McKinney reaches right with endorsement of Greenberg

The endorsement Monday of Mark Greenberg by Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney, R-Fairfield, is an effort by McKinney to end the party’s search for another candidate in the 5th Congressional District, while strengthening his own gubernatorial candidacy among conservatives.

“I think he’s the right candidate at the right time,” said McKinney, who backed the party’s moderate nominee, state Sen. Andrew Roraback of Goshen, over Greenberg in 2012.

Greenberg was one of the most conservative candidates in a crowded GOP field last year, when Democrat Elizabeth Esty won the open seat with a boost from President Obama’s coattails in Connecticut. McKinney, who supported the passage of gun control legislation after Newtown and is a moderate on social issues, is expected to have trouble with the party’s more conservative voters in 2014.

Greenberg has been fighting to convince the party that he is viable — and to stop efforts to recruit an alternative, such as Dr. William A. Petit, the survivor of the Cheshire home invasion. McKinney, who is acquainted with Petit, said his endorsement of Greenberg does not signify that Petit will not run. 

But McKinney said the best way to win in the 5th, which is the state’s most competitive congressional district, is to unite behind Greenberg.

“It is winnable,” McKinney said. “It is important for our party to be together.”