HARTFORD, CT — Oz Griebel, the former head of the MetroHartford Alliance, and his running mate Attorney Monte Frank secured a spot on the November ballot, according to officials at the Secretary of the State’s office.
Griebel and Frank submitted more than 10,000 signatures, but they only need 7,500 in order to qualify. On Tuesday, according to officials, they hit that magic number after failing to secure the Independent Party’s ballot line on Sunday.
The petitioning candidates, one Republican and one Democrat, are trying to present the public with a viable third option.
“I really believe that the electorate is hungry for substance and not name calling,” Griebel said earlier this month.
He said their campaign is focused on why voters should vote for them not against another candidate.
Griebel has said everything they do when they’re elected will be focused on growing 200,000 private sector jobs within 10 years. Starting with their first budget proposal in February, less than a month after the inauguration.
“The economy of this state is not working for all people,” Frank has said.
He said they’ve been looking at the issue seriously. He said the name calling via Tweet that the two major party candidates engaged in the day after the party primaries is “not going to solve the problem.”
However, not a lot of people know much about the Griebel, Frank ticket.
In the latest Quinnipiac University poll, Griebel received 4 percent of the vote. Far below the 46 percent Ned Lamont, the Democratic candidate, and 33 percent that Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate received.
The same poll found 83 percent of voters hadn’t heard enough about Griebel to form an opinion, but about 10 percent of those who were aware of him had a favorable opinion.
In 2010, the same year Griebel lost a Republican primary for governor, Tom Marsh, the former first selectman of Chester won the Independent Party’s endorsement and received 17,629 votes.
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy only beat Republican Tom Foley that year by 6,404 votes.
Stefanowski argued on Sunday at the Independent Party’s convention that if the party had cross-endorsed Foley that year he might have won that election. Of course, that assumes that more than half the voters who voted for Marsh would vote for a Republican candidate.
There are 2.1 million registered voters in Connecticut and the largest bloc of them are unaffiliated at 859,470 as of the July 31. Democrats are next at 761,166, followed by Republicans at 446,564. The remainder belong to minor parties. The Independent Party, at 25,409 members, is next largest followed by Libertarian, Green, and Working Families, each of which are under 3,000 members.
Griebel said he thinks their ticket has the ability to attract Republican, Democratic and unaffiliated voters.
“What I’ve seen on the campaign trail is that people don’t put issues in buckets — politicians do and the parties do,” Frank said earlier this month.
Frank said there’s no reason voters can’t support a “conservative Democrat and a liberal Republican.”
As of July 10, the duo had about $12,000 campaign cash on hand.
Griebel continued to call the effort a “grassroots campaign” and said they will see an increase in fundraising once they secure a ballot line for November.
Griebel is not using public financing, which means individuals can give up to $3,500 to his campaign.