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.