Griebel ran any way, because after years of partisan gridlock at the Connecticut capitol he believed voters were ready for a third way. Public and private polls showed his sense of the public mood was correct. Voters are not concerned about party labels, they just want the job to get done and they have little faith the constant squabbling between Democrats and Republicans will ever produce results.
Griebel had always been a Republican, but for this campaign he registered as unaffiliated. He chose as his running mate, Democratic lawyer Monte Frank, who became well-known after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School for his work in the area of gun violence prevention. Frank also listed himself as unaffiliated for this campaign. The pairing of two pragmatists was meant to show the voters that this was the real deal. Two guys concerned only about doing the work and making decisions based on the merits.
@ Dean Pagani 2019 - This Decisive Moment