Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie file photo
Republican Bob Stefanowski at his only press conference last December (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie file photo)

HARTFORD, CT — Madison investment banker Bob Stefanowski is the first petitioning candidate for governor to qualify for the Republican primary. He’s also the first gubernatorial candidate in Connecticut history to petition his way onto the primary ballot. Republican Peter Schiff did it when he was running for U.S. Senate in 2010.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office said it received more than 10,900 valid signatures. Stefanowski only needed 9,081 to qualify.

“The extensive state-wide field organization we built and our database of over 16,000 registered Republicans is unmatched by any other Republican or Democratic candidate,” Stefanowski said in a press release.

Stefanowski’s strategy was different than that of Republican David Stemerman. Stemerman is also seeking to petition his way onto the ballot, but did not necessarily target Republican homes. Stemerman went to more public locations and had paid and volunteer staffers collect signatures from people who said they were registered Republicans.

Stefanowski’s campaign went to the homes of registered Republican voters, which helped guarantee those voters were actually registered as Republicans.

Most voters haven’t registered to vote in years, unless they’ve moved, and many don’t remember how they registered.

Stefanowski, who didn’t participate in the Republican convention or any of the Republican Party sponsored debates, has been spending money on television advertising. He’s not participating in the clean election program like the other three candidates who qualified through the convention process.

“While other candidates have struggled for months to submit accurate data to get a $1.2 million taxpayer grant each to fund their campaign, we were able to collect, validate and report data from over 16,000 republicans in the span of 45 days,” Patrick Trueman, Stefanowski’s campaign manager, said Monday. “This shows the stark contrast in the leadership of seasoned business person like Stefanowski as compared to the incompetence displayed by many career politicians. At this critical point in our state’s history, Connecticut needs Bob’s type of leadership more than ever.”

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, and Westport businessman Steve Obsitnik are still waiting for state election regulators to approve their $1.35 million primary grants. They are on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting.