Independent candidate for governor Rob Hotaling joins Mike Hydeck and explains why he believes voters want another choice on the November ballot.
Mike Hydeck: Some background on this: Connecticut has nearly two dozen smaller political parties, a few of which usually qualified to be on the ballot. Among them, the Working Families Party, the Independent Party caucus, oftentimes the Green Party, sometimes others. These are ones you might have heard before. So if they don't have a clear candidate in their ranks, they often pick one of the major party candidates to endorse. And in 2018, that Independent Party caucus endorsed Republican Bob Stefanowski. This time around, though he didn't. And he's now filing a lawsuit over how that was decided. Joining me now is Rob Hotaling. He's the candidate who did get the endorsement.. He's a senior VP at Webster Bank, also a tech entrepreneur. He's been a member of both the Republican and Democratic parties in the past. Mr. Hotaling, welcome to Face the Facts.
Rob Hotaling: Thanks for having me, Mike.
Mike Hydeck: So here's your chance, why are you a better candidate than Bob Stefanowski to face off against the governor?
Rob Hotaling: I think that I have a very different background. I'm a proven problem solver across multiple industries, where I've clearly demonstrated results, high levels of accountability, transparency and problem solving. So I just have a fundamental different approach in execution than he does.
Mike Hydeck: Now, you're also a business owner like he was in business as well. Do you feel like you can deal with the economy and all levels of people in our state to try to make things better?
Rob Hotaling: Yes, especially I've been a leader at various levels. I've started several companies, my most most well known one is a gunshot detection company. I've had other small businesses. I've also worked in large corporate environments like I do now, responsible for systems that have billions of dollars of other people's money flowing through them. So I think I'm well qualified for the office.
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Mike Hydeck: So Bob Stefanowski is filing a lawsuit alleging that the voting process in the Independent caucus convention didn't follow the bylaws that night. What's your take on that?
Rob Hotaling: Well, that's not for me to speculate or weigh in on really. I didn't create the policies of the party. I am a member and I'm running my campaign, and I'm going to move forward towards the November 8th election. So really, what I think this fundamentally comes down to is more choice more, more voices. So the only thing different that would change is I'm not on the ballot. I think the will of the voters per some recent polls showed that the average Connecticut voter wants more choice on that November 8th ballot.
Mike Hydeck: What are your top three issues? Would you say? Are you concerned about the economy, are you concerned, about childcare, are you concerned about jobs? What would you choose as your top three elements?
Rob Hotaling: Our top three, really, it's still the jobs in business. So we understand that we're lower, close to the bottom of the nation in terms of business friendliness. So making things more efficient and friendly for businesses is our job number one. Second are the Independent Party and the unaffiliated, which is actually the largest voting bloc in the state. I would ask them to consider the Independent Party since you get more benefits, but they've made it clear electoral reform is a top issue for the party and the unaffiliated. That's the second issue. And then the third issue really is school reform. We feel that there's a lot of improvements that we could make in terms of money allocation, and improper disbursements and closing the achievement gap, which is one of the worst in the nation as well.
Mike Hydeck: And that's been for decades now. The political climate is so volatile across the country, in your opinion, what's it going to take for a smaller independent party to become more mainstream and get on the ballot in a regular basis?
Rob Hotaling: Well, first of all, I think this is a huge win, monumental, in terms of it's a David versus Goliath. And I'm glad that we actually won. And so really what people are yearning for is not a left, not a right, but a middle lane, which is what we represent the Independent Party and my campaign represent the middle, where we believe most people want a safe place in order to come together and make long lasting, real solutions.
Mike Hydeck: So where does your campaign go from here? Do you have to wait till the lawsuit is decided? How will that affect what you're doing now?
Rob Hotaling: It doesn't affect anything we're doing. We're going to proceed as if we're going to be on the ballot. We know. I'm pretty confident that the courts will side on the right side of history on this, and we're gonna do some fundraising, get more ads out there, get the name out there. But again, I would get the independent party brand out there. I think the affiliates need to consider this since they are the largest voting bloc in the state in terms of our party.
Mike Hydeck: Rob Hotaling, Independent Party candidate for governor, thanks so much for joining us on Face the Facts today.