Stefanovski and minor parties face off in court over ballot snubs

The gubernatorial race was moved to a Hartford court on Thursday. Lawyers for Republican Bob Stefanovsky have accused a minor party of ignoring its own rules to deny a crucial second line in the November ballot.

Stefanovsky filed a lawsuit after Connecticut’s Independent Party rejected his mutual endorsement.

At the chaotic caucuses on August 23, party leader Mike Teresca took a tie-breaking vote. They also say Telesca will have to hold a new vote if neither candidate wins his 51%.

Stefanovski did not attend Thursday’s trial. However, his attorney, Jared Kohane, severely criticized Telesca on the witness stand.

“So the bylaws are just suggestions,” he said.

Telesca replied: “No, that’s not true at all. We use them for guidance.”

In 2018, Stefanovsky won the support of the Independence Party. It earned him another 25,000 votes. Gov. Ned Lamont’s Working Family Line got him an additional 17,000 votes. This year, Lamont will participate in the polls his third time. Stefanowski wants Hotaling out of the vote.

Two Independent Party members who support Stefanovsky have joined the lawsuit.

Lawrence DePiro, one of the plaintiffs, said, “I have been a member of the Independent Party for many years, as I am, and I have never seen such dishonorable conduct against Independent Party voters.

Another plaintiff, Cynthia McCorkindale, said Telesca’s move invalidated her vote.

“If you don’t have a process, what do you have?” she testified.

If Stefanovsky’s case wins, the Independent Party could lose its track in the next gubernatorial vote in 2026. After the hearing, Telesca likened the Republican candidate to a vengeful, wealthy bully.

“I think it’s also kind of malicious because they don’t try to cross the line,” he said.

The clock is ticking. The ballots must be sent to the town clerk by next Thursday, so Judge César Noble said he would make a ruling by then.

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