There is no doubt lesser-known Republican gubernatorial candidates were given an opening by the bumbling, former favorite Tom Foley’s baseless attacks on Gov. Dannel Malloy’s ethics. These candidates have failed, however, to take advantage of it. In fact, state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney pulled a real head-scratcher this week by casting his lot with fifth district congressional candidate Mark Greenberg, a self-described Tea Party sympathizer who didn’t even have the courage—or the decency—to return an endorsement to McKinney. Curious, indeed.
As a political observer, The Shad is at a loss to see what McKinney gains by endorsing Greenberg, who has twice failed to even secure the Republican nomination to run for Congress let alone compete for the seat in the general election.
Greenberg, as the state Democratic Party quickly pointed out, associates himself with the Tea Party. That’s not exactly a recipe for victory in deep-blue Connecticut. “I share a lot of the same ideals as the Tea Party,” Greenberg told the Danbury News-Times in October. State Dems immediately questioned whether McKinney does as well.
McKinney is bright, politically savvy and well-spoken. One has to wonder whether his embracing Greenberg is a political miscalculation. Even the way he did is peculiar. This is a time of year in advance of the 2014 gubernatorial campaign in which there is a dearth of campaign news (other than the big bucks people and paying and donating to Malloy). McKinney called a news conference to make the endorsement and it got extensive coverage. If Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton eventually endorses Greenberg, it’s likely to be quietly and only if it will help Boughton’s chances of securing the GOP gubernatorial nod. Right now, it doesn’t.
Making McKinney’s backing of Greenberg even odder is that when asked, Greenberg wouldn’t endorse McKinney’s bid for governor! You’d think McKinney would have required Greenberg to return the favor before announcing his support for the staunch conservative. Greenberg retreated to the faint-hearted equivalent of, “I’ll support whoever the [gubernatorial] nominee is.” Not exactly a profile in courage.
And what of the possible candidacy of Dr. William Petit, the lone survivor of the horrific Cheshire home invasion? While Petit has expressed some interest, he hasn’t filed any paperwork to run. But one would think McKinney would stay out of it until it’s clear just who is running.
I may be missing something here but McKinney’s backing of Greenberg makes no sense on many levels.