CLOSING ARGUMENT: John Shaban, Candidate for Attorney GeneralMay 10, 2018
Shaban has experience in civil law and in the state legislature, and he's hoping that resume will convince party delegates to back him at Foxwoods this weekend.
Past attorneys general in Connecticut have been “sue first, ask questions later,” Republican candidate John Shaban told Reclaim Connecticut in an interview this week.
Shaban’s going to be “talk first, sue second, if at all.”
That’s the approach Shaban wants to take to the office of the attorney general (AG), and that’s the case he’ll make to GOP delegates this weekend at Foxwoods. He’s in a two-person battle with Susan Hatfield for the GOP’s endorsement for AG.
We checked in with Shaban as part of Reclaim Connecticut’s ongoing “Closing Argument” series, where candidates competing at May’s statewide conventions – and, potentially, August’s primaries – have a chance to make their case to convention delegates and voters.
A candidate has to earn the support of 15 percent of the delegates at the convention to automatically qualify for the August primary. If he or she doesn’t hit 15 percent, they can petition their way onto the primary ballot, though it can be a long and expensive process. Whoever earns 50 percent of delegates’ votes, after any number of rounds of voting, wins the party endorsement.
Shaban is confident he has “more” than 15 percent.
“I have more than 15 percent. I don’t have any worries there,” Shaban said. “The convention’s a bit of an anachronism. I’m not sure how much we’re gonna really weed out the field this time around.”
He called his likely primary opponent, Hatfield, a “nice lady,” but said three things distinguish him as a candidate: 1) “25 years of big civil law firm experience,” 2) “six years of state rep[resentative] service,” and 3) his name recognition from his 2016 run for U.S. House.
“Those three things really distinguish with me either from my Republican challenger or, frankly, my Democratic friends,” Shaban said.
As for the Democrats, Shaban is ready for whomever they choose.
“Unfortunately, the attorney general’s office has been part of the chilling effect that’s hurt [business] confidence,” Shaban said, implying other Democrats would represent a similar approach.
“Dick [Blumenthal]’s office was a little sue-happy, a lot sue-happy,” Shaban said. “Dick and I have a very cordial relationship today, but his attorney general office would sue first, ask questions later.”
“George [Jepsen]’s office is a little better, but not good enough,” Shaban added.
Shaban would work with businesses, including putting a “business liaison’s office in the front of the house” on “Day One,” to help restore confidence in the state.
While Shaban’s feeling good about his candidacy, he says that victory will depend in large part on who Republicans pick to be their gubernatorial nominee.
“As fired up as I am about running for AG,” Shaban said, “nobody really cares. The average voter does not go out and go to the polls to vote for AG and comptroller and treasurer.”
The gubernatorial candidates are “what drives the entire race,” Shaban added. “My entire approach is to promote a team message. That the Republican team is here to restore promise and prosperity to the state.”
“My role on that team is to reduce lawsuits and to promote stability and business friendliness,” Shaban concluded. “I’m willing to pitch the fight.”
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