Connecticut held its primary day Tuesday, with various races to determine party candidates for the general election in November.
Bob Stefanowski, a former GE executive who pitched himself to voters as "Bob the Rebuilder," won Tuesday's Republican primary for Connecticut governor in an upset and will face a fellow wealthy businessman, Democrat Ned Lamont, in November.
A political newcomer who bypassed the traditional Republican Party convention process, Stefanowski defeated the party's endorsed candidate, veteran Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, and three other Republican candidates. It was Boughton's third attempt to run for governor. The Madison businessman managed to gain early name recognition by running a series of ads, in which he pledged to fix the state's fiscal woes and eliminating the personal income tax.
"I've been consistent on this from day one, unlike any of my opponents," said Stefanowski, adding how he's the one to "reverse the damage Dan Malloy has done over the last eight years."
Stefanowski's win sets up a likely battle this fall over the policies of Dannel P. Malloy, Connecticut's outgoing Democratic governor — who is not running for a third term — and Republican President Donald Trump, who Democratic primary winner and Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont had vowed fight.
Lamont easily defeated Bridgeport mayor and ex-convict Joe Ganim in Tuesday's primary. His victory win comes 12 years after he defeated the party's then-veteran U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman in a Democratic showdown that was viewed nationally as a referendum on the war in Iraq. Lamont later lost in the general election when Lieberman ran as an independent.
As in 2006, Lamont is hoping to ride a wave of national discontent among Democrats. He has promised to "save Connecticut" from the dogma of Trump and his fellow Republicans, whether it's on immigration, the weakening of environmental standards, limiting of access to abortion or scaling back of union members' rights.
"He's wrong. We're going to draw a line in the sand. We're fighting for Connecticut values, not Trump values, Connecticut values. We are going to be the firewall," Lamont told supporters who gathered in New Haven.
Democratic Governors Association Chairman Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state, said Lamont was the only candidate in the race for governor "who will stand up to Donald Trump when his policies hurt Connecticut."
The Republican Governors Association immediately responded by accusing Lamont of being an "enabler" of Malloy, even though he ran against Malloy in the 2010 gubernatorial primary.
Stefanowski clashed at times with his fellow GOP candidates, who also included former Greenwich hedge fund manager David Stemerman, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst and Westport tech entrepreneur Steve Obsitnik. Stefanowski was criticized for not having voted for 16 years and for a short stint as a Democrat before registering again as a Republican shortly before announcing his candidacy for governor.
Lamont, of Greenwich, has called for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, more funding for local education, electronic tolls for heavy trucks, and paid family and medical leave. A financially successful founder of a small cable company, Lamont contends he has both the business and people skills to bring various groups together to help solve the state's ongoing budget problems.
He often speaks about being an outsider and about how the "political class" has failed taxpayers and state employees.
Jenna Baker of Griswold, a 25-year-old residential manager at a group home for people with disabilities, said she voted for Lamont primarily because he received the endorsement of her union. She said Ganim's criminal past wasn't a significant factor.
"By running for governor, I assume he is trying to turn around and be a good person," she said. "I don't have anything personally against him."
Ganim, 58, served seven years in prison for steering city contracts as mayor from 1991 to 2003 in exchange for cash, wine, clothes and home improvements. Still, he was elected again as Bridgeport's mayor in 2015 — just five years after his release from prison. On Tuesday night, he called for party unity.
5th Congressional District
A former National Teacher of the Year recipient defeated a veteran politician on Tuesday in the Democratic primary for a U.S. House seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who agreed not to seek re-election amid criticism of her mishandling of a sexual harassment case in her Washington office.
Wolcott educator Jahana Hayes, who won the award in 2016, topped former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman, a two-time lieutenant governor candidate. If she wins the general election in November, Hayes, 45, will be the first black woman to win a Connecticut congressional seat.
A Democratic primary was unthinkable a year ago, when many observers believed Esty would likely win a fourth term. But the outspoken advocate of the #MeToo movement abruptly announced in April she wouldn't seek re-election after facing heavy criticism and calls for her resignation over how she handled the firing of a former chief of staff accused of harassment. Esty has said she regrets not moving along an internal investigation into the 2016 allegations, which ultimately revealed more widespread allegations of abuse.
In November, Hayes will face former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos, who defeated two rivals in the Republican primary.
Santos has called President Donald Trump's economic policies "dead on" and has vowed to fight tax increases and unnecessary spending. He comes into the general election at a significant financial disadvantage, with recent reports showing he has less than $500 in cash still on hand for the race.
"A win for Republicans in this state is also a win for the people of this state. It is also a win for the taxpayers," Santos said in a victory speech Tuesday night.
Hayes and Glassman had a tough fight for the party's endorsement earlier this year. Since then, Hayes' personal story of finding success after being a teenage mother has helped to garner significant out-of-state financial support and endorsements from labor and progressive organizations.
Hayes said there's an "appetite for change" among voters.
"I've been asked to run for elected office many times," Hayes said in a recent WVIT-TV debate. "I'm not a perennial candidate. I've always said no. But I think this seat at this time provides a unique opportunity to bring us back to our moral center as a country."
Recent campaign finance filings show Hayes leading Glassman and the three Republican primary candidates in campaign fundraising.
Hayes has run TV ads featuring footage of former President Barack Obama awarding her the national teacher of the year honor.
Hayes has pledged to fight to save the public education system, saying that education saved her life. She also has promised to bridge the "equity gap" that exists in the 5th Congressional District, which borders New York and has been considered one of the state's more politically diverse with its mix of farm towns and urban centers. She said she'll fight racism, xenophobia, classism and sexism.
In April, Esty abruptly announced she wouldn't seek re-election. She made the announcement days after apologizing for not protecting her employees from the male ex-chief of staff.
Lieutenant Governor - Democratic Primary
Former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz has won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor.
The 56-year-old Bysiewicz has been running alongside gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont. She has been a familiar face in Connecticut politics for decades, having first been elected to the General Assembly in 1992.
She served 12 years as secretary of the state before running unsuccessfully for attorney general and U.S. Senate.
Bysiewicz, who originally campaigned for governor, fought off a challenge from 31-year-old newcomer Eva Bermudez Zimmerman, who cast herself as the candidate for a new generation.
Bysiewicz has said her government experience is an asset that will allow her to help attract and keep businesses in the state.
Lieutenant Governor - GOP Primary
State Senator Joe Markley has won the Republican party nomination for lieutenant governor.
The 61-year-old conservative lawmaker from Southington was the party's endorsed candidate. He fended off challenges from Jayme Stevenson, the first selectman of Darien, and Erin Stewart, New Britain's 31-year-old mayor.
Markley was first elected to the General Assembly in 1984, serving one term. He returned to the legislature in 2011.
Known for organizing the 1992 rally to oppose the imposition of a state income tax, Markley has recently turned his attention to fighting any re-introduction of tolls on Connecticut highways.
Markley also has advocated eliminating state's commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and opening up juvenile court proceedings to the public.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy advanced to the November election without facing a primary election Tuesday in the Democratic party.
The first-term senator from Connecticut will take on small-business owner Matthew Corey, who defeated Apple computer executive Dominic Rapini in the Republican primary.
Murphy's campaign has raised about $13.5 million and still has about $8.5 million on hand, an amount that far exceeds the fundraising of his GOP rival.
Murphy was first elected in 2012 and became a prominent advocate for gun control following the shooting that year at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
The 45-year-old Democrat also has gained a national reputation as an opposition voice to President Donald Trump and is frequently mentioned among possible Democratic challengers to the president in 2020.
Corey, a lifelong resident of Manchester, won the Republican endorsement in May with 53 percent of the vote.
The 54-year-old Navy veteran owns a window-washing business and McKinnon's Irish Pub in Hartford. He has run three unsuccessful campaigns for congress against Democratic U.S. Representative John Larson.
Corey has said he wants this race to be a referendum pitting the policies of Trump, which he supports, against those supported by Murphy.
Rapini had never held public office.
Attorney General - Republican Primary
State prosecutor Sue Hatfield has won the Republican nomination for attorney general.
Hatfield, who was endorsed by the party, defeated challenger and former state Representative John Shaban of Redding.
Hatfield, of Pomfret, was a policy assistant for Newt Gingrich and an early supporter of Donald Trump's candidacy for president. She served as a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention from Connecticut, but she says she does not agree with Trump on every issue.
She has said she wants the attorney general's office to be more pro-business.
Hatfield recently lost the endorsement of Connecticut's largest gun owners' group, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, after saying she opposed the ability to download blueprints for making untraceable plastic guns with 3-D printers.
Attorney General - Democratic Primary
State lawmaker William Tong has won the Democratic nomination for Connecticut attorney general.
The state representative from Stamford was the endorsed candidate in the three-way race. He defeated state Senator Paul Doyle, who was Tong's co-chair on the legislature's Judiciary Committee, and former federal prosecutor Chris Mattei.
Tong is the son of Chinese immigrants and is seeking to become the first Asian American to hold the office.
He has campaigned on his willingness to challenge in court the policies of President Donald Trump on issues including immigration.
Tong has worked as a commercial litigator and was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2007. He briefly ran for U.S. Senate in 2012 and lost in a Democratic primary in the race for mayor of Stamford in 2013.
See the complete results of all races at the secretary of the state's Election Center website.