Democrat Ned Lamont will be Connecticut’s next governor after holding off a tough challenge from Republican businessman Bob Stefanowski in the traditionally blue state.
Mr. Stefanowski said Wednesday morning that he conceded the race to Mr. Lamont. With close to 95 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Lamont was leading Mr. Stefanowski by about 2 percentage points.
“I wish both Ned and the state of Connecticut success over these next four years,” Mr. Stefanowski said in a statement posted to social media. “While this is not the result we would have hoped for, I am glad that we were able to draw so much attention to the tax burden in this state — at the beginning of this race, we were laser-focused on cutting taxes, while other candidates were talking about raising taxes.”
Though not usually thought of as GOP-friendly territory, Republicans had set their sights on Connecticut as one of their comparatively few pick-up opportunities in governor’s races this year.
Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy opted not to seek a third term in office. His approval ratings have dropped into the teens in some surveys amid significant state budget woes.
Mr. Lamont, a businessman in telecommunications, had challenged Mr. Malloy in a 2010 Democratic primary, and kept his distance from the governor somewhat in his 2018 campaign.
Mr. Lamont gained notoriety when he defeated former Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman in a Democratic primary in 2006, only to lose to Mr. Lieberman in the general election after the former senator ran as an independent.
Mr. Lamont’s victory, along with wins from Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and Democrat Janet Mills in Maine, helps ensure that Democrats won’t get shut out in New England governor’s races this year after Republicans had expressed some hope at running the table in all six states earlier in the cycle.
GOP Govs. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Phil Scott of Vermont, and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire were all re-elected Tuesday.