Tom Foley and John McKinney

Republican gubernatorial candidates Tom Foley, left, shakes John McKinney's hand at the conclusion of a debate held at the Hartford Courant building Thursday. (Brad Horrigan / Hartford Courant / July 17, 2014)

With less than three weeks to go before the Aug. 12 primary, the two Republican candidates for governor continue to spend advertising dollars attacking one another on pocketbook issues.

On Monday, John McKinney released a blistering new television ad accusing his rival Tom Foley of twisting his stance on budgets and taxes.

"Tom Foley is just not being honest about my record," an indignant McKinney says in the 30-second commercial.

"The truth is, it's Tom Foley who won't cut spending. I will," said McKinney, who has served in the state Senate for 16 years, and is currently the Republican leader in the chamber.

The ad comes less than a week after the Foley campaign began airing a spot branding McKinney and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as "career politicians, insiders… pushing failed policies."

In particular, Foley's ad claimed McKinney and Malloy both back "billions in higher taxes."

McKinney released a detailed statement along with his new ad countering Foley's assertions. His ad also seeks to turn the tables on Foley and link him to Malloy.

"For Tom Foley to knowingly distort my voting record isn't honest," McKinney said. "We deserve a governor who has the highest degree of integrity and who will be truthful with the people of Connecticut. My record of fighting for the taxpayers is clear. I am offering real leadership and a plan to fix the state budget. Tom Foley has no plan. He refuses to engage in debates. He doesn't deserve the opportunity to lead our party against Dan Malloy this fall."

McKinney said 19 general fund budget or budget-related tax bills have come up for a vote during his 16 years in the Senate.

"Of those bills, 4 made no tax changes, 5 were bills that cut taxes and 10 were bills that increased taxes. I voted for 4 of the 5 bills that cut taxes. And I voted against tax increases 9 of 10 times," he said.

The one time he voted for a budget that included a general fund tax increase? That was in 2007 when the cigarette tax rose from $1.51 to $2 per pack, McKinney said.

The same year, McKinney also voted for a bill that authorized $500 million in Special Transportation Obligation bonds for the purchase of 342 new rail cars, plus transit buses, a dial-a-ride program for the elderly and disabled, renovations to the state pier in New London and several municipal airports — spending he charcaterized as a "vital investment in infrastructure."

On Tuesday night, McKinney opened his campaign headquarters in Fairfield. "Everything's ready to go,'' spokeswoman Jodi Latina said. "We're going to be phone-banking as early as tomorrow. The push is on."