Greenwich businessman Tom Foley captured the Republican State Convention endorsement for governor on the first ballot, riding on a wave of just over 100 last-minute vote switches.
Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele of Stamford and Oz Griebel of Simsbury, the former president of the Greater Hartford Metro Alliance, also captured enough delegates to force a primary. Both candidates have said they will carry the battle for the nomination to an Aug. 10 vote.
Former Congressman Larry DeNardis of Hamden and Branford financial analyst Christopher Duffy Acevedo fell well short of 15 percent of the delegation vote, the minimum amount needed to qualify for a primary.
“It’s going to be a very difficult race no matter who the Republican is,” said Foley, who held 607 votes after initial balloting, about 100 less than he needed to win a majority of the convention.
But party rules allow all delegates to switch their votes before taking a final tally, and Foley immediately began to pick up large numbers of DeNardis’ delegates in the 3rd Congressional District, which includes New Haven and the former congressman’s home town of Hamden.
Foley finished with 710 votes, or 50.7 percent of the total, compared to 427 for Fedele and 243 for Griebel.