The Hartford Courant
4:09 PM EDT, September 12, 2013
Does anybody really think Tom Foley won't run for governor next year?
The coy Mr. Foley, a Republican from Greenwich who was almost elected governor in 2010, would have us think he hasn't made up his mind.
He announced this week that he was opening an exploratory committee to run for governor in 2014 — as have two other Republicans, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and state Sen. Toni Boucher of Wilton.
Only state Senate Republican leader John McKinney of Fairfield has been straightforward about his intentions. He announced his candidacy for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in July.
No exploratory half-step for Mr. McKinney, although if he had joined the others he could have started raising money and would have had the opportunity, like them, to make what amounts to two formal announcements of candidacy with all the attendant media exposure.
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has not yet disclosed his plans. Does anybody really think he too won't run again?
Mr. Foley, who in 2010 lost to Mr. Malloy in the closest gubernatorial election in 50 years and has a good shot at closing the gap next year should there be a rematch, wasted his first announcement Tuesday. He and the partisan defenders at state Democratic headquarters launched silly verbal cream pies at each other.
Sample: One particular jobs-producing strategy employed by Mr. Malloy is "somewhere between crazy and stupid," Mr. Foley said. At another point, Mr. Foley was called "cowardly and irresponsible" by Malloy adviser Roy Occhiogrosso. Not illuminating. We hope for better during a gubernatorial campaign that has more than a year to go. Voters have become much less tolerant of name-calling. Campaigns risk being tuned out.
Odd Claim Of Voter Fraud
It was also troubling to hear Mr. Foley make the serious claim at his exploratory announcement this week that he was cheated out of victory last time.
"I believe if all voter fraud had been eliminated in 2010, I would have won the election," he said. He joked about "that missing bag of 7,000 Foley votes from 2010."
The reference to fraud robbing him of victory is strange in light of his deservedly acclaimed gracious concession to Mr. Malloy after the extended vote counting in Bridgeport was finally completed.
In his concession, Mr. Foley said "the election on Tuesday, although very close, was a conclusive victory for Dan Malloy and this result should not be questioned." To contest the results would disenfranchise voters who cast ballots in good faith, he said.
He said back then there was no credible evidence of fraudulent voting. He reiterated this week that a recount after the 2010 election wouldn't have changed the results.
But those statements don't square with the new claim that voter fraud in 2010 cost Mr. Foley the governorship. Which is it, Mr. Foley? Yes, there were irregularities in ballot handling by Bridgeport election officials. But game-changing fraud? He is obliged to explain.
Public Money For Campaigning
Mr. Foley, a millionaire who self-financed his 2010 campaign for governor, did use his announcement Tuesday to say he was considering using Connecticut's public financing of elections, as are all the other candidates for governor. Why not? He won't hear any criticism from this corner if he decides to participate. What is known as the Citizens Election Program is designed to roughly level the playing field.
One troubling note, however: State GOP Chairman Jerry Labriola made a party chair's traditional plea to avoid a party primary, on the grounds that they are expensive and divisive.
That's all the Republicans need: a gubernatorial ticket created by party bosses with no input from the rank and file other than convention delegates. No test by fire in a spirited primary campaign. That's a sure way to kill enthusiasm.
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