Candidates for governor square off in final debate

Final debate in race for governor
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 8:30 AM EDT
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UNCASVILLE, CT (WFSB) - A few jabs were exchanged Tuesday night between the candidates for Connecticut governor.

The second and final debate was held with Democrat Gov. Ned Lamont, Republican Bob Stefanowski and independent Rob Hotaling.

The debate took place at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.

With just a week to go before the election, it was the last chance for the three candidates to make their final pitches.

Stefanowski was the aggressor, Lamont fought back, and Hotaling said he had the best plan.

On the economy, Lamont said Connecticut is in a better place.

“Four years ago, we were looking we were looking at a $2 billion budget deficit,” Lamont said.

Stefanowski strongly disagreed.

“I think Gov. Lamont is living in a different state than Rob and I are,” Stefanowski said.

Stefanowski said he wants to use half of the state’s $6 billion surplus to give more relief to taxpayers. He kept calling it a “slush fund.”

Hotaling agreed with Lamont to keep the rainy-day fund. Other governors spent the surplus, and then had to increase taxes.

“It would be irresponsible to spend it,” Hotaling said.

On taxes, Lamont highlighted his budget, which cut $650 million. Stefanowski said he wants to cut more. Hotaling said the state needed restraint on spending and taxes.

On crime, which was the most heated topic by far, Stefanowski doubled down and called Lamont anti-police. He attacked a police reform bill Lamont signed, which limited qualified immunity and made officers liable in extreme cases of excessive force.

Connecticut and the country have a shortage of police. Stefanowski said cops don’t feel respected.

Lamont called out Stefanowski for not supporting a ban on assault weapons and ghost guns. Two Bristol police officers were killed last month in an ambush by a man waiting for them with an AR-15, an assault-style rifle.

“We absolutely need to hold people accountable in the police force who do something wrong, but I think it’s overreaching when you are down hundreds of cops and cops are now being shot at,” Stefanowski said.

“The assault-style weapons should not be grandfathered in Connecticut,” Lamont said. “I think they are killers. We found out they are cop-killers. And you’re not serious about crime if you leave them on the street.”

Hotaling said he was stopped and harassed by police. He supports accountability.

“I understand it’s a difficult job and you have to give them the best tools to do that, but for someone who has gone through that harrowing experience where someone has their hand on the holster and is shouting at you, it’s scary,” Hotaling said.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

The final debate in the race for Connecticut governor was held Tuesday night.