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Welcome to the CTNewsJunkie’s March Madness Election 2018 Second Round Wildcard “Primary” contest!

This region of our Election 2018 bracket includes a collection of independent candidates and others from within the ranks of the Democratic and Republican parties who have yet to reach critical mass with respect to fundraising.

Oz Griebel, the former MetroHartford Alliance President and CEO, easily won the first round contest with 53.71 percent on 152 votes to advance to the Primary round. The second place spot was decided by just three votes with Republican Eric Mastroianni advancing.

Our second round of voting closes SUNDAY, March 25, at NOON.

Vote below! You will need to switch OFF any ad blockers you have running to ensure that the poll shows up. If you’ve switched off your ad blocker but still don’t see the poll, you probably aren’t in the right state to be eligible to vote! (Results will be displayed regardless of location after voting closes).

Round 2 Results

Susan’s Pre-Tournament Analysis


I love this batch of wild cards. This group is filled with unknowns, independents, fringe candidates — and maybe a future governor.

Oz Griebel, former MetroHartford Alliance President and CEO, ran for the Republican nomination in 2010. He turned out to not be conservative enough, and lost to Tom Foley. Griebel is running as an independent, this time, and could wind up playing either the spoiler or the second coming of Lowell Weicker’s 1990 campaign. He has strong credentials and is well-known and well-liked.

Eric Mastroianni is a U.S. Navy veteran, union member, and an almost complete unknown. He is attending debates, speaking up, and laying out positions. He’ll have to work very hard to be heard above the fray, however!

Mark Stewart Greenstein is a businessman whose campaign might be lost in the noise except for one thing: he’s promising to bring the Whalers back. Your analyst has seen several “Stewart for Liberty” signs around East Hartford with Pucky the Whale on the back. His website also has a prominent libel warning on it, so tread carefully!

Peter Thalheim, a real estate sales agent and builder, is a Greenwich businessman and German immigrant. He may also be self-funding. That’s about it so far. Thalheim needs to find a way to make a splash if he wants his campaign to go anywhere.

Joe Visconti, a 2014 candidate for governor and contractor, is an outspoken and entertaining character who made what could have been a spoiler run as an independent four years ago. He dropped out and endorsed Tom Foley at the last moment, not that it helped. Expect Visconti to grab headlines.

ADDENDUM: Well, that did not take very long…

Joe Visconti apparently changed his plans this weekend without sending us a press release, once again creating disarray right before people start voting. We may be running a mock election here… but the disarray is real, people! He’s either running for governor, U.S. Senate, dogcatcher, or President of Mars. Who knows?

Micah Wellintukonis, a US Army veteran and former Coventry Town Council member, won the Purple Heart for being severely injured while trying to save fellow soldiers as a medic in Afghanistan. One of the centerpieces of his campaign is to change the state constitution to allow for recall of governors.

Lee Whitnum is a writer who has run for many, many different offices. Her campaign this time around is dedicated to “cleaning up the Connecticut judiciary,” which she sees as hopelessly corrupt.

Jacey Wyatt is a businesswoman whose campaign is grounded in that fact that she is a transgender woman. Oh, my sweet summer child.

UPDATE: We apparently missed Rod Hanscomb in our early canvassing. He is the Libertarian candidate, and he’s also trying for the Independent Party’s endorsement. In our current climate, Libertarians actually seem kind of milquetoast.

Susan’s Picks: Oz Griebel, Joe Visconti, Mark Stewart Greenstein

Round One Results

Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.

DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com.