Focus turns to November as candidates for governor pull their first punches

HARTFORD -- A wild Primary night in Connecticut brought a few surprises.

FOX61 talked to the winners in both parties about their victory strategies in November.

Ned Lamont has the name recognition and the broad support from his base. Bob Stefanowski has the momentum and the headlines. They both told FOX61, it’s game on for November.

“I guess that means I can say I’m proud to accept the Democratic nomination for governor of the great state of Connecticut,” exclaimed Ned Lamont during his victory speech Tuesday night.

“I don’t think anybody really thought we would be standing up here right now,” remarked Bob Stefanowski.

It’s very much a tale of two candidates.

When the primary dust settled, Democratic front-runner Lamont and upset outsider Stefanowski were left standing. Tuesday night was a brief celebration, but by Wednesday it was back to work, with the stakes even higher for November.

“I didn’t want you to have somebody to vote against I wanted you to have somebody to vote for,” said Lamont.

“We were the first gubernatorial candidate in the history of the state to get on to the ballot by signature and certainly the first one to win without going to a convention,” said Stefanowski.

Lamont told FOX61 his candidacy is in stark contrast to Stefanowski.

“We’re going to have a real debate about eliminating the income tax in 8 years, the central premise of Bob’s platform and I think George Bush the elder would have called that voodoo economics,” remarked Lamont.

“Between true cost cuts, reprioritization and stop wasting money, we can use those savings to fund a tax cut,” rebutted Stefanowski.

Lamont, the parties endorsed candidate, landed a landslide victory,  crushing Joe Ganim in the vote total.

Stefanowski wasn’t the party’s endorsed candidate — in fact — he bypassed the Republican convention altogether. His campaign organized a ground game machine, collected signatures and put out a lot of ads, upsetting Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton in a five way race.

Both candidates are self-funding their campaign, but the similarities end there.

“Nobody embraced Donald Trump more closely than Bob Stefanowski,” said Lamont.

In a race that’s seen little polling or national attention — it did Wednesday — with President Trump throwing his endorsement behind Stefanowski in a tweet.

“Anytime you get endorsed by the President of the United States, that’s great. I think the economic policy that he has done on a national level, we could use some of that in Connecticut,” said Stefanowski.

As we look toward November, the choices are narrowed, but pending petition certification you may also see independent Oz Griebel and Libertarian Rod Handscomb on the ballot.