Tom Foley, the Greenwich millionaire who has already poured $2.5 million into his campaign, secured the Republican Party’s endorsement Saturday, while Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele and R. Nelson “Oz” Griebel received enough delegate support to primary.
Foley, a former ambassador to Ireland and venture capitalist, has painted himself as an outsider and not a career politician. He said graduating someone from a legislative to executive role is like taking someone off a Major League Baseball team and putting them on the PGA Tour.
“It might work, but it probably won’t,” Foley said.
“Being an outsider makes you more credible at a time like this particularly when things aren’t going right,“ Foley said. “But I don’t think people are going to vote for you because you’re an outsider. I think they’re going to vote for you because you have positions on the issues and you say you’re going to get things done.“
However, Fedele had a different opinion about Foley’s attempt to paint himself as an outsider.
“I’ve never met an ambassador to Ireland that is an outsider,” Fedele said. “I’m not an insider…I’m Mike Fedele.”
According to Fedele: “Nothing has been easy for Mike Fedele,“ including receiving the endorsement of the outgoing governor.
The popular, Gov. M. Jodi Rell, refused again Friday evening to endorse any of the candidates vying for the nomination. Many believe the endorsement could have helped Fedele’s chances at the convention.
Fedele, who is participating in the public campaign finance system, said he spent $65,000 to Foley’s $2.5 million. “The substance of a man’s character and their ability to get their message out is far greater than the substance of their wallet,” said Fedele.
Griebel, who is not participating in the public finance system and isn’t independently wealthy, said he doesn’t believe anybody is going to be watching television in July and August.
“It’s not silly, but I’m not worried about it,” Griebel said.
“I’ve got a breadth of relationships in this state. I know how this system works,” he said referring to his years running a bank and a business chamber.
Griebel said he’s the outsider candidate, not Foley or Fedele.
Griebel was able to maintain most of his delegates while Fedele’s delegates began to flip.
Sources close to Fedele’s campaign said they had some organizational problems, which cost him several delegates.
“We lost very few and I know they were being hustled,” Griebel said.