Four years ago, in a 41 percent city turnout, Ned Lamont secured about 80 percent of the Bridgeport vote against Republican Bob Stefanowski on his way to victory in an open seat for governor.
The city turnout was higher than prior gubernatorial elections, juiced by the midterm presidency of Donald Trump.
What’s changed for Stefanowski this time around? If you believe the polls, it’s gotten worse with Lamont running on a record of budget surpluses after years of prior red ink. Stefanowski’s run a largely uneven campaign including an overhaul to his campaign management team, misplaced messaging and nothing clearly identifiable about the candidate himself.
He talks about spending more time in urban areas, but what was the specific urban agenda?
Eliminating taxes on motor vehicles? Nope. Implementing a property tax cap? Nope. Grants to put more cops on the streets? Hello? A state awash in surpluses was poised for a campaign message: here’s how I’ll return your money.
If Stefanowski manages a competitive margin, there’s an undercurrent in the water polling waves did not see.
One area the Bridgeport turnout will be higher from four years ago is absentee ballots, now that voters may cite illness such as Covid to avoid in-person voting. In 2018, about 1,500 votes counted as absentee. That number will be closer to 3,000, according to returns from the Town Clerk’s office.
Speaking of early voting, Connecticut electors will decide yes or no to the following question: Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to permit the General Assembly to provide for early voting?
Most states allow some form of early voting other than excuse-only participation, as is the case in Connecticut.
After votes are tabulated Tuesday night and everyone segues to thoughts of Thanksgiving gobblers and the extended holiday season, Bridgeport electors will have another decision to make with the 2023 mayoral cycle on the horizon.