Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Crowd at United Concrete in Wallingford (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)
Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Rev. Boise Kimber of New Haven (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

WALLINGFORD, CT — Not everyone in the room for Republican Bob Stefanowski’s get-out-the-vote rally Sunday voted for President Donald Trump. At least two of more than 400 in attendance are members of the Democratic Party.

The first, Rev. Boise Kimber of New Haven had supported Guy Smith earlier this year and then when Smith failed to get enough support to primary, Kimber supported Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, but now he’s supporting Stefanowski.

Kimber, a Democrat and a controversial minister who supported Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2010,  said he’s supporting Stefanowski because “I think Connecticut needs a change.”

Stefanowski has promised to eliminate the income tax over eight years, but Connecticut has a balanced budget amendment so he would have to eliminate an equal amount of spending. He has refused to give any details about how he would tackle the task aside from promises of “zero-based budgeting.” A task that’s even harder considering there’s a no-layoff clause in place for the first two years.

Kimber said Stefanowski has been honest in his campaigning on the issue. He said no one knows where they’re going to cut spending until they get elected.

How will those budget cuts impact New Haven where Kimber has his ministry?

“We’re surviving now,” Kimber said.

He said they can’t label people anymore as Democrat or Republican. He said they need to ask themselves who is going to be better for their community. For Kimber, that’s Stefanowski.

Kimber gave the opening prayer at Stefanowski’s rally Sunday.

The other Democratic Party member to take the stage Sunday was Jim Grasso, son of the late-Gov. Ella Grasso.

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Jim Grasso (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

Grasso said he watched the state detriorate under Malloy, but didn’t say anything until now because he felt “obligated” to the Democratic Party.

He said his decision to support Stefanowski “may have knocked some fillings out of the teeth of some Democrats and I hope it did.”

He said they should have known that his mother “loved the state of Connecticut more than she loved the Democratic Party.”

He said if she was alive today she would be in his place explaining why she was supporting a Republican.

“The state of Connecticut is paramount,” Grasso said. “This is not a do or die everyday election. This is the fate of Connecticut.”

He said Connecticut has been “hemorrhaging and will die if Bob is not elected.”

Malloy inherited a $3.2 billion budget deficit in his first year and there was nothing in the Rainy Day Fund when he took over in January 2011. While Malloy will be handing over a two-year $4.6 billion deficit to his successor he is expected to leave $2 billion in the Rainy Day Fund.

Malloy increased taxes with the help of the legislature in 2011 and 2015 and inked two concession deals with the state employees union, one of which doesn’t expire until 2027. He has argued that his two Republican predecessors failed to fund the state employee pensions, which caused those unfunded pension obligations to balloon at a time when revenue was declining as a result of the Great Recession.

The unfunded pension obligations are expected to continue to grow over the next 15 years, which makes proposals to cut any revenue to the state that much harder. Stefanowski’s campaign blames adoption of the state income tax in 1991 for the states current economic malaise.

“One bad bill. One political blunder and we went from the top to the bottom,” Sen. Joe Markley, Stefanowski’s running mate, said Sunday referring to the income tax.

He said against the “clear will of the people that destroyed an economy that had been centuries of building,” Markley said.

But he said that one mistake made by former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker and “is acolyte Dannel P. Malloy—Nero to his Caligula,” doesn’t have to “doom” Connecticut forever.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, asked people in the room to remember that 41 of the last 43 years saw the Democratic Party in charge of both chambers of the General Assembly. She said they can try and run away from Malloy and his tax increases, but they were his “co-conspirators.”

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House Minority Leader Themis Klardies (Christine Stuart/ ctnewsjunkie)

She said the Democratic Party talks about anything else, but their record and votes.

“They can’t run on their record. The state of Connecticut is smarter than that,” Klarides said.

She said everyone should vote for Republicans Tuesday because “it is a matter of life or death for this state.” She said they have vision that will fix state and move the state of Connecticut forward.

Stefanowski said they need a Republican House and a Republican Senate.

The last time Republicans controlled the governor’s office and both chambers of the General Assembly was 1974.

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Bob Stefanowski and his family (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

Stefanowski said there’s a lot of partisanship in Washington D.C. right now and Lamont likes to talk about it more than he wants to talk about fixing the fiscal problems in the state of Connecticut.

“They’ve been trying to pull us off message for year now,” Stefanowski said.

He said the press gets upset with him because he continues to stay on message.

“You know why I say the same thing?,” Stefanowski said. “Because that’s what people care about in this state right now. Jobs, lower taxes, getting this economy moving, providing for their families, investing in healthcare and education and all the things we need to do for the suffering people of Connecticut to bring our friends and family back home to Connecticut.”

He said if they’ve been able to survive the last eight years, he asking them to hold on a little longer because help is on the way.

“Help is on the way. It starts next Tuesday,” Stefanowski said.

Bob Stefanowski rallies with his supporters in advance of the election.

Posted by on Sunday, November 4, 2018