The Soap Box

“Out of Touch”

By Timothy Bristol

This week Bob Stefanowski announced that he is running for governor in a possible rematch of the 2018 campaign. He then released a million-dollar ad buy, according to the CT Mirror. The Ad is an attempt a rebrand Mr. Stefanowski from a Payday loan CEO to a self-made man who came from nothing. His Ad has people claiming that Bob is “one of us”. At the same time, in interviews, he has attacked Governor Lamont for being out of touch with the middle class of Connecticut. [1]

Stefanowski’s specific line of attack is Lamont’s wealth that was inherited from his grandfather who worked for J.P. Morgan Chase as a partner and chief executive in the early 20th century. Bob Stefanowski made his millions as a “Global finance Executive” according to the CT Mirror. He was C.E.O. of Money Mart[2] which is a PayDay loan/subprime loan business.

The issue is the two people running in our governor’s race in 2022 are both very wealthy. Both candidates can boast that they put tens of millions of dollars into their campaigns. Both candidates self-funded campaigns in 2018 and declined to use the public financing from the Citizens Election Program. Lamont spent an estimated 7.2 million dollars in his campaign in 2018, with another 5 million unspent. Stefanowski spent the majority of his 5 million dollars, with another 4 million in P.A.C. money behind him. [3]

Why are our state elections becoming too expensive for candidates who are not independently wealthy? The answer is, the parties are letting this happen, and are failing the voters of Connecticut by doing so. Even after passing a clean elections program that could fully fund state-wide races, the parties are choosing to run candidates who can outspend that program.

Now, there is still a Republican primary to run, but Stefanowski’s ten million dollars will be hard to compete with. His win is not guaranteed, but everyone else will have an uphill battle to win the primary. Even if someone else wins at the convention Stefanowski can win the primary like last time. The Republicans will be hard-pressed to find someone to come closer than Stefanowski did in 2018 when he narrowly lost.

Lamont has held on to strong approval ratings since the beginning of the Covid pandemic. And in a poll conducted in October of 2021 on the upcoming race, Lamont was up 16 points on Stefanowski.

If these are the two candidates that we end up with for the Governor’s race, then we have to ask why? Why are both political parties so reliant on wealthy candidates to win the governor’s mansion?

Connecticut does have a robust public financing system in place that can fund a gubernatorial race. It is a failure of both parties that they have to turn to wealthy outsiders like Lamont and Stefanowski, instead of a candidate that can better represent the voters of Connecticut.





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