They may still disagree on some things like public financing and immigration policy, but the Republican nominees for governor and lieutenant governor said they are putting their differences behind them.
“We’ve been good friends for 10 years,” Tom Foley, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, said referring to Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, his new running mate.
Standing outside JK’s Restaurant in Danbury, Foley refused to acknowledge there was any tension between the two after the primary.
“I thought the relationships were very cordial,” Foley said.
But just 10 days ago Foley’s new running mate was working on Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele’s campaign, which was airing ads that featured former textile mill employees talking about how Foley ended their livelihoods and bankrupted the Bibb Co. The commercial, which Foley maintained was false, caused a great deal of tension between the two campaigns leading up to the Aug. 10 primary. Click here to read our past story which seeks to get to the bottom of the ad controversy.
However, while they’ve agreed to put the past behind them, they still haven’t had a chance to sit down and iron out their message on all of the issues, including one which put his running mate at the center of a national immigration debate in 2006.
Boughton made national headlines that year when 11 day laborers were arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement after local undercover police posed as contractors looking for workers.
Asked what he thought about Boughton’s stance on illegal immigration in Danbury Foley said, “Well, I think we agree on some things and disagree on others.”
Caught off guard by the question, Foley said he hasn’t sat down with Boughton and “fine tuned” their position on it, but they both agree the federal government should do more to enforce the immigration laws. At the moment the two are continuing to focus on things they do agree on such as getting the economy going and creating jobs in Connecticut.
Boughton jumped into add that while immigration may be a big issue in Danbury, it may not be a big issue in Kent, or Stonington, or New London, or some other area of the state.
“So what happens and what works on a local level may not necessarily constitute a broad public policy statement,“ Boughton said. “ Obviously that would be the governor’s decision in terms of that. I think what Tom and I agree on is that cities and towns are left to their own devices to deal with a problem that the federal government should be dealing with, ought to be dealing with, and has never dealt with effectively and efficiently.”
The other big issue that divided the two during the primary was public campaign financing.
Foley appealed a lawsuit all the way to the state Supreme Court in an attempt to stop the Fedele-Boughton campaign from getting the $2.5 million in public campaign funds for the primary. He was unsuccessful in his attempt, but he maintains his opposition to the program.
“I’m just on principle opposed to taxpayer money being used on campaigns,“ Foley said Friday.
“There are some things we agree on some things we disagree on,” Boughton said when the subject came up.
Foley and Boughton are now under one campaign committee, which means they will be raising money as a team, the “old-fashioned way.”
“I’m personally supplementing my campaign, but we’re going to raise most of the money,” Foley said. “The same way Gov. Rell did last time.”
Raising money the old-fashioned way means Foley and Boughton will have to be on the phone more often than their Democratic opponents, Dan Malloy and Nancy Wyman.
“It’s a bit of an unfair advantage the recipient of the public funds has,” Foley admitted.
But Foley said he’s continuing to reach out to the Malloy campaign to see if they can’t agree to cap spending at $3 million. Malloy, as a participant in the public system, is expected to receive $6 million for the campaign thanks to the override of Rell’s veto last week by the Democrat-controlled legislature.
The game of phone tag with the Malloy campaign continued Friday, Foley said. The two campaigns haven’t had a chance to talk about the campaign and set out some preliminary rules, such as negative advertisements and spending limits.
As far as first campaign appearances go, Foley said he was kind of missing Boughton’s stump speech, which he heard often when there were six gubernatorial candidates.
“Have you ever been the the DMV, is that a great experience or what,” Foley said reciting part of Boughton’s stump speech from four months ago.
Boughton maintained that the merging of the two campaigns has been pretty seamless. “There haven’t been too many bumps,” he said.