Democrat Ned Lamont bested Bob Stefanowski by a slim margin in Tuesday’s Connecticut gubernatorial contest.
“A few moments ago, I called Ned Lamont to concede the race for governor and congratulate him on a hard-fought victory,’’ Stefanowski said in a statement released by his office shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday. “I wish both Ned and the state of Connecticut success over these next four years.”
Lamont, a businessman who has previously launched unsuccessful bids for the U.S. Senate and governor, benefited from high turnout in the state’s urban areas, particularly Bridgeport and Hartford. He will now succeed Dannel Malloy, who bested him by a slim margin in the last Democratic gubernatorial primary but went on to become one of the most unpopular governors in the country.
Stefanowski ran on a pro-business, anti-tax platform, taking advantage of Connecticut’s dramatic budgetary woes, which have persisted over the last decade despite significant tax increases. Lamont cast Stefanowski’s plan to cut taxes dramatically as reckless and argued that he posed a danger to women’s reproductive rights and gun-control laws. He was buoyed by President Trump’s weak 34 percent approval rating in Connecticut, which allowed him to paint Republicans, who have historically been popular in the state’s suburbs, as the party of discord.
“On the subject of divisive leadership and separating people, I think it probably matters a lot,” Lamont said when asked Tuesday morning about Trump’s influence on the race. “I don’t like his tone where he divides people against each other. I’m working to bring people together here in the state of Connecticut.”
Lamont now faces a dire fiscal situation as the state’s unfunded pension liabilities continue to skyrocket and tax-payers, particularly high earners, flee in large numbers. The flight of those high-earners will exacerbate the existing budget deficit, which is expected to balloon to $2 trillion in the coming year.