CLOSING ARGUMENT: Tim Herbst, Candidate for GovernorMay 10, 2018
How one of the frontrunners feels about 15 percent, about winning at the convention this weekend, and about a sure primary ahead.
“I’m 37 years old. I can appeal to younger generations who are feeling the squeeze of Dan Malloy’s economy,” former First Selectman Tim Herbst (R-Trumbull) told Reclaim Connecticut this week. “Young people find it very hard to get ahead … I share that same concern.”
Herbst is betting that his electoral appeal, his record in Trumbull, and his hard work on the campaign trail will pay dividends for his campaign this weekend at the CT GOP convention at Foxwoods, in the August primary, and in November.
Herbst is considered a frontrunner heading into convention weekend, along with Mayor Mark Boughton (R-Danbury).
We checked in with Herbst 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.
Herbst believes he’ll “substantially” clear 15 percent.
“I feel great about the convention. I am very confident that we’re gonna exceed 15 percent substantially,” Herbst said. “I feel very good about certain pockets of the state. I think we’re running very strong in the 2nd Congressional District, in the 3rd Congressional District.”
“If you look at our endorsements, we’ve rolled out a lot of coalitions of moderates and conservatives,” Herbst added. “I think it’s important for me to unite the conservative wing of the party and the moderate wing of the party.”
Until then, Herbst is preparing for all potential scenarios at the convention.
“We’re making preparations for a second-ballot scenario,” Herbst said. “We are anticipating last-minute shenanigans from the opposing campaigns.”
“I’m a football player at heart,” Herbst concluded, and “next Friday and Saturday are gonna be a game of inches.”
Should Herbst clear 15 percent, as he’s expected to do, he’ll likely face Boughton, petitioning candidates Bob Stefanowski and David Stemerman, and maybe a few other Republican candidates in a primary race that ends in August.
Herbst thinks he’ll be able to stand out among the rest by talking straight.
“I haven’t told people what they want to hear in the name of winning an election,” Herbst said. “I’ve told people what they need to hear to save the next generation of Nutmeggers.”
“I’ve been at the forefront of every issue, articulating what I would do differently,” Herbst added. “People want a leader.”
AND THE FALL?
If Herbst gets through the convention and primary hurdles, he has a clear vision for how to beat the Democrat, likely to be Ned Lamont or ex-Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz (D-Conn.).
“I think Ned Lamont and Susan Bysiewicz are both Dan Malloy on steroids,” Herbst argued. “If you elect them governor, after the last eight years of abject failure, you’re in essence endorsing the third Dan Malloy term.”
Lamont, in particular, Herbst said is “extreme.”
“He is an out-of-touch, wealthy millionaire from Greenwich, who does not understand the plight of hard-working Connecticut taxpayers from all across our state,” Herbst said. “And because he doesn’t understand it, and because he never lived it, he can favor tolls and higher taxes.”
Herbst is itching for a matchup in the fall, to deliver his message directly to voters across the state. For the next few days, though, it’s all about the convention.
“I’m looking forward to Friday and Saturday,” he said. “I’m gonna leave it all on the field.”
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