GOP candidates for governor spread their message

Eleven months before Connecticut voters get choose their next governor, Republicans have kicked off a monthly road show with the goal of bringing candidate debates to each of the state’s five congressional districts before the GOP convention in May.

Judging by the two-hour slugfest at Windsor High School last week, candidates are working on their red-meat lines for the base they will have to mobilize to grab the 15 percent support from delegates they will need for a primary, if not the outright party nomination.

There was plenty to chew on for GOP paleos at the debate.

Tim Herbst, Trumbull’s former first selectman and possibly the most aggressive of the seven hopefuls at the event, strode back and forth across the elevated stage, promising he would work to bring back the death penalty. He also vowed to reject state pension eligibility if elected, and said he would require his agency heads to do the same.

“I’m the only person on this stage who is committed to not accepting donations from Hartford lobbyists, because if we’re going to change the culture, we have to lead by example,” Herbst, the party’s 2014 candidate for state treasurer, said to the crowd of about 500. “If we’re going to change the culture in Hartford, we have to lead by example, and if we’re going to lead by example and change the culture, we have to win, and we have to nominate candidates that have been battle-tested and battle-ready.”

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