Connecticut Governor Race: Who’s who on the primary ballot


 (Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons)

 (Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons)

On Tuesday, Connecticut voters will head to the polls to select candidates to represent their party on the ballot in the November general election.

Democratic incumbents Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Comptroller Kevin Lembo, along with the Republican nominee for Secretary of the State Susan Chapman, have no primary challengers and will proceed, unopposed, to the general election. All other seats will have a primary race next week.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 14. Voters can find their polling location using the state voter registration lookup or by calling their local registrar of voters.

In order to cast a ballot in the primary election, Connecticut residents must register to vote and be affiliated with a political party by noon of the day before the election.

The deadline for online registration and DMV registration has passed. All registrations and affiliation changes up until Aug. 13 at noon must take place in person with the registrar of voters in order to vote in the primary.

Voters who are registered to vote as unaffiliated and new voters may choose a party to affiliate themselves with up until Aug. 13 at noon in order to vote in either party’s primary election. The deadline has expired for voters who are currently affiliated with one party but seek to change their affiliation to vote in the other party’s primary.

For your ease, the Daily Campus has compiled biographies of all the candidates who will appear on either party’s ballots.

Mark Boughton (R) Endorsed candidate

Mark Boughton is currently serving his ninth term as mayor of Danbury, Connecticut’s seventh largest city.

With Boughton as mayor, Danbury has grown in population, dissimilarly to most cities in Connecticut, and claims an unemployment rate below the state’s average.

Boughton has run for governor in the past, most recently appearing on the ballot unsuccessfully as the Republican’s candidate for Lieutenant Governor alongside Tom Foley in 2010.

This year, Boughton barely edged out his opponents in the third round of voting in order to secure the Connecticut Republican Party’s endorsement for governor at the state convention this May.

As governor, Boughton said he would incrementally phase out the state income tax and decrease taxes and fees on businesses in Connecticut. According to campaign literature, Boughton is focused on a smaller and less involved state government.

On the campaign trail, Boughton said he aims to expand education in the skilled trades and plans to focus on putting Connecticut at the forefront of technology education.

He also believes, along with his four Republican opponents, tolls do not belong on Connecticut roads.

Tim Herbst (R)

Tim Herbst served as the First Selectman of Trumbull for almost a decade before announcing his run for governor earlier this year.

Under Herbst’s leadership as First Selectman, Trumbull’s economy thrived, growing in each year of his term.  

In 2014 Herbst ran as the Republican candidate for Treasurer, losing by a slim margin to Democratic incumbent Denise Napier.

At the state Republican Convention in May, Herbst just barely lost the party endorsement to Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton on the third ballot.

Herbst has said on the campaign trail that if elected governor of Connecticut, he would not raise or add any taxes and would work to eliminate taxes for struggling residents.

Although he spurred economic growth in Trumbull and made a campaign promise to not increase or add any taxes, Herbst’s critics doubt his ability to avoid a tax hike in Connecticut after having raised Trumbull’s taxes in six of his eight years in office.

Herbst opposes the implementation of tolls in Connecticut, but also believes that building up Connecticut’s aging infrastructure would be a high priority for him as governor.

Steve Obsitnik  (R)

Steve Obsitnik, a Navy veteran and businessman, has never held political office before. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy and serving on a submarine, Obsitnik had a successful career in the field of technology and innovation.

Obsitnik surprised many at the state Republican convention earlier this summer when he received enough delegate votes to qualify to be on the primary election ballot.

As an outsider and a moderate, Obsitnik has campaigned against his opponents by painting them on one side as ‘career politicians and on the other,’ ‘self-interested plutocrats’.

His campaign platform is based around a plan to create 300,000 new jobs and raise wages by taking advantage of the intellectual talent along the center and shoreline of the state.

Bob Stefanowski (R)

Bob Stefanowski, a political outsider, opted to bypass the Republican state convention this year by collecting signatures in order to petition his way onto the primary election ballot.

Having never been previously elected to public office, Stefanowski was able to amass an impressive résumé, featuring executive roles at companies including General Electric and UBS.

Along with bypassing party delegates at the convention, Stefanowski is bankrolling his campaign completely from his own personal coffers, refusing to take any public campaign funding.

Stefanowski has been campaigning on his plan to eliminate the corporate income tax, business entity tax, personal income tax and the gift and estate taxes during his potential term as governor.

David Stemerman (R)

David Stemerman also opted to bypass the Republican convention this year and successfully petitioned his way onto the primary ballot.

After obtaining degrees from both Yale and Harvard, Stemerman launched the investment firm Conatus Capital in 2008, before closing it down earlier this year to run for governor.

Stemerman did not apply for public campaign funding and is self-funding his run for governor.

Stemerman is running on a platform that includes the promise of a balanced budget. He plans on balancing the state budget by renegotiating labor agreements and keeping residents from leaving the state and minimizing the tax base.

He believes that the state government must roll back regulations and decrease taxation. He has stated numerous times that tolls are not something he would allow as governor.  

Ned Lamont (D) Endorsed candidate

Ned Lamont’s experience in public office is limited to his one term as a selectman for the town of Greenwich.

Now running as the Connecticut Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for governor, Lamont’s only other experience running for statewide office came in 2006 when he defeated incumbent United States Senator Joseph Lieberman in the Democratic primary election. Lamont lost in the general election to Lieberman who ran as a third party independent candidate.

Before running for governor, Lamont held a career in telecommunications where he started his own telecom company for college campuses. He has since sold the company off. After losing the general election in 2006, Lamont began teaching political science and philosophy courses at Central Connecticut State University.

As governor, Lamont said he hopes to be able to create a more equal workplace in Connecticut by closing the wage gap, implementing a $15 minimum wage, guaranteeing paid family and medical leave and supporting the unions.

Another issue Lamont said he would focus on is Connecticut’s aging infrastructure. Lamont has proposed billions of dollars in infrastructure improvements and enhancements that he plans to pay for using revenue from tolls.  

Joe Ganim (D)

Joe Ganim is currently serving his sixth nonconsecutive term as mayor of Connecticut’s largest city, Bridgeport.

Ganim served as mayor of Bridgeport for 12 years before being convicted of racketeering, extortion and bribery while in office. He served seven years in federal prison before being reelected mayor in 2014.

After having not received the necessary 15 percent of the delegate votes at the state Democratic convention to get on the primary ballot, Ganim canvassed voters across the state for the necessary signatures to qualify.

Ganim has said that as governor he would continue to support the unions by implementing a $15 minimum wage and vetoing any “Right to Work” legislation passed by the legislature.

Andrew Miano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at

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