ctnewsjunkie file photo
Oz Griebel (ctnewsjunkie file photo)

HARTFORD, CT — While the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor duke it out in debates and through television ads, Oz Griebel is working to collect 7,500 signatures to get on the ballot in November.

“It’s a full court press,” Griebel said Friday in a phone interview.

The Secretary of the State’s office said as of Friday it certified 3,592 signatures for Griebel’s candidacy.

“It’s a challenge,” Griebel admitted.

He said they decided to have volunteers help with the collection effort, instead of hiring a firm like David Stemerman or Bob Stefanowski’s campaigns did.

Griebel has raised $153,000 and loaned his campaign another $67,500 for his independent gubernatorial bid and only had about $12,600 cash on hand on June 30, the end of the last reporting period.

In order to qualify, Griebel will likely have to turn in more than 7,500 signatures from voters because some will be tossed. However, unlike in the party primaries he can get signatures from Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters, which gives him a much wider pool of voters.

He has until Aug. 8 to turn in the signatures then the towns have two weeks to certify the signatures and get them over to the Secretary of the State’s office.

Griebel remained confident that despite the difficulty of the task that his campaign will get past the hurdle.

“The process is definitely cumbersome,” Griebel said.

He said they have a low rejection rate. He said most of the signatures they submitted was because the person signed a petition for the wrong town or their printed name was ilegible.

In the meantime, Griebel continues to show up every Friday at the Capitol press room to promote his position on one issue or another.

His campaign is aimed at those who are frustrated with the two-party system and wanted a different choice. The former head of the MetroHartford Alliance Griebel wants to increase private sector jobs by 200,000 within 10 years.

“We didn’t get into mess in 10 minutes and we’re not going to get out in 10 minutes,” Griebel said.

He’s suggested looking at eliminating the $250 Business Entity Tax and setting up a congestion tolling system in the High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes.

Griebel sought the Republican nomination for governor in 2010. He’s running with attorney Monte Frank, who is a Democrat.

Two Democrats and five Republicans will duke it out on Aug. 14 in a primary for their chance to get on the November ballot.

So far none of the candidates running in the primary have pulled petitions for November, but there’s still time for them to change their mind. They would have to collect all the signatures by Aug. 8, which means they will have to make a decision in advance of that competition.

Not unlike former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who petitioned his way onto the November ballot before losing the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont.

Lamont is one of the two Democratic candidates vying for governor this year. The other is Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim.

Republican candidates for governor include Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, Steve Obsitnik, David Stemerman, and Bob Stefanowski.