Face the Facts: Independent Party Talks About Stefanowski Legal Challenge

CT Independent Party Chairman Mike Telesca discusses the legal challenges from Republican Bob Stefanowski's campaign in the race of governor.

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The battle to be on the ballot in November ended up in the courtroom this week.

In addition to the Republican line on the ballot, Bob Stefanowski was hoping to get on the Independent Party endorsement line, too, and have his name listed there, as well.

But there was a dispute over the way the party handled its convention. When Independent candidate Rob Hotaling got the nod instead, Stefanowski lawyered up and said the party violated its own rules.

Independent candidate for governor Rob Hotaling joins Mike Hydeck and explains why he believes voters want another choice on the November ballot.

NBC Connecticut's Mike Hydeck spoke with Mike Telesca, the chairman of the Independent Party, about it.

Mike Hydeck: So do you believe the caucus vote, the way it was taken, violated your own party's rules? Some members who attended describe the meeting as chaotic that night.

Mike Telesca: Well, it was only chaotic when they found the results. And the Bob Stefanowski people screamed in outrage. But you gotta remember half the people there were for Rob Hotaling. So, you know, they want to call it chaotic, that's their version.

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Mike Hydeck: So Mr. Stefanowski's campaign indicated he thought this was personal and that you just didn't want him to get the Independent Party endorsement. What's your response to that?

Mike Telesca: I told him six months ago that we intended to run our own candidate. I've been telling him that consistently. And he keeps on saying "No, no, no, I can't have that." He wanted to make sure that he got it. And he spent all kinds of money trying to pack that caucus. It came close, but it didn't work.

Mike Hydeck: So now it goes to court. If the judge does rule in Mr. Stefanowski's favor, do you have a next move planned at this point?

Mike Telesca: Well, no, not really. Maybe, if we could, I don't know, if it's time for an appeal of that ruling, if that happens, but I mean, it's sort of like sour grapes from him. I really don't understand his purpose of doing this. Because all he wants to do is remove us from the ballot. Now we're running a gentleman of mixed ancestry and, you know, we want our own candidate and it was just really a bad move. I think it makes them look bad.

Mike Hydeck: What's your case for Mr. Hotaling, both being on the ballot, and why do you think he's a better candidate than Mr. Stefanowski to face off against the governor?

Mike Telesca: Well, he's a better candidate because he's a multiracial candidate, he's a young professional. He's up and coming and he's an IT guy. He really knows about how to modernize the state. And that's really what he wants to try to do. And, and he's a professional. He's got just as much credentials as Bob Stefanowski does. Bob Stefanowski never held elected office before. So I don't see how he feels like he's entitled. He's no better than anybody else we put up.

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