This story has been updated.
Greenwich Democrat Ned Lamont pulled off a win in the Connecticut gubernatorial race after being credited overnight with a 15,931 win in the state's largest city, Bridgeport.
Lamont also won the state's third-largest city, Hartford, by 17,238 votes.
Republican Bob Stefanowski conceded the race for governor about 9 a.m. on Wednesday after late returns from the state’s cities pushed Lamont to victory.
“A few moments ago, I called Ned Lamont to concede the race for governor and congratulate him on a hard-fought victory,’’ Stefanowski said in a statement. "I wish both Ned and the state of Connecticut success over these next four years."
As of 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, Lamont had 661,560 votes to Republican Bob Stefanowski's 643,392 for a 48.4 percent to 47.1 percent advantage. Independent Oz Griebel has 54,108 votes for 4 percent.
“Good things come to those who wait and things look great!” said Susan Bysiewicz, Lamont’s running mate as lieutenant governor, in Facebook post about 6 a.m. Wednesday. “Thanks to everyone working hard to correctly tally the results. We are excited and thankful. Proud to be part of this ride with Ned Lamont!”
Through the early overnight hours, the election was a true tossup.
The Connecticut secretary of state had said late Tuesday night that thousands of ballots need to be hand counted because they got wet.
“We are in the back room still counting numbers because so many people voted,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said overnight.
"A lot of cities are still counting. We have, believe it or not, wet ballots. We are telling them get out your hairdryer."
Merrill added that "thousands of ballots have to be hand counted."
Political pundits and pollsters said President Donald Trump's negative image appeared to harm Stefanowski more than outgoing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's tenure damaged Lamont.
Although they agreed that the state's economy is the top campaign issue, the two major party candidates for governor offered very different plans for fixing it.
Stefanowski, a former corporate executive officer, proposed eliminating state personal income and corporate earnings taxes to stimulate the economy, while cutting government spending to reduce the massive budget deficit. The Madison resident dubbed his campaign the "Rebuild Connecticut Road Tour."
Stefanowski successfully nailed Lamont on his shifting stands on highway tolls and taxes. In his latest radio debate, Lamont offered a lame "no comment" when asked if he'd raise taxes.
Lamont, a cable TV entrepreneur from Greenwich, argued that Stefanowski's tax-cut and budget plans lack details, favor millionaires and are irresponsible. Earlier in the campaign, Lamont admitted he might have to raise taxes to balance the budget and reduce the state's multi-billion dollar budget gap.
A list of Connecticut's prior governors can be found by clicking here.
Public opinion polls say residents of the Nutmeg State are most concerned about the economy, but also favor adding tolls back on Connecticut highways and interstates.
Lamont repeatedly said he favors tolls for out-of-state tractor trailers. Stefanowski opposes restoring tolls on state highways, calling them a new tax, and insisting Lamont would toll all cars and trucks.
During debates and on the campaign trail, Stefanowski repeatedly tried to link Lamont to two-term Gov Malloy and his failed fiscal politics -- while insisting Lamont would offer "more of the same."
But during a Monday radio debate, even Lamont gave Malloy a mediocre rating.
Stefanowski dodged the so-called "Trump Factor" since Connecticut was among the only states not visited by the president this fall. The Republican also was polling well among independent and unaffiliated voters.
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