2-time Connecticut governor candidate hit by car dies

A two-time candidate for Connecticut governor who was struck last week by a car while jogging in Pennsylvania has died, his family said in a brief statement released Wednesday.

Oz Griebel, 71, of Hartford, died from complications related to the July 21 crash.

“The Griebel family is very appreciative of the outpouring of support they've received since the accident and will share information about the services once arrangements have been made. They continue to ask for privacy at this time,” read the statement.

Griebel, a father of three, ran campaigns for governor as a Republican in 2010 and as an independent in 2018, when he joined forces with lifelong Democrat and Newtown attorney Monte Frank to mount an unconventional political campaign aimed at voters frustrated by the current two-party system. Their ticket’s slogan was: “No politics. No parties. Just solutions.”

Griebel said at the time he believed voters were “longing for a bipartisan solution” in Connecticut, a state that had been marked by consecutive years of budget deficits. Griebel received the endorsement of the Hartford Courant, but lost in a three-way race to Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont after being vastly outspent.

“Does the money trouble me? Of course, it troubles me. These guys are soaking up the airwaves all over,” Griebel said in October of 2018 of Lamont and Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski. “But I really believe that people, they’ve had enough of this."

Both of his former political rivals, however, lauded Griebel for his enthusiasm and dedication to the state and the capital city of Hartford.

“Oz Griebel’s heart was with the state of Connecticut – he loved this state and the people who live in it, and he enthusiastically believed that its best days are ahead,” Lamont said in a statement, adding how he loved to listen to Griebel's “spirited energy” whenever he spoke about how to make Connecticut and the Hartford region an even better place to live and work.

“We can all take a page from his commitment to work across the aisle and remove politics from policy," he said.

In a tweet, Stefanowski said Griebel “brought incredible energy and passion" to his work, calling him “a terrific person, (who) worked tirelessly for our state, and will truly be missed.”

Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said in a tweet that Griebel was “gracious and fun to be around" and someone who “refused to be put into a lane.”

“He obsessed about policy and knew politics was just a means to an end,” Murphy said. “And he cared, more than almost anyone I ever met, about the future of our state and the people in it.”

A former banker and attorney, Griebel had also served for nearly 17 years as president and chief executive officer of the MetroHartford Alliance, an economic development group in the Hartford region. He left that post in December 2017. He was involved in numerous civic endeavors throughout his career and helped to spearhead the Connecticut Transportation Strategy board, which he chaired from 2001 to 2005, overseeing multi-modal transportation policy for the state.

He most recently has been working with Serve America Movement, a national group that advocates for election reforms, such as open primaries in Connecticut.

In a joint statement, Frank, who has led the group's Connecticut organization with Griebel, and national chairman and former U.S. Rep. David Jolly said: “Oz was and always will be the vision of courage, a man of passion and integrity and the epitome of a leader." They promised to “carry forward his mission to improve democracy and the lives of all people.”

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This story has been corrected to show that Chris Murphy is a U.S. senator, not representative.