UPDATED: Lauretti backs Stefanowski; other Shelton Republicans choose Herbst, Obsitnik

Shelton’s top Republicans don’t agree when it comes to who the party should back in the race for governor

Five Republicans are vying for the party’s nomination on Aug. 14: Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, former Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst, Steve Obsitnik, Bob Stefanowski and David Stemerman. Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti dropped his bid for the governor’s seat back in June. This week, he put his support behind businessman Bob Stefanowski.

“Since Mark dropped out, we are all heading in slightly different directions,” former state Sen. Dan Debicella told The Herald.

Debicella, state Rep. Jason Perillo (R-113) and Gary DeFilippo, a Republican State Central Committee member from Shelton, are supporting Steve Obsitnik, a Navy veteran and businessman from Westport. Meanwhile, state Rep. Ben McGorty (R-122) and members of Shelton’s Board of Alderman are supporting Tim Herbst.

Mayor Lauretti’s endorsement was announced in a release on Monday from the Stefanowski campaign.

“Bob Stefanowski has the experience, character, and proven results to turn Connecticut’s economy around and make it once again an affordable place to live.” Lauretti said in the release. “Unlike his opponents, Bob actually has experience running organizations the size of Connecticut. More importantly, Bob understands how to build organizations with an employee base that is goal oriented and results driven. Organizations that are led by qualified leaders, not political appointees.

“Connecticut is a large, troubled organization, and Bob is the only candidate with the experience needed to turn it around,” Lauretti said. “In the August 14th Republican Primary, please join me in supporting Bob Stefanowski.”

Lauretti fell short in his signature drive to qualify for the August Republican primary ballot for governor.

Stefanowski, of Madison, is the former chief financial officer of USB Investment Bank. In Monday’s campaign release, Stefanowski praised Mayor Lauretti’s tenure in Shelton.

“I am honored to have Mayor Lauretti’s support,” Stefanowski said. “Under Mayor Lauretti, Shelton has been a beacon for business and held the line against tax increases for a decade. Mark’s record in Shelton is a model for Connecticut and that same fiscal discipline can turn Connecticut’s economy around, after years of Democratic mismanagement.”

Debicella told The Herald he likes candidate Steve Obsitnik’s plan to create 300,000 jobs in the next eight years.

“I think we need a jobs creator as our next governor and, as a high-tech entrepreneur, Steve has a proven record,” Debicella said. “As Republicans, we need to get behind someone who can win in November and Steve — who is a Navy vet, a proven jobs creator, with an outsider status — is that person.”

Still, other elected Republicans have thrown support behind Tim Herbst.

The Herbst campaign on Monday announced six GOP leaders is Shelton have backed the former Trumbull first selectman, including: State Rep. Ben McGorty (R-122), Board of Alderman Vice President Eric McPherson, Fourth Ward Alderman Noreen McGorty, Fourth Ward Alderman Jim Capra, First Ward Alderman David Gidwani and Former Board of Fire Commission member and Assistant Captain for the Shelton Fire Department Justin Sabatino.

“When two millionaires foolishly spend their own money to run for Governor, it frightens me on how foolishly they will spend our tax dollars,” McGorty said in the Herbst campaign release. “That’s why Tim Herbst is the only one I trust to be the next Governor of the State of Connecticut!”

Herbst said Republicans from across the state continue to rally behind his campaign to “bring fundamental change to Hartford and fight for our Republican values.”

“I’m honored to have the support of these local leaders from a neighboring community who care deeply about fighting to restore prosperity to Connecticut,” Herbst said.

Find out more on the Aug. 14 primaries here.