Hatfield endorsed for AG, but Shaban may primary

Susan Hatfield accepting the GOP endorsement for attorney general.

Mashantucket — Susan Hatfield, a state prosecutor from eastern Connecticut, won the Republican State Convention endorsement for attorney general Friday, but the nomination probably will be settled in a primary.

That’s because former state Rep. John Shaban of Redding captured 25.5 percent of the delegate vote, surpassing the 15-percent threshold needed to qualify for a primary.

Republicans also nominated Susan Chapman of New Fairfield for secretary of the state by acclamation.

Hatfield, a Pomfret resident who was a Donald Trump delegate in 2016, captured the convention, easily winning 795 delegate votes to 272 for Shaban.

“Yes everyone, it’s been a while — it’s been a long while,” Hatfield said, noting that a Republican hasn’t captured the AG’s office in Connecticut in 64 years.

“Connecticut simply cannot afford another attorney general who values headlines and photo-ops above everything else,” she said, jabbing at former attorney general and now U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “I will not bring this office back to the Blumenthal era.”

“Together we will make a case for a very different office of the attorney general for the state of Connecticut — one that can and will help the state be more hospitable to businesses,” she said. “My office will be a fierce advocate for state taxpayers, my team will be laser-focused on state contracts and bond packages to root out waste and fraud.”

Hatfield outlined a platform that also includes:

  • Combating an opioid crisis that claimed more than 1,000 Connecticut lives last year.
  • Protecting the rights of legal gun owners. “Let’s focus on the real issue — mental health,” she said.
  • And reopening an investigation into the problem of crumbling foundations that threatens hundreds of homes in eastern Connecticut.

Hatfield, who was an early volunteer for Trump in the quiet corner of Connecticut, making hundreds of calls and delivering 800 lawn signs on his behalf, echoed a key part of his agenda Friday.

“Connecticut must stop coddling sanctuary cities within its borders,” she said, adding that the state cannot ignore illegal aliens living here.

Hatfield has “a unique toughness and a balanced commitment to fairness and equity,” said state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, who nominated Hatfield from the floor. “She isn’t afraid of a fight.”

Keith M. Phaneuf / CTMirror.org

Attorney General candidate John Shaban of Redding talks with campaign field manager Holly Young of Greenwich at the Republican State Convention.

Citing Hatfield’s background as a prosecutor, a public finance attorney in New York City and a nurse, Klarides said the Pomfret Republican would bring “a unique perspective” to the attorney general’s office.

Hatfield, who lives in Pomfret with her husband, a recently retired state trooper, and their two sons, has taken a leave of absence from the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.

Before becoming a prosecutor in 2005, Hatfield was a public finance attorney with Hawkins, Delafield and Wood in New York City.

Shaban, who made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2014, said afterward, “I’m a little disappointed but we’re going to take a look at what happened.”

When asked if he would wage a primary, Shaban initially said “I’m inclined to,” and said a decision would be made within a week.

But after a moment’s pause, he added, “I’d be shocked if I didn’t.”

About Keith M. Phaneuf

Keith, with Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, won first prize in investigative reporting from the Education Writers Association in 2012 for a series of stories on the Board of Regents for Higher Education. The former State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, Keith has spent most of 24 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut's transportation and social services networks. A former contributing writer to The New York Times, Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut. E-mail him at kphaneuf@ctmirror.org.

About Clarice Silber

Clarice Silber joined The Mirror as General Assignment Reporter in November 2017. She formerly worked for The Associated Press in Phoenix as a legislative and general assignment reporter. In 2016, she conducted extensive interviews and research in Portuguese and Spanish for the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative team at McClatchy, which was the only U.S. newspaper to gain initial access to the Panama Papers. She is a Rio de Janeiro native and graduated from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

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