Greenwich Republican Tom Foley came out swinging Monday with his first television commercial for governor, seeking to lure New York City firms and taxpayers to Connecticut.
Foley spoke directly in the 30-second TV ad to New Yorkers who are discouraged about the recent election of liberal Democrat Bill de Blasio as the city’s next mayor. De Blasio has pledged to raise taxes on those earning more than $500,000 annually, and he has outlined policies that would move New York City to the left after 20 years of fiscally conservative mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.
“Hey, New York City!’’ Foley says as he looks directly into the camera for much of the ad. “With your new mayor, I know many of you are thinking about leaving. Connecticut, with the same progressive policies you are about to see in your city, may not be first on your mind.’’
Foley, who lost to Democrat Dannel P. Malloy in 2010 in the state’s closest gubernatorial election in more than 50 years, still technically has an exploratory committee for governor. But he has said in the past that he is definitely running in 2014, and the TV ad did not show any hedging about whether he would run. The 2014 election is a full year away.
Foley reminds viewers of next year’s election and adds, “So enjoy one more year in your city, and then come join us in Connecticut under new leadership – heading in a better direction.’’
The ad never mentions Malloy or de Blasio by name and never says explicitly that Foley is definitely running for governor.
Relatively few voters in Connecticut may see the actual commercial. It was scheduled to start playing Monday on Fox News Channel in New York City and on NY1, a local news station on Time Warner Cable that covers politics and city issues 24 hours a day.
National Public Radio has named Malloy among the “most vulnerable governors” in 36 gubernatorial races in 2014.
James Hallinan, a spokesman for the Connecticut Democratic Party, said, “Tom Foley continues to pursue the most bizarre political strategy known to man. At the rate he’s going, he won’t even be his party’s nominee, much less become governor.”
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who ran on the Republican with Foley in 2010 and is now exploring his own run for governor, was not impressed with the commercial.
“While it’s an interesting campaign gimmick, I can assure you the strategy of our campaign will be the issues that Connecticut residents care about, not New York City residents,’’ Bougton said Monday in a telephone interview. “Those would be jobs, taxes, education.’’
Since the media buy is small, Boughton said he believes that the commercial will have little impact because relatively few people will see it.
“This is just a campaign gimmick to get his name out there,’’ Boughton said. “The time is long past for gimmicks.’’
After winning reelection last week as Danbury mayor with 71 percent of the vote, Boughton says he has set a timeframe of mid-January to make a final decision on whether to launch an official campaign for governor. He intends to seek public financing, adding that he expects to qualify for the money by the state Republican convention in mid-May.