- Associated Press - Saturday, May 17, 2014

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut Republicans on Saturday turned again to their 2010 gubernatorial nominee, endorsing Greenwich businessman Tom Foley as the GOP’s candidate to challenge Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in November.

But it appeared likely Foley will first have to survive a primary challenge before he can wage a rematch with Malloy.

While Foley secured 57 percent of the delegates, both Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney each won more than the 15 percent needed to participate in the mid-August primary. Both men said they plan to wage a primary challenge.

The two remaining candidates, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and West Hartford businessman Joe Visconti, may attempt petitioning to stay in the gubernatorial race.

State Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, of Stafford, also won the GOP nod for lieutenant governor but she, too, may face opponents in a primary.

Foley had hoped to avoid a primary. He blames his bruising primary battle in 2010 against former Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele for costing him the close general election against Malloy. But Foley speculated that his potential primary foes might change their minds. If not, Foley contends he has the upper hand with GOP primary voters.

“I think they know me better than the other candidates. I’ve been around a long time. I think I’m the reliable vote,” Foley said. “I think they know that I’ve got a message that will win and resonate and win in November.”

Foley’s endorsement comes days after a new Quinnipiac University Poll shows him tied with Malloy in a potential match-up. Malloy, who received the Democratic Party’s nomination on Friday, contends the state is making progress in recovering from the recession and now is not the time to return to Republican control of the governor’s office. But the poll showed that economic issues have continued to dog the first-term governor.

In his address to the delegates, Foley said the GOP has the chance to show voters that Republicans have the right answers.

“Only we have the ability to restore the opportunity, optimism and pride so badly needed in our great state of Connecticut,” Foley said. “Why is that? It’s because voters know that Governor Malloy, his progressive agenda, has not worked and Connecticut is headed down the wrong track.”

Nancy DiNardo, chairman of the Connecticut Democrats, called the potential three-way primary “both a dream and a nightmare.” She said voters will see the GOP candidates as “pandering politicians” on the “wrong side of the issues,” but will have to “bear months and months of empty promises, laughable claims on tax cuts without spending cuts and more pandering to the NRA.”

Boughton said he believes he has a good chance of winning the primary, considering Foley and McKinney both live in lower Fairfield County, He contends a primary will not hurt the GOP’s chances of defeating Malloy. State Republican Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr., who abstained from voting Saturday, had called for the party to unify around a candidate.

“Our people were strong and held under intense pressure, particularly from the party infrastructure that didn’t want a primary,” Boughton said. “But they really, truly believe that this decision ought to be made by all Republican voters. So we’re going to take a very vigorous approach to this race and we’re going to get it done.”

McKinney narrowly won the ability to participate in the primary. He finally secured enough votes after delegates in other communities, including Stamford and Shelton, switched their votes in favor of him.

“We’re unbelievably happy. We’ve got our shot. We’re going to take our message to not just Republicans, but to the people across the state of Connecticut,” McKinney said. “I’m running against Dan Malloy. I’m going to run on a vision of turning Connecticut around.”

Labriola contends there’s still a chance there won’t be a GOP gubernatorial primary, theorizing that McKinney and Boughton could drop out after a “cooling off period.” Labriola has voiced concern about the late date of the primary, making it difficult to build a campaign infrastructure. He also contends the 2010 primary battle harmed the GOP chances of winning the governor’s race.

“I think any party chairman in America would always want to see party unity at the first opportunity,” Labriola said.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

blog comments powered by Disqus

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide