There are about four dozen supporters braving the blustery autumn wind outside Stamford High School ahead of the final gubernatorial debate. Around 6 p.m. there seemed to be about three dozen supporters waving signs for Democratic candidate Dan Malloy and only about one dozen supporting Republican candidate Tom Foley. Malloy does have the hometown advantage, however. The debate, which is also the kickoff of the 45th annual convention of the Connecticut NAACP, is taking place 0.6 miles from where Malloy grew up on 5th Street and Revonah Ave.
Malloy is a recognizable face in Stamford, having served as mayor for 14 years, and it is this familiarity that won the vote of Remus Romeus, 32, of Bridgeport.
“We’re used to him, what he can do and what he can do for the community,” said Romeus, who volunteered for several of Malloy’s mayoral campaigns. “That’s why we support him.”
For Romeus, the most important issue of the election is health care. For Foley supporter Rick Crusinski, 53, the gubernatorial race is all about the economy.
“I’m hoping to convince people that Tom is the right choice for governor,” Crusinski said. “We’re trying to get the word out so people come vote on Tuesday. When people look at both candidates they are going to see that Tom is the better candidate.”
Crusinski said he believes Foley is better qualified to lower costs, increase jobs and foster a welcoming business climate in Connecticut than Malloy. While Foley is behind in the polls right now, Crusinski believes he will pull ahead in the end.
As the sun went down and the temperature dropped, the supporters awaited their candidates, who were set to arrive at Stamford High School by 6:15. Some volunteers, as well as this reporter, ducked into John’s Pizza for a gyro and to warm up. The last of 17 campaign encounters between Malloy and Foley is set to begin in the Stamford High School auditorium at 7 p.m.