Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley said Thursday he has the delegates and dollars he needs on the eve of this weekend’s GOP nominating convention: sufficient delegates to win, and enough dollars to qualify for public financing.
Foley, a businessman who largely self-funded his 2010 campaign for governor, is keeping the rest of the five-man GOP field guessing on two key questions: Will he accept public financing? And will he strike an alliance with a candidate for lieutenant governor?
“So far, we’ve told them we’re neutral,” Foley said, describing his instruction to delegates seeking guidance about whom to support for a running mate. “We may remain that way or we may decide we prefer the delegates support a particular candidate.”
But a reality of the modern convention system is that a gubernatorial candidate cannot easily dictate the choice of a running mate. Three candidates are running for lieutenant governor, and each have their share of committed delegates.
This would complicate any effort by the three best-known gubernatorial candidates, Foley, Sen. John McKinney or Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, to form a ticket — either among themselves or with one of the three candidates for lieutenant governor.
Boughton has been running as a team with Heather Bond Somers, but sources say their partnership has frayed. (Neither could be reached for comment.) Two others, Rep. Penny Bacchiochi of Stafford and David Walker, the former U.S. comptroller, round out the field for lieutenant governor.
Foley released a draft campaign finance report Thursday showing he has raised more than $250,000 in small-dollar contributions, enough to qualify for public financing. But he will not say if intends to opt in or out of the voluntary system.
The voluntary release of an updated campaign finance report — none is required until July — is part of Foley’s effort to convince 1,235 delegates to give him a convincing first-ballot victory over other GOP contenders at the nominating convention.
The report shows his campaign committee has raised $232,195 — short of the qualifying threshold of $250,000 in itemized contributions of no more than $100 each. But he is claiming $21,907 in qualifying contributions from his exploratory committee.
The report lists $122,591 in contributions since April 1. He is the first to claim reaching the $250,000 threshold.
The GOP convention opens Friday afternoon at the Mohegan Sun. Delegates are scheduled to endorse candidates for Congress and secretary of the state on Friday, then return Saturday to pick candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, comptroller and attorney general.
Foley is competing with McKinney, Boughton, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and Joe Visconti.