GOP candidates go toe-to-toe in 4th gubernatorial debate in New Britain

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NEW BRITAIN -- The race for governor continued Wednesday evening.

The GOP held their fourth gubernatorial debate at New Britain High School. 10 candidates spoke on stage this time except New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart.

Before the debate started, there was a lot of noise outside of the high school where people rallied so Stewart could have her voice be heard despite not having raised enough money.

New Britain is known historically as worker bees and the protestors used their voices in support of the "queen bee."

The mayor only raised $105,000 which was below the $175,000 minimum. She was seen doing a Facebook live during the rally to express her thoughts.

"This is the school I graduated from, I raised my right hand to give the oath," said Stewart.

Sharon Saavedra is a Stewart supporter and also a Democrat.

"People should be able to hear from all the serious candidates and money should not be the determining factor," said Saavedra of New Britain.

When FOX61 asked Stewart if she thinks missing the first four debates will hurt her chances in the race, she remained confident.

"I respect the rules. I know what the rules were but I told the chairman, I said listen, don’t be surprised we’re going to make some noise!" said Stewart.

However, Stewart and her supporters were not the only ones who made their presence known. Attorney Peter Lumaj sported his "Make America Great Again" hat.

"I’m the only one who’s going to energize the base, I’m the only one who’s going to energize the inner city to get out and vote and support the Republicans and I can go to Hartford to make that change," said Lumaj.

Inside New Britain High School was each candidate who was allotted two minutes to speak on each issues. Trumbull's First Selectman Tim Herbst spoke about trust.

"Who can Republicans trust to not only prosecute the campaign and be successful in November but who can Republicans trust to get the job done?" said Herbst.

Mark Lauretti, the mayor of Shelton said he would make sure taxpayers get what they want.

"No one has been able to accomplish what I’ve accomplished in either side of the political aisle. I haven’t raised taxes in Shelton in 10 years. That’s what taxpayers need in Connecticut," said Lauretti.

Young supporters of the Republican candidates like Andrew Lanciotto are concerned about the budget.

"The budget’s the real problem year-by-year but it’s not something that’s going to be fixed overnight and I think some of the candidates do think it is," said Lanciotto of Rocky Hill.

The last and fifth gubernatorial debate will be in New Canaan on April 18th. After that, the Republicans will hold their statewide nominating convention at Foxwoods in May.

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