Bob Stefanowski, the former UBS, GE, and payday loan company executive emerged from a crowded field of Republicans to lock up the party’s nomination last night.
He says he would welcome a visit from President Donald Trump, who endorsed him Wednesday morning via Twitter, on the campaign trail.
“When you get endorsed by the President of the United States it makes you proud,” Stefanowski said during an interview in his Branford campaign headquarters. “I think he shows what a business person can do, recutting all of the lousy deals all of the prior administration.”
Stefanowski also faced attacks from Ned Lamont, but he coolly brushed them off as expected statements from his leading adversary for the next 85 days.
He said, “The Democrats are going to want to talk about anything other than this horrible economy and that’s what people care about. Eight years of failed economic policy under Dan Malloy that Ned Lamont’s going to continue.”
Something that can’t be denied was Stefanowski’s handling of his campaign operation which led to a convincing victory in a five-way primary.
Stefanowski, who was born in New Haven, raised in North Haven, and currently resides in Madison, essentially ignored the tried and true method of securing the party’s nomination. He did not engage with local party leaders, and he did not pursue the support of delegates in order to earn the party’s endorsement at the party’s May convention.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton won the endorsement, but finished a distant second to Stefanowski, losing by more than 11,600 votes.
Instead, Stefanowski prioritized fundraising, meeting likely voters, and communicating with them at an early stage.
“We sat down in January and we said I can either spend the next five months courting delegates and probably get the 15 percent, or I can go out and raise money and go up on TV and go directly to the 450,000 registered Republicans,” Stefanowski said. “And we decided to do that and it worked out.”
What also worked out was the campaign’s decision to forego the Citizens Election Program which provides funds for candidates to run for state office.
Stefanowski raised money on his own and used his personal funds for his bid, and it paid off, defeating another self-funder, David Stemerman, and Steve Obsitnik, Tim Herbst, and Boughton, each of whom received grants to pay for their campaigns.
Stefanowski says to expect his entire campaign to be focused on the economy, which he thinks will win him votes, even if repealing the income tax is a very difficult promise to keep.
“If we want a continuation of the last year of stagnant to negative economic growth, then pick Ned Lamont. If you want to lower taxes, start running this state like a business, cut costs, and get this economy going again, then vote for me,” he said. “We want this economy moving and that’s going to play well for me I really believe that.”