The Democratic Governor’s Association is entering the Connecticut governor’s race for the first time and hitting Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley hard with a blistering television ad campaign and similarly themed website:

Their target is a familiar one to Connecticut voters who may remember this summer’s television ads from Foley’s Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele. The subject of the DGA’s ads is Foley’s management of the Bibb Co., a Georgia textile manufacturer that went bankrupt in 1996.

The ad opens up with a photo of Foley and a narrator who warns: “Tom Foley’s got a secret he doesn’t talk about much here in Connecticut. Once upon a time, Foley went down to Georgia where he devastated a community and thousands of lives.”

In an email Tuesday, DGA Political Director Raymond Glendening said “Foley’s reckless leadership drove the Bibb Company deep into bankruptcy, and put nearly 1,000 hardworking Americans out of work – all while Foley walked away with a cool $20 million. That’s not leadership. That’s putting profit above hardworking people. With so much at stake, voters deserve to know the truth about Foley’s failed record.”

Foley has said he never received the $20 million and that the money went to NTC Group, his management company.

“It’s unfortunate but not unexpected that a career politician like Dannel Malloy would resort to untrue attacks like these to get a promotion,” Foley’s campaign spokeswoman Liz Osborn said Tuesday after seeing the website.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dannel Malloy, the recipient of a $6 million public campaign grant, was ahead in the last Quinnipiac University poll by nine points. This is the second time in four years that he has run for governor and some Democrats believe he’s their best shot at winning the governor’s office for the first time in 24 years.

Malloy, who isn’t shy about his attacks on his opponents, also has an advertisement on his website addressing Foley’s management of the Bibb Co.

YouTube video
The DGA’s 30-second spot, “Secret,” is running at saturation levels statewide.

But not everybody who used to work at Bibb Co. has similar opinions of Foley.

Albert Caldwell, 77, who worked for 38 years at the Bibb Co. textile mill, said in August that he showed up for Fedele campaign commercial shoot after receiving a telephone call from Jamestown Associates of New Jersey.

“I thought they were doing a documentary on the Bibb,” Caldwell has said. When he arrived in front of the bell tower, which is all that remains of the mill, he said he learned what the television production was really about. He said he told the crew he would only say flattering things about Foley and that’s when they told him they couldn’t use him.

Caldwell worked under Foley for two years until his retirement in 1990.

“When I retired Mr. Foley came to see me,” Caldwell said. He said he remembers that Foley came down to visit the plant often and he would usually arrive in a cab dressed in blue jeans. “He was a relaxed young man,” Caldwell said.

Becky Buck, who owns the site of the former mill which burned to the ground in 2008, told CTNewsjunkie back in August that she would have told the Fedele campaign to get off her property if she had known they were filming a political ad. She said she felt the former employees, most of whom are elderly, were bamboozled into filming the ad thinking it was a documentary about their beloved mill.

But Jeri Broadwell, who appeared in both the Fedele and Malloy ads, maintains that it was Foley that laid-off the employees and ran the mill into the ground.