Project run-way

Jack Orchulli is out with a new fall fashion collection — it’s heavy on the reds.

But will it sell? Lucky for him, Anna Wintour won’t be the one deciding. She’s a Democrat.

A founding partner of the Michael Kors fashion label and the company’s former CEO, Orchulli confirms he is planning to file exploratory paperwork in the next few days for a potential run for statewide office. The Darien Republican ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2004 and for state comptroller in 2010.

“It’s time for me to get back on the saddle and move ahead with something,” Orchulli told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers Thursday.

Orchulli, 67, surprised a number of Republicans Wednesday night at a fundraising dinner for the state GOP in Norwalk, where he informed party leaders that he would like to be included in a list of candidate introductions.

The state Elections Enforcement Commission gives potential candidates flexibility to explore running for multiple offices — from state treasurer all the way up to governor — without designating a specific post.

“Jack is a dear friend and a faithful supporter of the Connecticut Republican Party,” state GOP Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. told Hearst.

In 2004, Orchulli mustered 33 percent of the vote against Democratic incumbent Christopher Dodd in Connecticut’s Senate race.

Orchulli said Thursday that the media ignored his candidacy, despite him having raised a host of legitimate issues during the campaign.

When the GOP was searching for a candidate for comptroller in 2010, Orchulli said he answered his party’s call, even though the office was not the most enticing to him. He finished with 43 percent of the vote.

Orchulli said he will try to qualify for taxpayer funding for a potential campaign.

“My goal at this point is to reach the $75,00 threshold so that I could at least qualify for something,” he said.

In 1981, Orchulli helped start the Michael Kors label with the designer, a partnership that lasted for 22 years.

“We built it up into a strong international brand,” Orchulli said. “He went on to be a different designer, other than just high-end.”

Orchulli declined to comment further about which particular office he is eying or stake out his positions on the issues.

The GOP field for statewide office, led by governor, is suddenly bursting at the seams.

State Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, of Fairfield, is an official candidate for governor, with fellow Republicans Tom Foley, Mark Boughton, Toni Boucher and Penny Bacchiochi having all formed exploratory committees for statewide office.




Neil Vigdor