Get ready for the battle royal of state politics – the election for governor. Yes, this election cycle will be more like a steel cage match than sophisticated conversation among gents. It’s the nature of the beast, now that Democrats have endorsed incumbent Governor Dan Malloy for another four-year term while Republicans endorsed 2010 nominee Tom Foley for a possible Malloy rematch. But wait, there’s a Republican primary in August that will select the GOP standard bearer for November.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and State Senator John McKinney received enough delegate support at the Saturday party convention to wage a primary.
McKinney chose Bridgeport resident David Walker, the former U.S. Comptroller General, to serve as his running mate. McKinney entered the convention in a fragile position with delegates to secure the 15 percent support needed to qualify for the ballot. McKinney fell short of delegate support on the initial balloting, but delegate switchers from Bridgeport, Shelton and Stamford put him over the top.
Foley’s political operation took a gamble at the convention at Mohegan Sun, directing delegates to switch votes to McKinney in the belief a three-way primary is beneficial to Foley who fears a two-way race with Boughton would generate a blood bath prior to the general election. Be careful what you wish for.
State Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, who received the endorsement for lieutenant governor by the slimmest of margins on Saturday, kicked up the rhetoric on the eve of the convention claiming the Walker campaign had raised her biracial marriage as an issue. Walker fired back quickly saying it was a concocted charge by a desperate candidate losing support. Bacchiochi retreated from her claims that Walker himself has said anything, and apologized to Walker.
The third candidate for lieutenant governor Heather Bond Somers, former mayor of Groton, will run on Boughton’s line.
In primaries candidates for governor and lieutenant governor technically run on their own accord. Primary winners run as a joint ticket in the general election.
Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti is also in the race but failed to receive enough support to qualify for a primary. Lauretti can petition his way onto the ballot by securing signatures of 8,190 registered Connecticut Republicans. But that’s labor-intensive process requiring loads of workers.
Supporters of McKinney, the Senate minority leader, argue he is best equipped to defeat Democratic Governor Dan Malloy–who was nominated by acclamation at the Democratic Party convention Friday night in Hartford–in the general election. McKinney is a moderate who could appeal to the majority bloc of unaffiliated voters who sway statewide elections. He supported gun control legislation advanced by Malloy following the school tragedy at Sandy Hook that is included in McKinney’s Senate district. His support created a scratchy relationship with Republican delegates opposed to gun control. McKinney insiders believe GOP delegates are disconnected from Republican primary voters, especially women placing a premium on protecting children.