A Financial Sector Migration to Politics

It’s featured on the resumes of several statewide candidates

David Stemerman (Courtesy of his campaign website)
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Zach C. Cohen
March 6, 2018, 9 a.m.

David Stemerman, a Republican who announced this week for Connecticut governor after founding hedge fund Conatus “in the midst of the national economic meltdown,” is one of many statewide candidates boasting careers in the financial sector this year, a decade since the start of the Great Recession.

Former Wall Street trader Dita Bhargava pivoted to the Connecticut treasurer race last month after exploring a Democratic run for governor. In New York, private equity executive Chele Chiavacci Farley is the only major Republican running for the Senate.

Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital was a cudgel in 2012 but won’t hamper his Utah Senate bid. New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy won his first bid for public office in November after decades in leadership at Goldman Sachs.

There can be pitfalls. The DGA pounced on former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s time as CEO of a Wall Street lobbying firm as he prepares to run for a third term. But one of Stemerman’s primary opponents, former UBS executive Bob Stefanowski, told us late last month: “I hear the reverse, which is, ‘We’re tired of politicians. Thank God somebody who’s actually run something is interested in fixing the state.’”

— Zach C. Cohen


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