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Original reporting by Mark Pazniokas. Compiled by Gabby DeBenedictis.
Rob Hotaling, 44, a banking executive with no elective experience, is the Independent Party of Connecticut’s nominee for governor.
Hotaling and his wife, Luz, live in Cheshire with their four children. He was endorsed by the party’s state central committee and won its nomination on a contested tie-breaking vote in August.
Here’s what you need to know.
Who is Rob Hotaling?
Hotaling was born in Liberia in 1978 to an American father serving as a Peace Corps volunteer and a Liberian mother. They left for the U.S. after a violent coup in 1980.
Currently, he works as a senior vice president at Webster Bank. He is a member of the Independent Party.
What is the Independent Party of Connecticut?
After years of infighting between competing factions in Waterbury and Danbury ended with a state Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Waterbury faction in 2019, the party is trying to establish itself as an independent voice and alternative to the major parties.
The Independent Party has had a ballot line since the 2010 election when Tom Marsh, a Republican local official, got 17,629 votes for governor on the Independent line — surpassing the 1-percent threshold necessary to guarantee the party a ballot line without a petition drive.
How did Hotaling become the Independent Party’s nominee for governor?
On Aug. 23, Hotaling won the party’s gubernatorial nomination. He and Republican nominee for governor Bob Stefanowski were locked in a 79-79 tie when the party’s chairman, Mike Telesca, cast a tie-breaking vote in Hotaling’s favor.
The vote denied Stefanowski a cross endorsement and a second line on the November ballot.
Stefanowski’s campaign sued following the results, seeking an injunction that would have forced the secretary of the state to remove the ticket of Hotaling and his running mate, Stuart “Chip” Beckett, from the ballot in November.
But a Hartford Superior Court judge ruled against Stefanowski, keeping Hotaling’s and Beckett’s names on the ballot.
What was Hotaling’s response to the lawsuit?
“It is unfortunate that Bob believes that fewer choices for voters would be a good thing,” Hotaling said. “As a businessman, ask Bob in what industry is less choice a good thing. In a state where the largest voting bloc is registered unaffiliated voters, I believe Bob is wrong.”
What does his nomination mean for the Independent Party?
Hotaling has become the choice of leaders of a party that once routinely cross-endorsed Republicans for statewide office but is intent this year on trying to establish a separate identity. Republican gubernatorial candidates were cross-endorsed in 2014 and 2018.
What did he say at Connecticut’s first gubernatorial debate?
Hotaling did not take full advantage of his only debate invitation to make the case why the candidacy of a minor-party candidate with no elective experience or financial backing should be viewed as credible.
“I think that if you’re tired of partisan politics, if you’re tired of the lack of progress, I’m your only other viable candidate,” Hotaling said after the debate. “I’m the only one who can break the blue-red divide.”
Hotaling supports reproductive rights, saying abortion should be safe, legal and rare. He favors election reforms, including open primaries and ranked-choice voting.