Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Protester holds a sign up (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski’s staff was unsuccessful at stopping protesters from showing up with signs reminding Republican voters he didn’t vote for President Donald Trump and was registered as a Democrat in 2016.

Stefanowski’s staff were worried about protesters and had tried to set up the press conference, which featured their candidate signing a term limit pledge, in order to avoid an unwanted photos.

It had happened to former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst when he held a press conference at the same location a few months ago.

The signs held by three protesters Thursday said things like “Bob is a DEM,” and “Why Didn’t You Vote for Trump? (or at all for 17 years?).”

As soon as Stefanowski signed the pledge he thanked the handful of reporters and left without taking any questions.

When reporters caught up to him after the press conference he still declined to answer any questions. There were no promises made by this campaign manager that he planned to answer any questions about his proposed “taxpayer bill of rights” or his plan to balance Connecticut’s budget and improve its economy.

“Bob Stefanowski has been running away from his record as a committed Democrat this entire campaign and where his real allegiances lie, today he demonstrated that from running away from reporters and ducking the questions that Republican voters need to have answered,” Pat O’Neil, a spokesman from Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton’s campaign said.

Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Bob Stefanowski (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

Stefanowski paid Art Laffer $50,000 for a 26-page economic plan, which includes many graphs and charts, but little information about how he would balance a state budget that’s $2 billion in deficit without laying off any state employees. Under a deal approved by the legislature in July 2017 state employees are protected from layoffs until 2020.

Stefanowski maintained Thursday that he would “run Connecticut like a business.”

He didn’t say where he would cut spending, but he said he wants to eliminate the income tax over the next eight years. He would also phase out or decrease the corporation tax.

At least three of Stefanowski’s Republican opponents don’t believe eliminating the income tax is possible.

The state, which spends about $20 billion a year, generated $10.725 billion in income taxes during the fiscal year that just ended, more than in other years because of the sunsetting of a federal tax loophole, according to Chris McClure of the state budget office. Budget forecasts call for the state bring in $9.7 billion this coming year, $9.8 billion the following, and $10 billion a year after that. The next governor will face an estimated two-year, $4.6 billion deficit when he takes office in January.

Stefanowski is a business executive who has worked at Price Waterhouse, General Electric, UBS Investment Bank and Dollar Financial Corporation Global, a payday lending company.

Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Protester hold “Bob is a Dem” sign (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

He spent nine months as a Democrat in 2016 and 2017 before re-registering as a Republican in July 2017, just months before announcing he would seek the nomination for governor.

Stefanowski said he plans to implement zero-based budgeting and is generally quick to remind people that other good Republicans like Trump’s economic adviser and Connecticut resident Larry Kudlow were also once registered as Democrats.

“A lot of Republicans like Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump and our own Larry Kudlow were Democrats. I’m a Republican, but I’m a political outsider, and like a lot of people I’m really upset at what the career politicians have done to Connecticut,” told CTNewsJunkie back in January.

Bob Stefanowski doesn’t take questions as protesters arrive.

Posted by on Thursday, August 9, 2018