Ned Lamont says 'Connecticut gets it right,' as the Democrat wins his second term as governor
For the second time in a row, Gov. Ned Lamont defeated Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski.
Tuesday’s election was a rematch of the 2018 race.
The Associated Press called the race for Lamont shortly before 1 a.m.
Stefanowski conceded the race Wednesday morning, saying in a statement that "while the outcome was not in our control, the actions we take moving forward from here are."
It was the culmination of a feisty campaign that focused on Lamont’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s finances. Stefanowski focused on issues of crime and the national economy, but he failed to gain adequate traction among voters.
During his campaign, Lamont said Connecticut was emerging from the pandemic stronger – and as a more attractive state to new residents and businesses.
Speaking before a crowd of supporters in Hartford Tuesday night, Lamont touted his administration's accomplishments in his first term.
“We went through COVID hell together and back,” Lamont said during his victory speech. “You know how we did it better than most states? We did it because we worked together, we looked out for each other.”
Lamont said he was looking “forward to the opportunity to serve the great state of Connecticut for another four years.”
“Connecticut gets it right,” Lamont said. “We had a good election, a fair election. Now we all come together, we work together as one. Because that’s what Connecticut always does.”
In 2018, Stefanowski lost by 3 percentage points or about 40,000 votes. Tuesday's margin was much wider — with preliminary results from the AP showing Wednesday morning that Lamont won by 12 percentage points or about 150,000 votes.
In his statement Wednesday, Stefanowski said that "the results of this election are not what we had hoped for," but he urged Lamont to "support the people who voted for him as much as the ones who did not."
"Politics has become too divisive and the great people of Connecticut deserve better," Stefanowski said.
Speaking on Tuesday, Stefanowski reflected on his campaign.
“I've gotten to know the people a lot better,” Stefanowski said. “I’ve also tried to be a little bit more relaxed. I think I was a little bit tight last time, and I didn’t let people see. I’m a normal guy.”
A mergers and acquisitions expert, Stefanowski lent his campaign $10 million, more than triple his investment in the 2018 race.
Lamont was running for reelection with Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, while Stefanowski tapped state Rep. Laura Devlin as a running mate.
The race also featured Independent Party candidate Rob Hotaling. As of the time of the AP race call, Hotaling held about 1% of the vote.
The last Republican governor in Connecticut was M. Jodi Rell, who left office in January 2011.
This story contains information from the Associated Press. Connecticut Public Radio’s Ray Hardman and Camila Vallejo contributed to this report.