Tim Herbst, the former Trumbull first selectman who is running for governor, believes that a Simsbury business leader’s independent campaign is an attempt to divide the Republican vote in 2018 and deliver the office to Democratic Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.
“It’s pretty funny,” said Oz Griebel, the outgoing CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance who on Wednesday announced his gubernatorial candidacy.
“It’s one of the more-ridiculous things I’ve heard in a while,” Bronin said Friday.
But Herbst believes it was more than a coincidence that Griebel announced his gubernatorial aspirations this week on the heels of Bronin’s declaration to explore the possibilities of higher office just halfway through his first term as Hartford mayor.
“I could never believe that they did not have conversations about this,” Herbst told Hearst Connecticut Media. “Oz has given campaign donations to Luke. He has heaped effusive praise on him. This is a coordinated attempt to try to stop a Republican from becoming governor.” He recalled that in 2010, when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy narrowly defeated Republican Tom Foley for the first time, Tom Marsh, the Chester first selectman who ran an independent campaign, collected 17,629 votes, about two times Malloy’s margin of victory. Before running for mayor, Bronin was Malloy’s Capitol legal counsel.
Griebel, who ran a losing GOP primary campaign for governor after raising about $515,000 in 2010, contributed $500 to Bronin’s 2015 mayoral run. Griebel and his running mate, Monte Frank, a Newtown lawyer, have to collect 7,500 signatures to get on the November, 2018 ballot.
“Oz knows the odds are against him and that he has no pathway to victory,” Herbst said. “He is clearly doing this to help Luke Bronin become governor, because he will clearly siphon votes from the Republican candidate. If you sign Oz Griebel’s petition you’re endorsing four more years of the job-crushing, tax-hiking agenda of Dan Malloy and his insider allies. This is our last chance to elect a Republican governor and save the state of Connecticut.”
Griebel, who will not participate in the state’s voluntary public-financing program, dismissed Herbst’s theory.
“We’re running as independents so we can focus on the real issues,” said Griebel in a phone interview. “Maybe the spoilers are the Democrats and Republicans who will try to prevent me from getting 70-percent of the vote. We want to provide voters with a third approach to governing in 2019. We’re in this to win the race in November and that’s what we’re focused on; not some conspiracy. We see a pathway to victory, through greater collaboration and more bipartisan engagement.”
Earlier this week an online poll of 1,154 state residents by the Hartford-based Tremont Public Advisors, showed a near 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats over what party should win the governor’s seat next year.Read Full Article
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