Ned Lamont celebrates win as governor elect
HARTFORD — Emerging to big cheers from supporters who had hoped to see him 12 hours earlier, Democrat Ned Lamont addressed the public for the first time as governor-elect of the Connecticut at Dunkin’ Donuts Park Wednesday.
“I love this state,” said Lamont. “That’s why I am so proud to be your governor. We’re going to get this state moving again!”
Lamont’s announcement came less than three hours after a statement from his campaign acknowledging Republican Bob Stefanowski’s concession in the nail-biting race. Into the early hours of Wednesday morning, the race was too close to call. When the sun rose, Lamont was ahead by tens of thousands of votes in unofficial results.
“It was a straight-up election,” Stefanowski said. “He won fair and square.”
Lamont said he and Stefanowski have discussed getting together “over a beer.”
Wednesday was to be a day of rest and celebration for Lamont, a Greenwich cable entrepreneur, but his work as Connecticut’s next leader will start Thursday. Lamont will announce a transition team by the end of the week, he said.
“This afternoon, I may head back. I may put my feet up. I may take a short walk. I may have a glass of wine, maybe get to bed early, but tomorrow, tomorrow is a fresh start,” said Lamont. “Tomorrow is a fresh start for the state of Connecticut.”
He talked about bringing people together — Democrats, Republicans, labor and business leaders.
Lieutenant governor-elect Democrat Susan Bysiewicz joined Lamont in Hartford to announce their victory.
“People are optimistic that with the right leadership we can put Connecticut on the right path,” said Bysiewicz, a former Connecticut Secretary of the State and lawyer from Middletown. “I am proud to stand here today and tell you that those leaders are Ned Lamont and I.”
While late Tuesday Democrats realized they had regained control of the General Assembly, it wasn’t until the predawn on Wednesday, at 5:42 a.m., that the Secretary of the State’s office showed the Greenwich entrepreneur pulling ahead of Stefanowski, as results from the major cities came in.
Shortly after 7:30 a.m., the unofficial results showed Lamont leading Stefanowski by about 18,000 votes, 658,353 to 640,369. But those did not include New Haven, the state’s largest Democratic stronghold, where unofficial results, published by the New Haven Independent, showed Lamont with more than 22,000 votes, and Stefanowski with slightly more than 3,900.
Lamont told supporters that they wanted to make the announcement Tuesday night, “but this is our chance.”
“I’m not getting all imperial on you,” Lamont said. “I just wanted the chance to say thanks to an awful lot of friends who are right here who weren’t here last night.”
He blamed delay in calling the race on huge turnout.
“We had really the largest turnout in recent history,” he said. “We gave people something to vote for.”
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