Foley asks McKinney to drop GOP primary bid for governor. McKinney says race is close

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield was in high dudgeon Thursday morning in reaction to Tom  Foley’s call for him to quit the Republican gubernatorial primary set for August 12.

Foley, a Greenwich businessman, made the statement during a Wednesday meeting with the editorial board of The Day newspaper of New London. He was asked about recent endorsements, including Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and former Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele of Stamford, a 2010 primary candidate. Foley indicated he hopes McKinney would join them.

“I think the right thing for John to do is to drop out of the race and endorse me, and I hope he does it,” Foley was quoted. “John is a good guy, he has a political future, but I think to run in this primary and to lose, which I think is what will happen, doesn’t make sense for him. And to be taking on a Republican candidate who came as close as I did in 2010, is likely to win the primary and also has a very good shot of winning in November, I think is a mistake.”

An indignant McKinney went off in a statement released Thursday morning. “Obviously, Tom Foley’s polling is telling him the same thing ours is telling us: this race is now competitive. After a disastrous debate performance and an unwillingness to give voters a straight answer on any important issue, voters are turning toward our plan for spending reductions and real tax relief. I appreciate that having taken over the state party machine, Tom would like to dictate the outcome of this primary instead of engaging me on the issues. We are not leaving this race. I again encourage Tom to join me in more debates and to come clean about how he can balance the budget without spending reductions. Dave Walker and I have the only plan to reduce spending in real dollars in the state of Connecticut.  Our plan will shrink the size of state government and tackle the state’s long-term pension and health-care liabilities. Unless we do that, you can’t provide tax relief.”