Neither gubernatorial candidate pulled punches on Wednesday night in the first of four debates before the Nov. 6 election.
Who won the televised debate for governor on Sept. 12?
Democrat Ned Lamont
Republican Bob Stefanowski
Republican Bob Stefanowski of Madison came out swinging by labeling Democrat Ned Lamont as a clone of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
"Dan Malloy has absolutely ruined this state. With Ned Lamont, it's actually going to be worse,'' Stefanowski said. "He's going to raise taxes and put up tolls."
Lamont, a cable TV entrepreneur from Greenwich, swung back by saying he has heard no details about how Stefanowski would pay for his promises including income tax cuts.
"That is just right out of fantasy land,'' Lamont said.
"I can take a billion of cost out of this budget,'' Stefanowski said, insisting that state government has too many agencies, while the private sector can be asked for help.
"I will not raise taxes. We will get the tax rate down," Stefanowski said, "And we will get this economy moving again."
"We have to balance the budget in our state,'' Lamont said. "This is a state that already sends too much money to Washington."
Lamont said Stefanowski's proposed income tax cut "will benefit the millionaires by far" and bankrupt the rest of the state: "He's going to create fiscal mayhem."
Lamont also blasted Stefanowski for failing to vote in Connecticut while he was a chief executive officer working for General Electric and UBS.
"I was overseas for 10 years," Stefanowski said. "I should have filed an absentee ballot."
Stefanowski said that Lamont brags about his cable company, but he laid off 75 percent of his workers and gave himself a bonus. "I'm quite comfortable that i'm the agent of change and you are not,''' Stefanowski said.
While Stefanowski said that Lamont sounds "like a clone of Dan Malloy,'' Lamont pushed back by criticizing Stefanowski's support for and from President Trump. "There's no question you have a very close relationship with Donald Trump and vice versa,'' Lamont said.
The Wednesday, Sept. 12 debate was sponsored by News 8, The Day and the Garde Arts Theater in New London.
Both candidates have agreed to debate on Sept. 26, Oct. 18 and Oct. 30.
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