Bob Stefanowski has become public enemy number one among the crowded GOP field for governor.
The former GE and UBS executive started his campaign for governor about a year ago and has been running ads for months, boosting the name recognition of a political newcomer.
But, a new attack ad from one of his opponents has shined a light on Stefanowski and appears to have opened the floodgates for attacks on the former executive.
David Stemerman, a former hedge fund manager who is also running for governor, paid for the ad which accurately assesses Stefanowski’s past as a registered Democrat who did not vote for President Donald Trump, and even made donations to Democratic candidates for office.
Tim Herbst, the former first selectman of Trumbull, who is also seeking the GOP nomination, criticized the notion of an outsider candidate and reserved his harshest criticism for both Stemerman and Stefanowski.
“Historically we have run candidates that have never won elections that are not battle tested that are not battle ready, that are unvetted, untested, and unproven,” Herbst, said. “Because we are the land of steady habits, we know that it doesn’t end well.”
You don’t have to look back far to find failed outsider candidates running for statewide office. Linda McMahon, Tom Foley, and even the current Democratic front-runner Ned Lamont all mounted expensive, failed campaigns for statewide office.
Herbst expects the same would happen to Stefanowski, which is why he warns GOP primary voters of supporting Stefanowski over himself.
“[GOP voters] don’t like when they see that people are trying to hijack their party.”
For his part, Stefanowski welcomes the criticism. He told NBC Connecticut in a statement, “All of the polls show me firmly in the lead with three weeks to go. I can only imagine how frustrating this is for David Stemerman who has spent over $3.0 million and the other insider candidates. That is why they slinging mud at me rather than focusing on what voters want to hear, who has a plan to eliminate the state income tax and rebuild Connecticut.”