Recapping Stefanowski’s Disastrous Campaign for Governor
Hartford, CT – When Bob Stefanowski started his campaign for Governor, he was already unprepared for the job — and the former loan shark and pawn shop CEO has no doubt exhibited is extreme views since the primary. From being endorsed by Donald Trump, to giving the President an ‘A’ grade for job performance, to refusing to comment on vowing to repeal the common-sense legislation passed after Sandy Hook, to embracing anti-vaxxer rhetoric, to taking a “pass” on Brett Kavanaugh, to opposing the minimum wage entirely, to promoting a radical, Kansas-style tax scheme that would decimate 60 percent of the state budget, and so much more, Stefanowski has shown that he is too extreme for Connecticut.
So how did we get here? Well…
- The morning after the primary, Ned Lamont held a press conference vowing to uphold Connecticut values in the face of challenges from the Trump administration. While Stefanowski refused to come out and talk to the press, he did get a big surprise that he describes as “pretty cool.”
- That morning, President Trump — who has ripped babies from their mother’s arms, rolled back environmental regulations, said there were “good people on both sides” of the Charlottesville tragedy, whose campaign is currently under investigation for colluding with Russia, and has publicly attacked and mocked women — endorsed him.
- Shortly after, Bob said he would welcome President Trump to campaign with him. So far, that hasn’t happened.
- Yet, from the outset, Ned told Connecticut what this race was about: Connecticut values versus Trump ones.
- As President Trump delivered a tax break that gave 83% of the benefit to the top 1% across the country, Bob Stefanowski promised to completely eliminate the income tax over eight years here in Connecticut.
- It is a plan premised on an economic theory that has been widely debunked, and called “junk economics”.
- Even George H.W. Bush has called the economic theory on which it’s based “voodoo economics”. You may also recall it being mocked in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, here.
- Ned Lamont exposed Stefanowski’s tax scheme for what it was: a scheme to give back to the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
- The same scheme happened in Kansas–and it devastated the state by gutting education and cutting critical services. In Kansas, the plan was called “a full blown disaster.”
- Some have called Stefanowski’s scheme “fantasy”. Others have called it “La La Land.” Even Republican Minority Leader Themis Klarides called it “silly.”
- But the reality is that it would have a huge impact on voters across Connecticut. As it gives the top 400 families alone — or just 0.025% of the state, more than $1.3 billion in tax breaks annually, it disproportionately benefits the very top.
- Who pays for it? Middle-class families do.
- That’s because Stefanowski’s plan would cut town aid altogether, raising property taxes in all 169 of 169 towns–in some cases by more than double.
- Big cities like Hartford and New Haven would see rises like 126% and 116% respectively, while small towns Mayors from across the state condemned his plan because it would drastically cut aid to towns and cities and cut services that middle-class families rely on.
- As property taxes would rise, massive cuts would occur. More than $1 billion would be cut from schools, 8,600 teachers would be laid off, veterans would see benefits cut, tuition would increase, the state would default on debt payments, and more.
- While Ned was talking about the damaging effects of the scheme, Bob was talking about tax cuts for the top as he attended a party, which also included a reputed white nationalist, for Larry Kudlow, who recently said, “A federal minimum wage is a terrible idea,” — a position similar to Stefanowski’s. More on that later though.
- When it was first reported, and as the world watches hate and bigotry explode across America, Bob Stefanowski initially declined to comment when asked. It then took a couple hours to muster up the courage to lightly condemn white supremacy.
- Weeks after Stefanowski called Donald Trump’s endorsement “pretty cool,” two of Donald Trump’s top campaign advisors were either convicted or pleaded guilty to crimes. You would think that anyone would speak out about potential crimes against our country.
- Yet, Stefanowski refused to comment, though he continued to argue that Trump’s endorsement was “cool.”
- It was a tough month, and as of August 29th, Stefanowski still hadn’t held a single public press conference.
- But when Stefanowski did talk to the press, he was praising Trump’s economic policy, again and again. I guess Stefanowski didn’t bother to Google that Trump’s tax cuts mostly benefited the wealthy. In Connecticut, the top 1% of earners received 63% of the tax cut.
- Meanwhile, Ned Lamont was standing up for small businesses affected by Trump’s tariffs, which kill jobs and threaten businesses across Connecticut.
- Bob Stefanowski, on the other hand, supported the tariffs as “a negotiating tactic” and actually called President Trump “smart.”
- Right in time for Labor Day, we heard Stefanowski’s thoughts on the minimum wage. He said he was “against the minimum wage,” even though it affects over 800,000 workers in the state of Connecticut and 60% of working women in the state are paid hourly.
- As if his opposition to the minimum wage wasn’t enough, the Hartford Courant also reported that while he was at a British private equity firm, he bragged to a trade magazine that he could easily outsource American manufacturing jobs: “I can pick up the phone and call the woman who runs our Beijing office or our Hong Kong office.”
- Oral arguments began in a case putting coverage for pre-existing conditions in danger. Months earlier the Trump administration announced they would not protect that provision of the Affordable Care Act. Stefanowski was silent.
- With those kinds of extreme views, it’s no wonder Stefanowski also refused to debate Ned Lamont at the first gubernatorial debate in September.
- As Dr. Christine Blasey Ford bravely shared her experience of assault with the country, Bob Stefanowski refused to take a stand against Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.
- Women across Connecticut spoke out. Protests ensued. And Stefanowski remained silent.
- Then, a debate came. And Bob Stefanowski took a “pass” on standing up for women in the face of sexual violence.
- At that same debate, Bob Stefanowski said the Affordable Care Act didn’t help Connecticut. As health care is under attack nationally–Stefanowski’s comments were not just shocking. They were inaccurate.
- Democrats applauded the Connecticut legislature’s vote to ban bump stocks. Stefanowski was predictably silent, but we know his running mate voted against a ban on bump stocks. Bump stocks were used in the Las Vegas Massacre, one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. History.
- Stefanowski then started a women’s coalition, which was a paper-thin attempt to mask his anti-woman agenda.
- As it turned out, one of his “chairs” is a paid consultant who doesn’t currently live in the state of Connecticut. Stefanowski also has a running mate who has voted against “yes means yes,” and against equal pay for equal work.
- President Trump offensively mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and since Stefanowski gave Trump an “A” and celebrated his endorsement, Bob had a moral obligation to women across the state to repudiate his behavior.
- Instead, Stefanowski refused to comment directly and his running mate, Joe Markley, claimed he hadn’t seen the video.
- That’s pretty hard to believe, especially since that moment immediately went viral, seen by tens of millions…except, apparently, somehow, the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut did not. Hmm.
- Then, after Stefanowski refused to say anything about Dr. Ford, he was asked about climate change. He said that he didn’t “understand the science of it” and that it was a federal issue, even as Connecticut is already being affected by the urgent issue of global warming.
- WFSB ran a story on Stefanowski’s tax scheme in which Quinnipiac economist called out Stefanowski’s scheme saying, “The cuts were so bad and they failed to deliver on the three areas that they promised, which would be increased jobs, increased population and increased disposable income.”
- After economists rejected his scheme, Bob espoused more of his 1950s, anti-woman agenda, saying that he wanted to “take care of women.” Yikes. Ned Lamont, meanwhile, wrote about how women don’t need to be taken care of, they need policies like equal pay for equal work, something the Republican ticket is against.
- But then came the alarming details about Stefanowski’s loan shark, pawn shop, and payday lending business, which charged consumers interest rates so high, “it is not even allowed to do business in Connecticut.”
- The Connecticut Post also found that while Bob has opposed tolls on Connecticut roads, his own private equity group had invested more than $100 million in a toll road developer.
- Even more alarming, while he was at 3i, he served on the board of a pharmaceutical company whose clinical trials killed 22 people in India. Those subjects were referred to as “guinea pigs” by a British newspaper.
- On top of that, while Bob talks about his business experience, the Connecticut Post also reported that Stefanowski’s private equity firm was at the center of controversy over a British sex trafficking ring involving a children’s residential care facility owned by the firm.
- The Connecticut Post concluded the month of October with another story on Stefanowski’s payday lending past revealing that despite Stefanowski’s claim of turning the company around, “one of his top lieutenants” fought attempts to lower interest rate caps in Hawaii, and his company spent tens of thousands lobbying the state government.
- The entire claim that he went there to “clean up” the company was bogus.
- Then, new math emerged, showing that his tax scheme would give the top 400 people in Connecticut $1.3 billion in tax breaks annually. The top 4,000 people — who earn more than $2 million annually — would get an additional $600,000 each under his plan.
- But back to Stefanowski’s social positions. NBC then reported on shocking footage of Bob Stefanowski embracing the anti-vaccine movement, saying “I don’t think we should be forcing people to inject a ton of chemicals into their kids.”
- Then the Daily Beast Reported on his anti-vaxxer comments.
- Then Chelsea Clinton tweeted about his anti-vaxxer comments.
- Then The Hill picked it up.
- Then, doctors from across Connecticut wrote an open letter about it.
- Then “A Voice For Choice” endorsed Stefanowski.
- And it was a full-blown disaster for his campaign.
- While that was happening, Bob Stefanowski came out swinging against the minimum wage, saying that we should “Let the private sector decide what the right level to pay people is – not the government.”
- Footage uncovered from a Quiet Corner Tea Party event reveal that Bob Stefanowski believes the commonsense legislation passed after Sandy Hook was “not a good bill” and that gun free school zones “can be a bad thing.”
- Advocates from across Connecticut decried his comments, as well as his “A” grade from the NRA.
- When asked to release his NRA questionnaire to prove that he did not promise to roll back Sandy Hook laws, he refused.
- And then finally — FINALLY! — he released his tax returns. After claiming that he hasn’t had the dollars to compete for this campaign, records show he earned $16 million over the past two years.
- If all that were not enough, it emerged that the Connecticut Realtors Association is using ex-Cambridge Analytica operatives — the same ones who helped tip the election to Donald Trump — to help Stefanowski win.
It’s been a quite a ride, but here’s the bottom line: Bob Stefanowski would be the most extreme, right-wing Governor in Connecticut history.
So would his running mate.
We know that he would roll back Sandy Hook legislation, we know that he would roll back women’s access to reproductive health, we know he would roll back the Affordable Care Act, we know he will uphold Trump values, and we know his scheme will decimate education, gut infrastructure, and cut aid to towns and cities–all so he can give 400 wealthy families a multi-million dollar tax break.
How do we know? He’s told us for months.