Lamont steps up criticism of GOP opponent over Kavanaugh

September 28, 2018

Democratic Party candidate Ned Lamont, right, gestures toward Republican Party candidate Bob Stefanowski during a gubernatorial debate at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont stepped up criticism Friday of his Republican opponent Bob Stefanowski for not answering a debate question about whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed, arguing that voters deserve to know where he stands.

Appearing with a group of women leaders, candidates and a sexual assault survivor on the steps of the Connecticut Supreme Court, the Greenwich businessman said he believes the allegations made by Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, and does not support the conservative judge being elevated.

“You can’t take a pass on this,” Lamont said of Stefanowski. “The governor is not just the CFO of the state. You’re also the leader of the state. And people ought to know where you stand on issues like this. Where you stand on women’s rights.”

When asked a yes-or-no question at a debate Wednesday at the University of Connecticut about whether Kavanaugh should be confirmed, Stefanowski said, “I’m going to pass on that. That’s a federal issue.” After the debate and in statements on Thursday and Friday, Stefanowski, a father of three daughters, said he considers sexual misconduct a serious issue that deserves serious attention. On Friday, Stefanowski reiterated that stance, adding “the Kavanaugh confirmation is no exception” and that he’s “glad that the FBI will be looking further into this matter to make sure the Senate has the information they need to make an informed decision.”

He said the senators “should carefully examine the entirety of the testimony, witness statements and evidence before the vote.”

Stefanowski noted, however, that he still thinks the state’s election should be focused on Connecticut issues, namely the economy.

“I am running for governor of Connecticut and not for United States Senate,” he said.

Stefanowski said as governor he would “ensure that any and all nominations I make to Connecticut’s courts are individuals who are highly qualified and have demonstrated outstanding moral character.”

Lamont has sharply criticized Stefanowski for his support of Republican President Donald Trump. He has also focused heavily on the ramifications of Trump’s next Supreme Court nominee on Connecticut, pledging to be a “firewall” against decisions on matters such as abortion. His campaign issued a fundraising appeal Thursday that referred to Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, warning that “if Brett Kavanaugh gets away with this and is confirmed, a lot of rights previously enjoyed by people across the country could go back to the states.”

The email mentions abortion, same-sex marriage and voting rights.

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