Lamont agrees to two debates with Stefanowski in governor’s race

Lamont agrees to 2 debates with Stefanowski in race for governor
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 7:28 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - The governor’s race is heating up but there will be fewer debates.

Governor Ned Lamont’s campaign said there will only be two, while Republican Bob Stefanowski said he wants more.

In 2018 there were five gubernatorial debates. The candidates at the time were Democrat Ned Lamont, Republican Bob Stefanowski and Independent candidate Oz Griebel.

This time around there will be fewer debates because Lamont only wants to do two.

“I am in. Any place, anywhere, anytime I am in. At a minimum we should be doing four or five debates,” said Stefanowski.

Stefanowski said he’s ready.

“Debates and forums are essential parts of the democratic process and Governor Lamont looks forward to participating,” Lamont said.

WFSB and our political coverage partners Hearst CT Media submitted a proposal for a televised debate to both campaigns.

It is our understanding that several other organizations also proposed debates.

Stefanowski was willing to do the debate proposed by WFSB/Hearst CT Media, but Lamont’s campaign announced Friday they were only doing two debates.

Stefanowski stood in front of Sema4 Monday in Branford, a company that did COVID testing during the pandemic for the state.

Lamont’s wife Annie is a managing partner in a company that invested in Sema4. While an investigation found no wrongdoing, some feel it’s still a conflict of interest.

“The ethics committee should not allow this stuff,” said Stefanowski.

While Annie Lamont’s company may have benefitted from Sema4′s state contract, there’s no evidence Governor Lamont violated any state ethics. This is something that may come up in a debate.

“The idealist in me says it really matters, that people gain an insight on these candidates,” said Scott McLean, Political Science Professor at Quinnipiac University.

McLean says research shows debates are good for those who have not been focused on the campaigns but most voters have already made up their mind.

McLean also said debates are advantageous to candidates who may be behind in the polls.

“The incumbent, especially if they have a little lead in the polls, they don’t want to do these debates, they can only lose,” McLean said.

The candidate who is trailing, or less known, is more likely to want to take every chance they get to poke holes in the incumbent.

Independent candidate Rob Hoteling will be part of at least one debate. There are however a few candidate forums.

Lamont cutting back on debates in race for governor