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Conn. governor's race already heating up

By Kristi Allen
On January 21, 2014

We're not even a month into 2014 and it already looks like it's going to be an interesting election year. In Connecticut, governor Dannel Malloy is up for reelection. While incumbents are usually at an advantage for reelection, support for Malloy has been shaky in recent months and several people have already stepped up to challenge him. A look at the Republican candidates:

Tom Foley- The Greenwich millionaire and 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate had raised over $130,000 as of Jan. 10. That's pocket change compared to the $10 million of his own money that he spent on his campaign in 2010. Foley came within less than one percentage point of beating Malloy, losing by only 6,400 votes. Prior to running for governor, Foley ran the investment company NTC corp and served as the ambassador to Ireland from 2006 to 2009.

Mark Boughton- Foley's 2010 running mate has announced his own campaign for governor this year. Boughton is in his sixth term as mayor of Danbury (making him the longest serving mayor in the city's history) and he's running on his successes there. He claims that unemployment is far lower in Danbury than the rest of the state (about 6 percent compared with 7.9 percent unemployment in the state as a whole). Boughton was a high school teacher and has 13,000 followers on Twitter (@MayorMark). Boughton comes in third for fundraising at the moment with about $40,000. He is attempting to qualify for public financing, which means he will have to raise $250,000 in small donations in order to receive $1.25 Million in public money for the primary election in August and $6 million for the general election. Foley is also considering using the public financing system, as are several other candidates.  

John McKinney- McKinney is currently the minority leader in the state senate and at the at the head of the fundraising race, beating out Foley by just a few thousand dollars with $134,000 in hand. McKinney is an eight-term senator and has served as senate minority leader since 2007. He serves on the Environment Committee in the state legislature.
State senator Toni Boucher, Mayor Mark Lauretti of Shelton and former West Hartford town council member Joseph Visconti have also declared, but they're far behind the three front runners. No Democrat has announced that they'll be challenging Malloy this summer.
So who's going to win? Most early polls have put Malloy ahead of Foley and the other Republican challengers, and he's at a definite advantage as the Democratic incumbent in a heavily Democratic state. His narrow victory over Foley in the last election, however, should be a good indicator of how competitive the upcoming race will be. Foley only lost to Malloy in the inner cities and other candidates-particularly Boughton, who has branded himself as a "blue collar Republican"-could do a much better job at appealing to voters outside the suburbs than the Greenwich millionaire.
The state Democrats seem to be very aware of this. They've been sending out constant press releases condemning the Republicans who are running or thinking of running and it is surprising even those who are used to aggressiveness of a Connecticut governor's election. Hartford Courant columnist Colin McEnroe described them as "incessant and hectoring."
In time, the Republicans will roll up their sleeves as well. The outcome of this race is far from certain right now, but we can count on plenty of name calling, misleading "facts" and attack ads in a few months. Whether you're excited about an election year or not, we're all in for some serious political theater. If 2010 was any indication, it will be a long election year in Connecticut.  

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