Category Archives: John McKinney

New McKinney Attack Ad Slams Foley’s Sprague Mill Appearance

by Categorized: John McKinney, Tom Foley Date:

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.”

McKinney Stumps In Greenwich On One Of Worst Traffic Days In Years

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney, Tom Foley Date:

GREENWICH — Senate Republican leader John McKinney had no idea that Thursday would be among the worst traffic days in Greenwich in recent years.

Traffic is often bad in lower Fairfield County, but a tragic accident that killed a Connecticut Army National Guard soldier caused a traffic jam on Interstate 95 South from Darien to Westchester County, N.Y. that spilled over into local streets.

That caused McKinney, who is running for governor in Tuesday’s Republican primary against business executive Tom Foley, to be 1 hour and 15 minutes late for his campaign appearance at the Greenwich Senior Center. Some seniors had already left by the time he arrived, but others greeted him with a warm welcome.

“I’m so sorry,’’ McKinney said as he greeted the center’s program director, Suzanne Testani, near the front door. “Oh, the traffic was horrible, and I actually know the back roads, too.’’

As he worked the room, McKinney went from table to table and expressed his regrets for his lateness. Many of the seniors were playing cards at tables in groups of two, four or six.

When an elderly man asked him how he was doing, McKinney responded, “I’m doing well. I’m not in traffic any more.’’

McKinney then approached a table of four women who were serious card players with about six decks of cards on the table.

“I’m smart enough not to interrupt this game,’’ McKinney said by way of introduction before asking who was winning. He then chatted with the foursome about card games played by his family members before mentioning why he had traveled to the center along Greenwich’s main shopping street.

“You may have remembered my dad, Stewart McKinney,’’ he said of the former Congressman who represented Greenwich and other communities in lower Fairfield County until his death in 1987. “I am running for governor. There are two of us left, down from six.’’

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, Avon attorney Martha Dean, Shelton mayor Mark Lauretti and former West Hartford town council member Joseph Visconti are no longer running in the Republican primary. Visconti has finished gathering signatures in an attempt to get on the ballot in November.

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45th Anniversary Of Expansion of Legislative Powers

by Categorized: General Assembly, John McKinney Date:

It was 45 years ago this summer when the Connecticut legislature made a bold move at the time and established a special management committee that allowed for the creation of the modern legislature.

The move, adopted in the summer of 1969, allowed for the establishment of separate policy and fiscal staffs. Through the years, those have grown into the highly influential Office of Fiscal Analysis and Office of Legislative Research that have permanent, year-round staff members – unlike 45 years ago.

The leaders who made it happen included two future members of the U.S. Congress – state House Speaker William R. Ratchford of Danbury and then-House Minority Leader Stewart McKinney of Fairfield.

While lawmakers today take it for granted that the fiscal and policy offices have allowed the legislature to have equal power, the legislators in 1969 needed to override a veto by Governor John Dempsey to create the Office of the Joint Committee on Legislative Management. That office is now led by a $165,000-per-year executive director with a staff that functions as the administrative arm of the legislature. Continue reading

Courant Endorses McKinney Over Foley In GOP Gubernatorial Primary

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney, Tom Foley Date:

The Hartford Courant has endorsed Senate minority leader John McKinney over Greenwich business executive Tom Foley in the August 12 Republican primary.

The editorial states, “After the Newtown massacre of Dec. 14, 2012, the state’s Democratic governor and legislative leaders began work on a major gun safety bill. Republican state Sen. John McKinney, whose district includes Newtown, had to make a decision. He could oppose the bill and play to a part of the GOP base, or he could engage the process and try to influence the drafting of the law.

“He chose the latter and voted for the bill. The decision earned him an F rating from the National Rifle Association. It is, however, one of the reasons The Courant endorses him in the Aug. 12 gubernatorial primary against Tom Foley.

The editorial continues, “If a Republican is elected in November, he will have to work with a General Assembly dominated, almost certainly, by Democrats. It will help a great deal if the candidate knows how the place works, and has the trust of the people he is working with. That is Mr. McKinney.” Continue reading

Courant Endorses David Walker of Bridgeport For Lt. Governor

by Categorized: 2014 Election, General Assembly, John McKinney, Republicans, Tom Foley Date:

The Hartford Courant has endorsed for U.S. Comptroller General David Walker of Bridgeport in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

The editorial states, “If you harbor the suspicion that state government could run more efficiently and less expensively, you might want to call in a no-nonsense accountant with a green eyeshade to poke around the bureaucratic labyrinth. Someone like David Walker.

“Mr. Walker is one of three candidates, along with former Groton Mayor Heather Bond Somers and state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, vying for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in the Aug. 12 primary. We believe Mr. Walker’s credentials best match the state’s needs, and endorse him in the primary.”

The newspaper also endorsed Walker’s running mate, Senate minority leader John McKinney of Fairfield, for governor in the primary against Greenwich business executive Tom Foley. Continue reading

Polling Woes: Foley’s Way Ahead of Malloy, Or Maybe Not

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Connecticut, Democrats, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney, Jonathan Pelto, Republicans, Tom Foley Tagged: , , Date:

If anyone needed any more evidence about how cautious you have to be of political polling these days, all they have to do is look at the results of two very different opinion surveys released in the last few days.

On Tuesday, a new-style, online type of poll on Connecticut’s gubernatorial race came out with the somewhat startling results that Republican Tom Foley was leading Democratic incumbent Dannel Malloy by nine percentage points.  One reason it got so much play – despite all the questions about how it was done – was because it was commissioned by the New York Times and CBS.

Democrat Dannel Malloy

Democrat Dannel Malloy

On Thursday, a slightly more traditional opinion survey was released, this time by a GOP-leaning group called Vox Populi Polling. It found Malloy was ahead of Foley by a single percentage point. A third-party candidate, Jonathan Pelto, came in with three percent support among those polled. With the margin of error involved, the only conclusion you could have is that the race is too close to call.

Republican Tom Foley

Republican Tom Foley

So, which one are we supposed to  believe? The NYT-CBS sponsored survey that used rather questionable online methods? Or the Vox Populi Polling results that also involved some methods (such as automated “robo-calls” to presumed voters) that traditional pollsters question?

Maybe the answer is to be very wary of both.

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Candidates On The Outs

by Categorized: 2014 Election, Chris Christie, Gov. Dannel Malloy, John McKinney, Tom Foley Date:


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy agrees with Republican rival Tom Foley that Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, who is challenging Foley in the GOP’s Aug. 12 gubernatorial primary, should drop out of the race.

Thing is, Malloy also wants Foley out.

“I did note that Mr. Foley called on Mr. McKinney to get out of the race,” Malloy said Thursday with a grin. “I want to join Mr. Foley and call on both of them to get out of the race.”

It is unlikely that Foley, who came within 6,404 votes of defeating Malloy in 2010, will take up the governor’s offer. So on Friday, Malloy took a minute to throw a jab at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who visited the state this week to stump and raise money for Foley.

“Let me point something out: Republicans brought Gov. Christie into our state, and just so you know, New Jersey has no dollars in the rainy day fund, we’re shortly going to be bouncing up to about $400 million,” Malloy said, ticking off a list of areas where, he says, Connecticut is superior to New Jersey, including bond ratings and pension funding.

There is little love lost between Christie and Malloy, who have sparred on the cable television circuit and in their public statements since Malloy took office in 2011.

McKinney: “We Are Not Leaving This Race.”

by Categorized: 2014 Election, John McKinney, Tom Foley Date:

Republican John McKinney says he is not leaving the governor’s race, despite a call from his GOP rival Tom Foley to drop out.

Foley, who won the endorsement of Republican insiders at the state party convention in May, said McKinney should abandon his quest to win the party’s nomination. “I think the right thing for John to do is to drop out of the race and endorse me, and I hope he does it,” Foley told The Day of New London’s editorial board.


McKinney flatly rejected Foley’s call.

“Obviously, Tom Foley’s polling is telling him the same thing ours is telling us: this race is now competitive,” McKinney said. “After a disastrous debate performance and an unwillingness to give voters a straight answer on any important issue, voters are turning toward our plan for spending reductions and real tax relief.

“I appreciate that having taken over the state party machine, Tom would like to dictate the outcome of this primary instead of engaging me on the issues.

“We are not leaving this race.”


“You Don’t Want Two Clones”: McKinney and Walker Diverge on Guns

by Categorized: 2014 Election, David Walker, Gun control, John McKinney Date:

Republicans John McKinney and David Walker forged an alliance based on a strategic need to pool resources as well as a shared vision for strengthening the state’s economy.

But that doesn’t mean the gubernatorial running mates agree on every issue facing Connecticut. In fact, they diverge sharply on gun control, one of the defining controversies of the campaign.

McKinney, a state senator representing Newtown, was a key supporter of the sweeping gun control legislation that passed in the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shootings. For that, and for his past support of gun control efforts, the candidate for governor earned an F rating from the NRA

Senate Republican Leader John McKinney. Hartford Courant photo.

Senate Republican Leader John McKinney. Hartford Courant photo.

and was branded “a true enemy of gun owners’ rights.”

Walker, who is running for lieutenant governor, defines himself as “a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment.” He earned a qualified A from the NRA. (The grade is qualified because Walker, who has not held elective office, does not have a voting record on gun-related policies, although the NRA views him as a pro-gun candidate because of his responses to organization’s questionnaire.)

The split on guns could make for some uncomfortable moments on the campaign trail but Walker shrugs it off. “You don’t want two clones,” said Walker, who is not a pistol-permit holder but does own several antique guns that have been in his family for generations.


Still, Walker is taking some precautions. His campaign has two different lawn signs, one reading McKinney/Walker and one with just Walker’s name.

“We’re going to have both because the truth is, there are certain parts of the state where a McKinney/Walker sign might be OK and there are certain parts of the state where it may not be OK,” he told members of the Bridgeport Republican Town Committee last week. “John and I are in strong agreement with regards to most policy issues on fiscal policy. We disagree on a few issues such as the 2nd Amendment. I’m a very strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment [and] that’s a big issue for certain parts of the population.”

And he reminded the Bridgeport Republicans on the way the system works: “All of you know you vote separately for governor and lt. governor
and while John McKinney and I have formed an alliance, the fact is when people go into the voting booth, they’re going to have to make a separate judgement on governor and lt governor.”



McKinney Says Foley “Doesn’t Deserve the Opportunity to Lead Our Party Against Dan Malloy”

by Categorized: 2014 Election, John McKinney, Tom Foley Date:

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

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.

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 $2.00 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.

“In order to pay for this infrastructure investment the legislature agreed to a phased-in increase in the Petroleum Gross Receipts Tax from 5.0% in 2005 to 8.1% in 2013,” McKinney said.

“Why Tom Foley is opposed to this vital investment in the infrastructure of the transportation systems in our state is beyond me,” McKinney added.