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Connecticut gubernatorial candidates clash over crime in final televised debate

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Anthony Quinn
In this photo provided by WTNH, Connecticut gubernatorial candidates Independent Rob Hotaling, second from left, Democratic incumbent Governor Ned Lamont, center, and Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski participate in a debate Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The three candidates running for governor in Connecticut clashed in their last televised debate on Tuesday night. Crime was one of the issues they argued over.

The GOP’s Bob Stefanowski doubled down on his claim that crime is out of control. He accused Democratic incumbent Governor Ned Lamont and Independent Rob Hotaling of being soft on crime. That's because they support the police accountability law passed by state Democrats in the wake of the George Floyd killing.

“There is only one person on this stage right now who is going to support the heck out of the men and women who are putting their lives on the line every single day for us, that’s me," Stefanowski said. "These guys are both soft on crime and they are anti-police."

“You are not serious about crime unless you are serious about guns,” responded Lamont, who accused Stefanoski of getting an A rating from the NRA because he supports the easy accessibility of guns.

“Getting those illegal guns off our street, getting those AR-15. Too many of our cops are outgunned and outmanned. Our state police are not outmanned,” Lamont said.

"Have either of you been stopped by the police and threatened? And shouted at? I have," retorted Independent Hotaling, who is African American. He took issue with Stefanowski's criticism of his support of police accountability.

“When you’ve gone through an experience like that, it makes you think differently. Yet, I still support the police one hundred percent to give them the tools that they need in order to be successful in our communities. But I also believe our communities have been disproportionately targeted and this bill solves some of that.” Hotaling said.

The candidates also clashed over who would be more of supportive of abortion rights, on energy policy, as well as when to spend the state’s $6 billion rainy day fund.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.