Patrick Sasser, on left, watches as Bob Stefanowski speaks during a rally in 2021 Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

As this year’s gubernatorial election entered its final three months, Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski named Patrick Sasser, a Stamford firefighter and organizer of a successful campaign against highway tolls in Connecticut, as his new campaign manager.

Sasser assumed the role of campaign manager on Aug. 1, taking over for Dan Carter, a former state representative who has taken a job with the Connecticut Republican Party. Sasser hopes to help Stefanowski succeed in this year’s rematch with the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Ned Lamont.

The new role puts Sasser in a familiar position as a political opponent of Lamont. Beginning in 2019, he was the co-founder and face of the No Tolls CT movement, which opposed Lamont’s ultimately unsuccessful proposals to install tolls on Connecticut highways in effort to shore up the state’s Special Transportation Fund.

Sasser said Thursday he hopes to use those grassroots connections to mobilize Stefanowski supporters to the polls in November.

“A big focus of mine is going to be the ground game, getting boots on ground, activating volunteers and making sure that people are all working towards a common goal of making change in Connecticut,” Sasser said. “Something I’ve been saying even since the toll fight is we need to save our state and I certainly believe the way to do that is to change the leadership.”

Stefanowski’s campaign will not be Sasser’s first turn as a campaign manager. Last year, he managed the successful campaign of state Sen. Ryan Fazio, a Greenwich Republican who won a special election to replace Democratic Sen. Alex Kasser following her abrupt resignation earlier that year. Previously, Sasser managed former Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele’s unsuccessful bid for mayor of Stamford in 2013.

Sasser, who was already volunteering for Stefanowski’s campaign, said he was surprised when the Madison-based candidate approached him for the position. However, Stefanowski often mentions Sasser on the campaign trail as he recalls their joint volunteer efforts to acquire and distribute masks to frontline workers during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sasser said he plans to continue working as a firefighter, a job that affords a flexible schedule of 24 hours on, 72 hours off.

Sasser declined to say how much the three-month campaign job would pay, though that information will eventually be reported as a campaign expenditure through state election regulators.

“For me this isn’t about money,” Sasser said. “I’m probably the cheapest paid campaign manager anyone will ever see. It’s about making sure Bob wins in November.”