On the Trail: Policing, Reproductive Rights and a Voter Shift in Party Loyalty

Portion of a video posted on social media by Ned Lamont welcoming women to seek abortions in Connecticut if the procedure is banned in their state.


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The candidates for Governor weighed in on state police understaffing and law enforcement issues, while reproductive rights took center stage as the two major parties sought to raise campaign funds and enlist voters ahead of the November election. 

“As a result, our roads and communities are less safe, and Office of Governor Ned Lamont did nothing.”

— Republican candidate for Governor Bob Stefanowski social media post reacting to a CT Examiner report that nearly 90 Connecticut State Police Troopers are retiring before July 1, including almost all top command staff. 

“We are having some retirements going on right now. That’s spread across state government. But retirements are still a place where I’ve got to do a better job, that’s why I’m so aggressive when it comes to recruiting our state police.”

— Lamont’s response to the state police departures, which the troopers’ union says is jeopardizing the safety of its members and the public. 

“Traditional law enforcement is failing young people and communities; real public safety means making room for everyone at the table. Increasing funding for law enforcement only offers the illusion of safety with no significant benefits to Connecticut families.”

— A statement by Green Party candidate for Governor Michelle L. Bicking 

“I actually think it makes the police’s job harder. I think it’s a bit hypocritical by the conservative wing.  And this is one of the reasons why I left the Republican party.” 

— Radio interview statement by Rob Hotaling, vying for the Independent Party’s nomination to run for Governor, about a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling removing New York police’s discretion in approving permits to carry a concealed handgun. 

Social media photo of Bob Stefanowski at the CT Parents Union annual education “Push Has Come To Shove Retreat” in Bridgeport

“Republicans – in and outside our state – are spending big money this year targeting our Democratic majorities. If they succeed, they will be relentless in their attacks on our freedoms. So much depends on this election, including access to reproductive health care, abortion rights, gun safety measures, and protections for the LGBTQI+ community.”

— A portion of a fundraising email by State Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo

“Republican enthusiasm surging — Join today! #Vote Red” 

Connecticut Republican Party social media post regarding an Associated Press report that more than a million voters across 43 states have switched to the GOP over the last year, although Connecticut has not seen a similar trend.

“I thank the citizens of Connecticut for the deep and continued support they have given me, the hard-working registrars of voters, town clerks, moderators, and poll workers who make Connecticut’s elections possible.” 

— A portion of Democratic Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s statement on her resignation after 12 years in office to care for her ill husband. 

“Connecticut voters will be watching and hoping that Governor Lamont and the Democratic leadership put the people of Connecticut ahead of the Democratic Party’s electoral interests. Let’s see who gets the temporary political favor as the Lamont reelection effort heats up.”

— A statement from Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Ben Proto on who Lamont will appoint to fill out the remaining six months of Merrill’s term.

“Today’s Supreme Court ruling has absolutely no impact on Connecticut residents. I will continue to support Connecticut’s state law, which has codified a woman’s right to choose, with an appropriate ban on late-term abortion.”

— A Stefanowski statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, allowing states to determine whether to allow abortions within their boundaries. 

“My wife is in tears, my kids are distraught, and people across the state are devastated by SCOTUS’s wrongheaded decision to overturn Roe V. Wade.  Make no mistake about it — Reproductive rights will be protected on my watch.”

— Lamont statement on the Supreme Court decision.

Steve Jensen

Steve Jensen was a journalist for 13 years with the Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer of Manchester before becoming a Communications Director for the State of Connecticut. Jensen covers politics and law enforcement for CT Examiner. T: 860 661-6404