Foley to fly solo, skip running mate

After approaching at least two state legislators and a mayor about joining his ticket, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley said today he will go without a running mate to the Republican State Convention next weekend.

One of the legislators, Rep. Pamela Sawyer, R-Bolton, said today she declined an offer to join the ticket, saying she was committed to Lt. Gov. Michael C. Fedele. The other, Penny Bacchiochi, R-Somers, said Foley approached her without making a formal offer.

Foley’s campaign issued a statement calling the choosing of a running mate “an out-of-date remnant” of the pre-primary era and expressed a willingness to run with the choice Fedele named today: Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who says he also had been approached by Foley.

“This year, the Republican Party has great opportunities and many good candidates for office, including for Lieutenant Governor. Mark Boughton, who Mike Fedele has said he wants as his running mate, is one of them. If elected Governor, I will be happy to have Mark serve alongside me and assist with the challenging job of turning Connecticut around,” Foley said in his statement.

Foley is under no obligation to choose a running mate. In fact, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately in primaries, not as tickets. In 2006, Democrat Dan Malloy lost the primary for governor, while his running mate, Mary Glassman, won her primary.

The upside for Foley is that he is free to urge Boughton delegates to remain neutral in the fight the gubernatorial nomination, saying Boughton will be the nominee for lieutenant governor even if Foley tops the ticket. The downside is the inevitable spin he was unable to attract a running mate.

But in his statement issued today, hours after Fedele and Boughton announced their new partnership, Foley did not make an overt appeal to Boughton delegates. Instead, he made clear he also could live with Lisa Wilson-Foley, who is running for lieutenant governor:

“Lisa is an accomplished businesswoman from the Hartford area. I am also going to encourage other qualified individuals to enter the race to promote a dialogue that will give Republican delegates and primary voters the best choice for the office.”

He also is unlikely to win friends among Boughton delegates with this language: “I hope the convention delegates choose to put Lisa on the primary ballot for Lieutenant Governor in addition to Mark Boughton, and possibly others. I will be encouraging delegates at the convention to provide primary voters these choices.”

Boughton said he was approached by Fedele, Foley and Griebel about joining them on a ticket.

“All the campaigns were interested in working together,” Boughton said.