Connecticut Republicans will have their say this coming Tuesday, Aug. 12, about who they want to lead the party’s ticket in November, Tom Foley or John McKinney.
Polls open at 6 a.m. for Republican voters across the state (some other towns and districts do have local Democrat primaries, but Weston does not) to nominate who will challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy of Stamford this fall as he seeks a second term.
In addition, Weston Republicans will be asked to choose between Penny Bacchiochi (the party-endorsed candidate), Heather Somers and David Walker for lieutenant governor; and between Sharon McLaughlin (party endorsed) and Angel Cadena for state comptroller.
HANRadio.com will be live on the air Tuesday night with results and analysis of the election and preview what’s ahead for the fall. HANRadio.com will be on the air at 7:30 with polls set to close around the state at 8 p.m.
Weston’s polling place is the gymnasium at Weston Middle School, 115 School Road.
To vote in a party’s primary you must be registered with that party. People who are 17 years old now but will turn 18 by the time of the Nov. 4 election are allowed to vote in the primary if registered.
The deadline to switch parties in order to vote in Tuesday’s primary has passed. But, for those who are not registered or are currently registered as unaffiliated, to register by mail, applications must be postmarked by Thursday, Aug. 7. One may register in person at town hall up until Monday, Aug. 11, at noon.
Although the law changed last year to allow it in general elections, there is no same-day registration for primaries in Connecticut.
Mr. Foley of Greenwich, a former U.S. ambassador to Ireland, is endorsed by the Republican Party and is considered the favorite in the primary, but there has been no public polling released in recent weeks, which Mr. McKinney of Fairfield, the state Senate minority leader, hopes could lead to an upset in what is considered a winnable race for Connecticut Republicans this fall.
Mr. Foley narrowly lost to Mr. Malloy in 2010 and recent polls have either shown Mr. Foley in the lead or the race even in a hypothetical rematch. However, Mr. McKinney’s supporters are quick to point to his long experience in the General Assembly and say he’s the better man to move the state forward.
In an interview this week with Hersam Acorn Newspapers, Mr. McKinney, who has served as Weston’s state senator in the 28th District for eight terms, said he was “very excited about where the campaign is as we go into the home stretch.”
He was able to point to endorsements from major newspapers such as The Hartford Courant and The Day of New London, as well as the response he said he was getting from the voters.
“I’m very pleased with the direction that we are headed,” Mr. McKinney said. “I think we have a lot of momentum right now and you can see it in the excitement among our supporters. We have these endorsements and every day we are getting calls for lawn signs and for people who want to volunteer at our phone banks. I’m very excited.”
However, Mr. Foley appears to be the favored candidate among Republican officials. He easily won the endorsement at the state Republican convention in May and last month received a public endorsement from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is the head of the national Republican Governors Association.
Third party challenge
The Democrats do not have a statewide primary on Tuesday. However, Mr. Malloy is contending with a third-party challenger from his left as former State Rep. Jonathan Pelto is running, which could potentially peel off votes from the Democrats, giving his candidacy a great deal of importance.
In a poll released last week by the non-partisan YouGov group, in partnership with both The New York Times and CBS News, Mr. Foley has a 42% to 33% lead over Mr. Malloy. The poll had more than enough undecideds in it to swing the election, but it did find that independents, a key voting block in what is a relatively blue state, are tilting heavily toward Mr. Foley by a 50%-15% margin.
The numbers were a bit surprising, causing some to call them into doubt considering the poll was done through online panels and not the more traditional methods of polling, resulting in questions about whether a representative sample was found. The Connecticut poll was one of several released last week, most of which either showed Republicans outperforming or Democrats underperforming other polls.
There was another poll released on July 31 by Vox Populi Polling that had Mr. Malloy clinging to a one-point lead, 35%-34%, over Mr. Foley; Mr. Pelto polled at 3%. That poll also has bad news for Mr. Malloy from independents, who picked Mr. Foley by 36%-24%.
“Republicans have a potential pickup opportunity in Connecticut,” Vox Populi Polling pollster Brent Seaborn said in a press release. “With the majority of voters disapproving of Dannel Malloy’s performance as governor and a third party candidate in the race, this seat is prime for Tom Foley’s taking.”
Mr. Foley will be a guest on HANRadio.com this Monday, Aug. 11, at 10 a.m., before the daily news show “Coffee Break” at 11.
Previous interviews with Mr. McKinney, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th) and other Connecticut political figures can be heard at the HANRadio.com archives.
An invitation has been extended to Mr. Malloy for a future appearance.
Ken Borsuk is editor of the Greenwich Post, a Hersam Acorn newspaper.