Two more candidates have entered the crowded gubernatorial race, having gathered enough petition signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill’s office said that both Libertarian Rod Hanscomb and Mark Stewart Greenstein, who formed his own Americans for Minimal Government party, or AMiGo, collected more than 7,500 qualified signatures to get on the ballot.
They now join Democrat Ned Lamont, Republican Bob Stefanowski and petitioning candidate Oz Griebel in a five-way race for governor. Lamont and Stefanowski each will appear on two ballot lines — the Working Families Party cross-endorsed Lamont, while the Independent Party did the same for Stefanowski.
Hanscomb, whose running mate is Jeffrey Thibeault, pledges to eliminate the state’s income tax and reduce spending.
“Our plan is very clear and simple,” Hanscomb said on his website. “We are going to drastically cut spending and will quickly start working our way to being one of the least tax burdened states in the nation!”
In particular, Hanscomb wants to “dismantle” a welfare system that he said hasn’t met its intended goals.
He also wants to reduce government regulation, saying Connecticut needs to become more business-friendly and “entrepreneurial.”
State Libertarian party Chairman Dan Reale is suing Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati, claiming Scarpati interfered with Reale and two other party members, not named in the suit, from collecting petition signatures during April’s Daffodil Festival in Hubbard Park.
Scarpati told the Record-Journal in June, after the lawsuit was filed, that he “didn't know it was a political thing," but also added he “just knew they didn't have a right to be there. I felt there was no need to have someone at the entrance to the park approaching people and their families."
He later said in a court filing that he “cannot, in good faith, recall” making the statement. He acknowledged making other statements in the story, but couldn’t admit or deny that one.
The lawsuit remains ongoing.
Greenstein, who is registered as a Democrat, also wants to eliminate the income tax as part of a 30-point plan. He also wants to switch to a private welfare system and “never pay a dime for new pensions.”
Other policy stances include supporting school choice via vouchers, making Connecticut a “driver” in protecting the environment, and giving municipalities more freedom to solicit business, including from casinos.
He also pledges to bring a National Hockey League team back to Hartford, wants to reduce regulation — including getting rid of laws on employment discrimination — and says government should be more proactive in going after fathers who fail to pay child support.
Greenstein hopes to field AMiGo candidates for legislative races in 2020, and says the presence of minor party candidates on the ballot can force candidates away from attack ads and toward policy discussions.
"Negative campaigning goes away,” he said in a press release. “No longer does your smear against your only opponent elevate you; now the smear against one elevates the third guy, who rises above your bickering."