HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Republican businessman Bob Stefanowski lost to Democrat Ned Lamont in Connecticut’s gubernatorial race for the second time in four years.

Stefanowski conceded the race shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday. News 8 spoke one-on-one with him about his conversation with the governor.

“I congratulated him,” Stefanowski said. “I asked, in particular, that he take a look at this police accountability bill and keep law enforcement safe. I re-emphasized that I’ve seen a lot of people who are struggling to try and do something to help them in the short term, and I wished him the best. He ran a great campaign, and he won, it’s the will of the people of the state of Connecticut, so I really, really hope he does the right thing for the people of Connecticut.”

The two rivals presented starkly different views of public safety in Connecticut. Stefanowski called crime in Connecticut “out of control,” echoing a message from Republicans across the country, and proposed overhauling parts of the 2020 police accountability law which he said is to blame for challenges recruiting more police officers. Lamont has countered with statistics that show a 3% reduction in overall crime between 2020 and 2021, saying it’s a positive trend despite political “fearmongering.”

Voters have been deluged with TV ads paid for by various political action committees as well as the candidates themselves, who’ve each invested millions of dollars of their own money in the race.

The last Republican governor in Connecticut was M. Jodi Rell, a moderate who served until January 2011.

Democrats focused heavily on the abortion issue, in light of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. They hoped to drive abortion-rights supporters to the polls in a state where abortion is legal with restrictions. Stefanowski calls himself “pro-choice,” but Democrats argued he can’t be trusted to protect Connecticut’s laws.

Former President Donald Trump backed Stefanowski in his 2018 run, but he did not weigh in on this year’s race. Also, Stefanowski didn’t seek a rating from the National Rifle Association. In 2018, he received an A rating. Lamont has received an F for 2022.

Lamont, a former cable TV entrepreneur, spent more than $20 million of his own money, exceeding the $15 million he spent in 2018. The national parties and various political action committees also dumped large sums into negative ads.

A mergers and acquisitions expert, Stefanowski loaned his campaign $12 million, more than triple his investment in the 2018 race.

Lamont was running for reelection with Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, while Stefanowski tapped state Rep. Laura Devlin as a running mate.

Cheshire banker Rob Hotaling and Stewart “Chip” Beckett were running on the Independent Party line. Hotaling issued a statement early Wednesday congratulating Lamont, saying he hopes “Connecticut experiences growth and prosperity under his leadership.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.