Wednesday night: First Selectman Jayme Stevenson to debate Lt. governor primary opponents

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson

After holding a press conference Tuesday in Hartford calling on her Republican opponents for lieutenant governor in the upcoming primary to agree to the debate, Darien’s First Selectman will get the chance Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. The debate will be streamed on NBC Connecticut’s website,  nbcconnecticut.com, in the free NBC CT app, and on the NBC Connecticut Facebook page.

Calling herself the the only conservative Republican in the lieutenant governor’s race who can win in November, Stevenson said she “demands my opponents agree to debate the catastrophic condition of our state, so voters can see who is most qualified and best positioned to win in November.”

Stevenson’s campaign qualifies for Citizens Election Program grant

Sen. Joe Markley, who represents Southington, was the endorsed Republican candidate after the May convention. Stevenson earned 220 delegate votes at the convention, or 19.86%. New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, who changed her race from governor to lieutenant governor the day before the convention vote, earned 290 votes, or 26.17%

Sen. Joe Markley

CT News Junkie reported that at her Capitol press conference Tuesday, Stevenson said she was the only one to confirm her attendance at the debate as of Monday morning. By Tuesday afternoon Stewart and Markley had also confirmed their attendance. Stevenson is requesting three debates, according to the article.

With less than two weeks left before the Aug. 14 primary, CT News Junkie reported Markley said at this point it shouldn’t take a debate for voters to get to know a candidate.

Stevenson called Markley “a career politician whose real-world experience is virtually nonexistent. An ultra-conservative, fringe-hugging ideologue- it’s hard to identify a single solution he’s offered,” at the press conference.

“Joe is a passionate resister who votes ‘no’ on just about everything. I see Joe as Connecticut’s Elizabeth Warren,” Stevenson said.

She also added that Markley was “the lone vote against protecting young women from rape on college campuses and has tried to stop the fluoridation of water that protects our children’s teeth.”

“Joe is fringy, risky and unworkable. A vote for Joe brings the whole ticket down,” Stevenson said.

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart

As for Stewart, Stevenson called her a “liberal by word and deed” at her press conference.

“She is an ‘Obama fan-girl,’ to quote the National Review. Democrats on the common council in New Britain voted this year to cut her budget, calling her spending ‘unsustainable.’ She vetoed those cuts,” Stevenson said.

“Erin Stewart promises us another term of fiscal irresponsibility and mismanagement-ego-centered leadership in the image of her friend, Governor Malloy.  Connecticut cannot afford to elect Erin Stewart,” Stevenson said.

According to CT News Junkie, Markley said Stevenson’s press conference seemed a little “hysterical.”

On Wednesday, Stevenson responded, categorizing Markley’s choice of words as sexist.

“Joe Markley’s characterization of my call for debates as “hysterical” and his vote against keeping young women safe from rape on college campuses is just one more reason he is unfit to serve as Connecticut’s next lieutenant governor,” she said.

The debate will be held from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. and will be streamed on NBC Connecticut’s website, nbcconnecticut.com, in the free NBC CT app, and on the NBC Connecticut Facebook page.