Less than a week before Tuesday’s primary, Republican gubernatorial hopeful John McKinney unveiled a harsh new attack ad that portrays his GOP rival Tom Foley as a hard-hearted businessman who doesn’t care about the plight of factory workers.
The 30-second spot includes footage of Foley’s visit last week to a mill in Sprague, where more than 100 workers are losing their jobs. Newspaper editorials describing Foley as “arrogant” and “uncaring” are highlighted.
The ad underscores one of McKinney’s main campaign themes: that he is more electable than Foley and would do better in a head to head match up against Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. The ad points out that Foley failed to defeat Malloy in 2010.
McKinney’s late attack on Foley, the party-endorsed candidate and putative frontrunner, echoes that attack by Foley’s 2010 Republican primary opponent Michael Fedele. The script drafted by Fedele that painted Foley as an out-of-touch businessman who did not care about workers was later seized by Malloy and the Democrats in the general election.
On Thursday, after releasing the ad, the McKinney campaign issued a statement suggesting that the Democrats would hit Foley even harder on his mill appearance.
“The media’s characterization of Mr. Foley’s appearance in Sprague which we have highlighted in our new ad, is mild compared to what Democrats will do with this unfortunate episode, and others, in the fall if Mr. Foley were to be our nominee,” McKinney said. “Republicans cannot afford to nominate a candidate who divides us with talk of failure. A true leader would have offered hope for displaced workers with a clear plan for assisting them and explained exactly how he would have handled the situation differently. I have done just that from start to finish.”
Foley has been waging a cautious and confident campaign; earlier this week, he told the Courant’s Matt Clarida that the only way he would lose the primary was if he were to get hit by a bus.
McKinney, who has been crisscrossing the state for weeks in an underdog quest to capture votes, accused his rival of running a campaign short on specifics and long on brash assurance.
“Tom Foley appears to think he is entitled to this election,” McKinney said. “He offers no specifics, refuses to answer questions about his positions on issues and challenges reporters and citizens who confront this lack of detail. I don’t believe that this will help us defeat Dan Malloy. And the momentum of our campaign makes me believe that many others agree.”