Oz Griebel and his running mate, Monte Frank, in 2018. mark pazniokas / ctmirror.org

Washington – U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy warned Connecticut voters Monday afternoon that casting a ballot tomorrow for independent gubernatorial candidate Oz Griebel was “as good as a vote for Donald Trump.”

The warning from Murphy came as a number of progressive groups called on the independent candidate to drop out of the race.

Griebel’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Instead, it issued a defiant tweet Monday afternoon.

“The lies of the other two campaigns are coming out. Go with a ticket you can trust!” the Griebel campaign tweeted.

Polls show Griebel is pulling support from both Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski and Democratic candidate Ned Lamont. At least one of those polls shows that Lamont is losing the most support.

“Listen, @OzForGovCT is a decent guy,” Murphy tweeted Monday. “But he’s got zero shot to win, and a vote for him tomorrow is as good as a vote for Donald Trump. If votes for Oz put Trump’s guy Stefanowski over the top, Trump celebrates a win in Connecticut.”

At a campaign stop in West Hartford Monday, Murphy, Lamont and others sang a ditty directed at Griebel voters:

If you’re thinking you might vote for Oz
We’re asking you to take a pause
Stop and think and use your head
We’ll all be better if you vote for Ned

Polls show that Griebel, a former banker, lawyer, and Republican primary candidate in the 2010 Connecticut gubernatorial election, has attracted as much as 10 percent of the support of state voters.

That support could make a difference because those same polls show Lamont and Stefanowski either running neck-and-neck or Lamont with a slim lead.

“By remaining in the race, they are pulling votes away from Ned Lamont and Susan Bysiewicz which would help Bob Stefanowski and Joe Markley, who have been endorsed by Donald Trump, the National Rifle Association and the Connecticut Citizens Defense League,” the groups said.

The coalition asking Griebel to abandon his bid for governor included NARAL Pro Choice CT, the Connecticut Citizens Action Group, and the Newtown Action Alliance, which was  formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting with the help of Monte Frank, Griebel’s running mate.

While he once ran as a Republican, Griebel chose Frank, a Democrat, to help disseminate a centrist message that included support for gun control and abortion rights.

“Griebel and Frank have run a respectful and positive issue-based campaign up to this point however all polls demonstrate that there is no clear pathway for their victory on Election Day,” the progressive groups said.

Griebel’s campaign seemed to respond in another tweet.

“Oz and Monte are campaigning to win tomorrow’s election. If you care about women’s issues and reducing gun violence, Oz and Monte are the best choice,” it said.

Asked at a debate in October how he would respond to anyone suggesting he drop out of the race, Griebel replied succinctly: “Drop dead.”

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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