HARTFORD — R. Nelson ‘Oz’ Griebel made it official Wednesday – he is running for governor as an independent candidate in 2018. He also announced that attorney Monte Frank of Newtown will be his running mate for lieutenant governor
Griebel, 68, and Frank, 49, said they will mount an unconventional campaign aimed at voters who are convinced the present state of the two-party system limits their choices and leads to government gridlock.
Griebel, who ran as a Republican candidate for governor in 2010, bristled when asked whether his entering the campaign as a third party candidate might siphon off votes from whoever gets the nomination from the GOP.
“I entered this race to win, not to be a spoiler,” Griebel said.
He added that he thought about running as a third party candidate in 2010 but decided not to, then.
Griebel added that one of the things that attracted him to an independent run “is that we can run right for governor and lieutenant governor. We don’t have to win any nominations.”
To get on the November, 2018 ballot, the duo need to collect 7,500 signatures.
“Connecticut voters believe in the strength and potential of our state, but they are convinced politics as usual is holding the state back,” Griebel said. “They feel no one is listening to their concerns. Listening, combined with collaboration, will be our way of doing business.”
“Polarized politics makes it almost impossible for well-intentioned people to come together for the good of the state on critical economic and social issues. We are an independent choice that puts the welfare of all Connecticut citizens above political party,” Griebel added.
Griebel left his post as at the MetroHartford Alliance, which is a business chamber organization for the Greater Hartford area, last week.
Incumbent Democrat Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said he will not be seeking re-election to a third term in 2018. There are a slew of announced and unannounced candidates – from both the Democratic and Republican parties – who are interested in replacing him.
In running for the Republican nomination in 2010 Griebel failed to win enough votes in the primary to proceed to the general election. That year, Republicans sent Tom Foley to challenge Malloy, who squeaked out a victory by a little over than 8,000 votes.
Frank is a partner with Pullman & Comley. Griebel, formerly a Republican, said he is delighted to have Frank, previously a lifelong Democrat, join his team.
Griebel and Frank said at the press conference that they both switched their registration to independent a few weeks ago – in anticipation of joining forces for their run.
“Today’s politics continually presents voters with false choices between liberal and conservative points of view,” Frank said. “The truth is, good government is the application of common sense. Most people are in the middle. Most people want government to run efficiently, and create an environment for success and opportunity for everyone,” Frank said.
“We can act with fiscal responsibility and protect our most vulnerable at the same time. That’s what I believe,” Frank added. That’s what Oz believes. Together we hope to break down barriers and provide non-partisan, leadership to Connecticut residents.”
Frank said that it is his and Griebel’s goal to make Connecticut a destination state for business and homeowners.
“We both have two girls,” Frank said. “None of them wants to come back to Connecticut.”
Griebel added that he wants to push initiatives that will start bringing jobs back to Connecticut. “I’m talking 100,000-150,000 jobs,” Griebel said. “We need to start thinking positively.”
Asked how he would accomplish that, Griebel said it would take a series of business friendly initiatives, adding: “We didn’t get into this mess in one day; we aren’t going to get out of it in one day.”
Griebel and Frank will not take part in Connecticut’s system of public financing, but they anticipate raising money from individuals for the campaign.
“Given the state’s fiscal situation it is irresponsible for any candidate to use public funds to pay for their campaign,” Griebel said. “The public financing of political campaigns will remove at least $30 million from the state budget in the coming year. That money could be used for social service programs or a variety of other critical needs much more important to the people of our state.”
Griebel conceded, “We are going to have a challenge in raising money” to face the multi-million dollars the GOP and Democratic Party nominees will have at his or her hands.
“But we believe we will get the appropriate financial support,” Griebel said, adding that the ticket will use social media among other strategies to hit the fundraising avenues necessary.
Griebel and Frank have bypassed the formation of an exploratory committee and are creating the required campaign committees in filings with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.