.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

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