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Second Governor's Debate Degrades Into Personal Attacks

Democrat Ned Lamont Photo Credit: WCTX screengrab
Republican Bob Stefanowski Photo Credit: WCTX screengrab
Bob Stefanowski, left, and Ned Lamont during Monday night's televised debate in the race for governor. Photo Credit: WCTX screengrab

Monday's second gubernatorial debate was less about budget details and more about personal attacks.

Poll
Who do you think won the second governor's debate on Sept. 17?
Final Results Voting Closed

Who do you think won the second governor's debate on Sept. 17?

  • Democrat Ned Lamont
    23%
  • Republican Bob Stefanowski
    61%
  • Neither candidate
    16%

"I'm not sure what you know,'' Republican Bob Sfefanowski said about Democrat Ned Lamont, prompting boos from the audience.

"I've never heard such arrogance,'' Lamont said to groans. "My way or the highway. I'm right and you're wrong. You need a governor who can reach out across the aisles."

Lamont and Stefanowski are running to succeed Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat who decided not to seek re-election on Nov. 6.

Monday's 60-minute televised debate was held at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven.

Lamont, a cable TV entrepreneur from Greenwich, repeatedly complained that Stefanowski has yet to detail where he would cut the state budget. "The math doesn't add up. It's a false promise,'' Lamont said.

Stefanowski of Madison accused Lamont of repeatedly shifting his positions -- "pandering to the polls" -- on such topics as taxes and tolls: "I can't follow the bouncing ball. Now he's a tax-cutter. That's exactly why people don't trust politicians."

"There's another pivot,'' Stefanowski said of Lamont's revised plan to charge tolls to out-of-state tractor-trailers. "Of course he's going to put tolls back on the roads" for everyone, Stefanowski said.

Stefanowski, a former chief executive officer for General Electric and chief financial officer at UBS, said the best way to create jobs and solve most of the state's problems "is a growing economy."

"We can attract companies to want to be here. Let's cut taxes. Let's bring back jobs,'' Stefanowski said. "The best way to get a vibrant economy is to do the exact opposite of what Dan Malloy did."

"The choice in this election is becoming crystal clear. He's going to make bigger government and spend more,'' Stefanowski said.

Lamont replied, "Well, there you go again, Bob. You're running against Dan Malloy. Where were you in 2010? Where were you in 2014? Where was Bob?"

"I will put Connecticut back to work and get Connecticut working again," Lamont said.

"I don't know about you guys but I see higher taxes coming a mile away. I really do," Stefanowski predicted.

Both candidates have agreed to three more debates on Sept. 26, Oct. 18 and Oct. 30.

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