State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney has spent some 15 years in the state legislature compiling a conservative voting record and a reputation as a smart, well-spoken lawmaker who was likely to seek higher office somewhere. McKinney made it official Tuesday, the higher office he wants is governor.
McKinney is in early, making his announcement in a news release on his website:
“There is a better way to manage state government – one that doesn’t waste, or abuse taxpayer dollars; one that will restore economic prosperity and help reduce unemployment; and one that will protect our quality of life and ensure that our children have even better opportunities to succeed than the generation before them,” he said.
“I love my state and I’ve always been proud to call Connecticut my home,” said McKinney. “I’m running for governor because I care about Connecticut’s history and its future. I want my children and the next generation to be just as proud to call Connecticut their home.”
McKinney, an eight-term state senator from Fairfield and son of former 4th District Congressman Stewart B. McKinney, has been Connecticut’s Senate Minority Leader since 2007, and the highest-ranking Republican in state politics since Governor M. Jodi Rell left office in 2011. In May, McKinney was awarded the Connecticut Republican Party’s highest honor – the Prescott Bush Sr. Award.
McKinney will likely be opposed for the nomination by 2010 nominee Tom Foley and possibly by Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton. At this early stage, he has as good a chance as anyone to unseat Democrat Dannel Malloy who has been coy about seeking reelection but is expected to run.
There will be plenty of time to scrutinize McKinney lengthy voting record. State Democrats already have. That scrutiny may be troublesome for someone who wants to be governor of very-blue Connecticut. He has voted in the minority repeatedly with the notable exception of the post-Sandy Hook gun control, mental health and school safety measure. He supported it, courageously going against the right wing of his party. (Foley has never said whether he would have signed the bill if he was governor, saying instead, the bill “would have looked very different.”)
Foley is the presumptive frontrunner having come within a whisper of beating Malloy in 2010. He has millions, he’s well-connected and he has in essence been running since the last race. However there is little doubt Connecticut Democrats will try to paint Foley as Connecticut’s Mitt Romney, or worse, Linda McMahon—a self-funded, out-of-touch corporate raider
Boughton is the wildcard. He’s wildly popular in Danbury—so much so that he has no opponent in his reelection bid this fall. If he enters the race, he won’t have the baggage of being in the state legislature (although he was at one time).