GOP gubernatorial hopefuls square off in 1st debate



Updated 11:05 am, Thursday, December 7, 2017

WINDSOR — Seven of the Republican candidates running for governor squared off in their first debate of the 2018 election cycle and largely agreed they don’t like “career politicians.” But they offered mixed opinions about how they would handle the state’s budget and grow the economy.

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, Bob Stefanowski, and David Stemerman were qualified under the threshold set by the Republican Party to join the debate, but did not attend. Sen. Toni Boucher of Wilton, who is exploring a run for an undetermined statewide office but not necessarily governor, was added to the stage an hour after the debate started.

Those on the debate stage included Stamford Chief Financial Officer Mike Handler, state Rep. Prasad Srinivasan of Glastonbury, David Walker, Peter Lumaj, Steve Obsitnik, Boucher, and Tim Herbst, a four-term former Trumbull first selectman.

The first of what will be five Republican Party debates before the conventions in May sought to give Republican voters an opportunity to hear how their party would begin to clean up what was described as Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s mess.

Malloy, one of the least popular governors in the country according to a Morning Consult poll, isn’t seeking a third term.

Republican candidates are hoping to capitalize on some of the anger over two of the largest tax increases in Connecticut’s history and a lagging economy that hasn’t recovered all the jobs lost during the Great Recession.

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