Foley to announce his 2014 plans in Bridgeport

On a day when much of Connecticut’s political world will be focused on municipal primaries, including mayoral contests in New Haven and Stamford, Republican Tom Foley is expected to formally launch his second campaign for governor.

Foley, who narrowly lost to Democrat Dannel P. Malloy in 2010 and has all-but-announced his intention to seek a rematch, has scheduled an 11 a.m. press conference at the Burroughs Community Center in Bridgeport “to make an announcement concerning the 2014 gubernatorial election.”

Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney, R-Fairfield, already is in the race, and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, have formed exploratory committees that allow them to begin raising seed money.

McKinney, Boughton and Boucher all say they will seek public financing, as Malloy did in 2010 as he became the first Democrat to win a Connecticut gubernatorial election since William A. O’Neill in 1986. Foley, a wealthy businessman, self-funded his 2010 race.

Joseph Visconti, a former town councilman from West Hartford, also is seeking the GOP nomination.

Foley’s announcement of his intention to make an announcement drew immediate fire from the Connecticut Democratic Party, which rehashed an old issue from 2010: Foley’s stewardship of a textile mill his investment company took over.

“Mr. Foley has a lot of questions to answer,” Jonathan Harris, the party’s executive director, said in an email. “Did he really think taking these people’s jobs away and ruining their retirement security was the right thing to do, and the right way to make millions of dollars?”

Democrats also highlighted Foley’s silence on a key issue of the 2013 legislative session: the passage of a bipartisan package of gun control laws in response to the shooting deaths of 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.

“After weeks of equivocating, did he really need to pander to the NRA by kind of, almost, maybe saying he would have vetoed the common sense gun safety bill Gov. Malloy signed into law?” Harris said.

Foley is expected to follow the template established by his GOP rivals: focus on state spending, taxes and the economy since Malloy became governor in January 2011. 

With only 44 percent of voters saying he deserves re-election in an early Quinnipiac University poll, Malloy is a tempting target for the GOP.