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A candidate’s day off

August 12, 2018

Ned Lamont, D: On a day off the campaign trail, Lamont, 64, would start with a 30-mile bike ride with his wife, Ann, and three children.

“I’d come back, have a nice glass of wine, get on the grill and make a nice steak — sorry vegetarians — with a little sauce on it, put my feet up and be ready to hit the ground the next day.”

He says riding and playing some piano “keeps me sane.” He’s been playing keyboards since his days in the Flower Pot, a band of eighth-graders that played the likes of “Wild Thing” and “The House of the Rising Sun” at high school dances. These days, he leans toward “a little blues, a little boogie, a little free form.”

“I have a ball, it’s cheaper than a psychiatrist.”

David Stemerman, R: Stemerman, who answers questions quickly, doesn’t pause at this one either.

“It’s very straightforward. It would be a day with my family,” he says. “We have wonderful time just being together. Usually we like to be outdoors. It can be on the water. It can be throwing a ball.”

They also like to invite friends to join them, as “my wife created a home where everyone wants to come over.”

He doesn’t hesitate to plan the day’s menu, either: Pizza, steak, french fries and ice cream.

“Put those things together and it’s a great meal.” Stemerman finally pauses, apparently contemplating the balance on his plate.

“And I’ll have a little salad,” he adds.

Joe Ganim, D: For Ganim, the “perfect day” mostly involves family. Even time working out would be spent with his sons.

Campaign season has made it difficult for him to join his seven brothers and sisters at a “default Sunday dinner at my mom’s.”

“Then there’s the stupid stuff. I’ll look for something brainless on TV. I might get immersed in national news” or veer toward binge-watching reruns of “Seinfeld” or a show he watched while growing up.

Though he couldn’t summon the name of it, Ganim, 58, keeps an inspirational book on his nightstand.

“It’s about positive energy. It’s almost like poetry, It forces you to reflect on the power of thoughts and the positive. It’s indirectly spiritual. I find that inspiring.”

Steve Obsitnik, R: Even on a day off, Obsitnik gets up at 6:15 a.m. and heads for the Westport YMCA for a 90-minute workout before picking up food to prepare for later that day (“I do most of the cooking,” he says, somewhat sheepishly).

“Then I’d play with our dog, Daisy, and rummage everyone (his wife, Suzanne, and their two children) out of bed.” After catching up on house chores, they would head out on their Boston Whaler for tubing before tackling laundry. In late afternoon, Obsitnik would make dinner, perhaps Peking chicken or scallion pancakes, as he prefers Asian cooking.

“Then my daughters will find a screen and I would read a book or talk to my wife.”

He favors reading to television (“I watched ‘House of Cards,’ but couldn’t watch it again,” he says, referencing lead Kevin Spacey’s scandal). His book of choice would be a biography, though his wife “manages my fiction to keep my mind limber.”

Mark Boughton, R: Boughton would start his day at Richter Park golf course in Danbury, and try to watch NASCAR racing, which he acknowledges is unusual for someone from the Northeast (“It’s from going to Danbury Racearena every Saturday night”).

“And I love going to auto shows. I don’t tinker,” says Boughton, 54. “I’m a very bad tinkerer. I once had on a ’67 Mustang and it was a disaster.”

After lunch, Boughton would take his dog for a walk, “maybe take a nap” and do some reading (“no budgetary stuff”). His preference is non-fiction. He recently read a book about the Danbury Fair and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” (“for the third time”).

At days end, his TV viewing might include Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War.” And though he’s fallen behind on a certain favorite show, he promises his followers he will continue to “live Tweet ‘Walking Dead’ as governor.”

Tim Herbst, R: For a guy who usually gets up at 4:30 a.m., sleeping in means awakening at 7:30 a.m.

He’d start the day at the gym, then indulge in some golf, which he hasn’t been able to play since joining the crowd in the campaign trail. The afternoon might be spent on the water, or at the beach, but his perfect day would also include a Dave Matthews Band concert.

Other activities might include a run, or just enjoying solitude in his backyard.

His favorite TV show is “The Sopranos” “because I like the unpredictability of the outcomes.”

Herbst also leans toward historical biographies, sometimes seeking unexpected choices. He read Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “What Happened” about the last presidential election because “I wanted to read her perspective on things.”

Bob Stefanowski, R: Given the time crunch while campaigning, Stefanowski sees a perfect day as time spent with his wife and three daughters.

“Somewhere without a cellphone. On a beach,” he says.

As someone who describes himself as “very competitive,” Stefanowski enjoyed the experience of running in three marathons, including London and New York.

For election season, he revived a practice from his training days. He maintains a daily diary, which he plans to continue in office. He writes about “what I’m learning, what I’m observing. The peaks and valleys.

“When you have a bad day I look back two weeks ago at a good day.”

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