Where To Vote; What’s At Stake

Bass, Breen PhotosWhen voters decide Tuesday who will run Connecticut for the next four years, the number 18,000 will loom large in New Haven.

Or more precisely, 18,635.

That’s the victory margin Democrat Dannel P. Malloy had in New Haven four years ago when he won a second term as governor. He beat the Republican 21,926 to 3,291 here, his biggest vote pull statewide. No wonder he spent two years focused on the New Haven turnout.

On Tuesday Democrat Ned Lamont faces off against Republican Bob Stefanowski and independent “Oz” Griebel to succeed Malloy as governor. (Libertarian Rod Hanscomb and Mark Stewart Greenstein of the Amigo Constitution party are also on the ballot.) Lamont may need to come close to that magic 18,635 to win.

Polls open from 6 a.m. through 8 p.m. (Click here to find your polling place.)  Voters will also vote for U.S. senator, U.S. representative, state senator, probate judge, state representative, and state comptroller, secretary of the state, treasurer, and attorney general. Two referendum questions are on the ballot as well, calling for a more deliberate process for selling state parkland and setting up a transportation “lockbox.”

New Haven has produced the largest Democratic vote for the last two gubernatorial elections. In 2010, Malloy won New Haven by 18,613—and he won the general election by a mere 3,100. Malloy spent two years before the 2014 election repeatedly visiting New Haven to solidify his vote here. The same trend has held true for other statewide elections, making a big margin of victory of New Haven, with the state’s largest Democratic Party and a respected pulling operation run by Yale’s UNITE HERE unions, essential to any Democratic victory.

Lamont hasn’t focused on New Haven the way Malloy did. But elected officials here and UNITE HERE are backing him. Polls show Lamont and Stefanowski in a virtual tie. So the turnout in New Haven could as much as any other factor decide who wins.

In their campaigns, Lamont and Stefanowski have focused on two central issues:

• Who’s more or less like Malloy or Donald Trump. Lamont calls Trump-endorsed Stefanowski a Trump stand-in; Stefanowski calls Lamont Malloy II.
• Who’s more likely to lower your taxes. Stefanowski promises to wipe out the income tax over eight years. Lamont calls that irresponsible and unrealistic, saying he’ll instead cut property taxes as well as a $250 business entity tax. Griebel says they’re both lying about being able to close a projected $4 billion two-year deficit while cutting taxes.

Click here, here, here, and here for some background stories on where the candidates stand on these and other issues.

Poll-watchers on election night might want to watch five key New Haven wards where Malloy pulled the biggest margins in 2014 to monitor whether Lamont is matching his pace:

• Ward 7: Downtown, where Malloy won 1,302 to 170.
• Ward 10: (mostly) East Rock, where Malloy won 1,083 to 143.
• Ward 20: Newhallville, where Malloy won 1,021 to 27.
• Ward 25: Westville, where Malloy won 1,280 to 262.
• Ward 26: Upper Westville/Amity/Beverly Hills, where Malloy won 1,168 to 214.

While urban turnout will be crucial to the outcome, so will the votes of unaffiliated voters. The latest figures show Connecticut has 876,517 unaffiliated voters, 791,603 registered Democrats, and 462,948 registered Republicans.

State of the State

Bass, Breen PhotosAs in any election, the campaigns this year offer insights into the state of politics and political discourse in our state or at least test accepted notions.

For instance:

• Both major-party candidates have concluded that the only way to win is to focus almost exclusively on cutting taxes. For Lamont, that has meant not emphasizing issues like, say, criminal-justice reform. (Griebel, not Lamont or Stefanowski, held a New Haven press conference on the issue.) For Stefanowski that has meant a concerted and disciplined attempt to avoid answering questions or taking stands on any issues beyond cutting taxes.

• Stefanowski has concluded that the best way to win statewide office is to shun traditional party operatives or debates or techniques like seeking free (“earned”) media. That worked remarkably well in the five-way primary, in which he was an unknown. He ditched all but one debate while airing the earliest and most effective commercials. In the general election, he has largely avoided interviews beyond those with some sympathetic outlets.  (One exception: Interviews with the CT Mirror.) He has bypassed Connecticut Republican campaign networks, annoying some old-timers; Stefanowski is presumably unaware that Republicans have lost the last two gubernatorial contests and all U.S. Senate races since 1986.

• Stefanowski has also concluded that “Arthur Laffer” and “supply-side economics” are safe, advantageous terms with which to associate. Throughout his campaign, in all his releases and public IDs, he has revealed two facts about himself: He was an executive with USB and GE; and he has a tax-cutting plan he developed in conjunction with Arthur Laffer. Laffer invented the “Laffer Curve,” which purportedly demonstrates that cutting taxes on business and the wealthy magically produces more government revenues because all that freed-up money gets reinvested in the economy and creates jobs and new enterprises. Reagan’s budget director admitted back in the 1980s that his team didn’t really believe that when it cut taxes; since then economists of varying philosophical backgrounds have overwhelmingly rejected the notion. But the Laffer link has not appeared to produce any blowback to Stefanowski in 2018.

• New Haven’s Republican Party, under the direction of a new town chair, has decided that its candidates have the best chance of winning by shunning media interviews. The chair, Jeffrey Weiss, said he advised his candidates to decline (or ignore) requests for interviews because the local media is biased. The Republicans last elected a New Haven state legislator in the 20th century, a New Haven mayor in 1951. The most recent registration figures show registered Democrats outnumbering registered Republicans 28,817 to 2,456. (Another 15,699 voters are registered as unaffiliated.) All the city’s incumbent state legislators are running for reelection; click here for a story about one race in which the Republican has been visible and seeking to get his message out to a broad audience.

Other Races

Click here and here for stories about the two major-party candidates for U.S. senator, Chris Murphy and Matthew Corey; and here for a story about the two candidates for U.S. representative, Rosa DeLauro and Angel Cadena.


Click on the above video to watch the interview with Angel Cadena on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven.”


Click on the above video to watch the interview with Rosa DeLauro on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven.”

Following are videos of interviews with some statewide candidates who were interviewed on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven” program.

Click on the video for an interview with Republican attorney general candidate Sue Hatfield. Click here to read a story about that interview.


Click on the play arrow to watch the full interview with Republican comptroller candidate Kurt Miller. Click here and here to read stories about interviews with Miller.


Click on the play arrow for an interview with Demoratic attorney general candidate William Tong. Click here to read a story about that interview.


Click on the video to watch an interview with third-party gubernatorial candidates Rod Hanscomb (Libertarian) and Oz Griebel (Oz Griebel).

Click on the Facebook Live video for the full interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont. Click here to read a story about the interview.

Click on the Facebook Live video to hear a previous “Dateline New Haven” interview with Susan Bysiewicz (who first ran for governor, then lieutenant governor). Click here for a story about that interview.


Click on the above audio file of the Facebook Live video below to hear a previous interview with treasurer candidate Shawn Wooden on WNHH FM’s “Dateline New Haven” program. Click here to read a story about that interview.



And click on the above video to watch a leading Democrat and a leading Republican duke it out about their takes on this campaign season: party State Chairs J.R. Romano and Nick Balletto.

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posted by: BevHills730 on November 5, 2018  6:38pm

Fitting that the photo of Stefanowski doesn’t show him with any New Haven voters. 

Stefanowski has ignored New Haven this entire campaign, and he is running against our city.  New Haven must reject this attack and his Trump brand of politics. 

Time to get out the vote!!!

posted by: Noteworthy on November 6, 2018  6:11am

New Haven has the largest Democrat voting bloc because it encourages one party rule, makes it impossible to vote in new ideas or people and works hard to nurture and feed the low information, low education voter.

posted by: robn on November 6, 2018  7:34am

Democratic fiscal mismanagement notwithstanding, Stefanowski is clueless thinking he can abolish the income tax with no plan to provide basic minimum services from the state. Even if his plans are tenuous, LaMont is the only choice.

posted by: robn on November 6, 2018  7:37am

Oh yeah, and then there’s that little thing about GOP candidates enthusiasm for Donald Trump who’s basically been acting like pre-war Hitler minus the brains. Don’t these guys have any morals?

posted by: 1644 on November 6, 2018  8:44am

The Laffer curve certainly exists.  The question is where one is on the curve,  When Kennedy reduced tax rates from 75%, revenue did increase.  When Reagan reduced them from a much lower start, they did not.  The sensitivity of revenues to tax rates is also affected by the size of the taxing district.  The smaller the district, the greater the sensitivity.  North Haven, Wallingford, Milford, and Branford were able to entice businesses from New Haven with lower tax rates, putting those towns into a period of virtuous upward cycle, where more development meant more revenue and ever lower rates.  Meanwhile, New Haven entered a “death spiral” where the mill rate was increased on an ever shrinking tax base. 
  Like New Haven, Connecticut is a small geographic area.  Other than its ports, it has no natural resources like oil, coal, etc., that require businesses to locate here.  Its most profitable industry, finance, is extremely mobile.  Malloy has increased taxes on high earners, and increased welfare programs for low and no earners.  During this period, we have seen an aggragate outflow of high earners and inflow of low-earners and public assistance recipients.  The wealthy leave precisely because they are, as Wendy says, greedy.  They don’t want to pay more taxes than they have to, so they move. The wealthier they are, the easier it is to move. Lamont’s promise of ever higher taxes to support public employees will simply accelerate the death spiral.

posted by: JCFremont on November 6, 2018  9:23am

It’s called negotiating. While he might not eliminate the state income tax I’d rather work in that direction than going the other direction.

posted by: 1644 on November 6, 2018  10:11am

robn:  I know a lot of GOP candidates who are not enthusiastic about Trump.  Stefanowski changed his registration from Republican to Democrat after the Access Hollywood tape was released, and famously didn’t vote for Trump (or anyone).  Boughton said he voted for his dog.  The trick for Republican candidates is to appeal to both he enthusiastic Trump supporters and the never Trumpers, both of which exist in the party.

posted by: JCFremont on November 6, 2018  10:46am

Went to my voting poll station at a New Haven Firehouse. I showed my Photo ID to match my name on the voter rolls. Anyway we noticed the filled out paper ballots where being placed in a space in the voting machine they where not being scanned, we where told there was no power. Really the lights are on, the machine was not plugged in. Why, no extension cord? The coffee machine was using the lone outlet? Was the fact that this year we have a two sided ballot, are these scanners capable of scanning both sides? Call me old fashion but the old lever machines where the most exact and secure.

posted by: 1644 on November 6, 2018  11:24am

JCF:  Again, while the Democrats moan about “voter suppression”,  New Haven’s Democrats suppress the vote though incompetence.  The same folks that brought you the 2016 fiasco are still in charge.


I, too, liked the old lever machines.

posted by: ctddw on November 6, 2018  11:29am

There was an issue with the machine at Sheridan school in New Haven as well. Instead of being able to feed the ballot into the box normally the workers were having you place the ballot in through another opening in the machine. You were required to angle the voting sheet downward into a slot. Also not giving out the stickers that you voted. So basically I voted but have no proof and who knows if my ballot will even get counted.

posted by: JCFremont on November 6, 2018  1:48pm

@1644, agreed, every first Tuesday of November catches many of our board of electors by surprise. Remember the reason for 2000’s Hanging Chad circus was because no one had emptied the collecting boxes from previous elections, Brilliant!