By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press
WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) _ Republican Tom Foley, who narrowly lost to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy four years ago, announced Wednesday he is making another run for governor and promised to cut the sales tax and help cities address crime, poverty and other issues.
The Greenwich man announced his decision at a VFW post in Waterbury, underscoring his effort to win votes in cities where Democrats have traditionally had an advantage.
“Connecticut’s future is really as good as the future of our cities,” said Foley, a former U.S. ambassador to Ireland who spent more than $10 million of his own money on his losing bid in 2010.
Malloy, a Democrat, has yet to announce whether he will seek a second term this year. Foley’s running mate from the last race, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, has already joined the field of Republican candidates, which also includes Senate Minority Leader John McKinney.
Foley said he would keep discretionary spending flat for two years to cut the sales tax by half a percent. He also promised to implement an agenda to help cities by focusing on schools, crime, jobs, housing and poverty. He said he would introduce inter-district school choice in schools not performing well, and promised not to interfere with local control of schools that are doing well.
Foley slammed Malloy for a large tax increase, saying it put a brake on the economy. He said jobs are still hard to find and many people are unhappy with what’s happening in Connecticut.
“Many believe that the state’s prospects have declined and the future is more uncertain than before,” Foley said. “I agree with those who believe we need a new direction and new leadership in Connecticut.”
Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary, delivering the Democrats’ response, said Foley’s announcement was filled with promises. But “there were no specific details on anything, quite frankly.”
O’Leary said the tax increase was needed to close a $3.5 billion deficit that Malloy inherited. He said the tax hike was painful but necessary and fair, and provided funding to cities.
Malloy has been good to cities, O’Leary said, citing funding to clean up polluted properties and new businesses.
Foley is seeking to qualify for public financing but said he has not made a decision yet on whether to use the money or not.
Foley lost to Malloy by 6,404 votes. Since then, Foley created the Connecticut Policy Institute, a public policy research group that examines state issues.
State Republicans are scheduled to endorse a candidate in mid-May, although a primary appears likely.
Both McKinney and Boughton are among the candidates collecting the small contributions necessary to qualify for public campaign financing. Candidates for governor must raise $250,000 in contributions of $100 or less to participate in the program.
McKinney, of Fairfield, raised $134,167 by the end of last year. Boughton, the seven-term Danbury mayor, reported a 2013 total of nearly $130,000. Foley has raised $131,827 after forming an exploratory committee. Candidates at the exploratory stage can accept contributions up to $375, but only those of up to $100 count toward qualifying for public financing.
Wilton state Sen. Toni Boucher, who is also considering a run for governor, raised $66,659.
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