Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Malloy’s new ad focuses on Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley’s health plan for Connecticut, while a new Republican Governor’s Association ad focuses on Malloy’s mayoral record.

But it’s not just the two candidates trying to knock each other down a notch or two before tonight’s televised debate, it’s also their supporters.

On Tuesday afternoon, Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo came to the state Capitol to discuss Foley’s health plan a few hours before Foley addressed a group of women at the Bushnell.

“We’re here to ask those women to take a closer look at the Foley-Boughton ticket,” DiNardo said.

She said his “core benefits” health care plan would eliminate all of the state mandates, including discrimination for pre-existing conditions and maternity care. She said she has to assume the plan eliminates all state mandates for coverage because that’s what his website says.

“That’s absolutely not true,” Foley said Tuesday evening after the women’s forum. “We’re not taking away coverage from those already covered. We’re giving it those that aren’t covered.”

According to the latest Census data, there are 400,000 individuals who have been uninsured for more than 12 months in Connecticut.

“He initially proposed cutting wigs for cancer patients as part of a cost saving measure. Now he’s proposing to cut tests that can detect cancer itself,“ DiNardo said Tuesday.

But at his first Capitol press conference in March, Foley refused to say specifically which of the close to 60 state mandates he would eliminate. He used the wigs for cancer patients as an example, but when pressed refused to say if it was one of the ones he would eliminate. 

Foley’s “core benefits” plan, which is the subject of Malloy’s most recent television commercial, would: “Allow small companies which have not previously provided health insurance, and any company whose health insurance costs exceed a defined percent of payroll, to elect coverage under a ‘core needs’ plan to be set by the Insurance Commissioner which is focused on basic care needs and is exempt from state mandates.”

Foley said Monday in a phone interview that the decision about what mandates to keep or discard would be left up to the state Insurance Commissioner. On Tuesday evening after the women’s forum, Foley ruled out eliminating coverage for pre-existing conditions and maternity.

Foley said that by raising the health issue, Malloy is just trying to scare people and is avoiding talking about the current fiscal crisis and which taxes he would raise, and by how much.

But Jan Larimer, co-chairman of the Republican National Committee in 2009 and a Wyoming resident who appeared Tuesday with Foley, said health care, jobs, and the economy are the issues to which women are paying close attention. She said “Obamacare” is what got women motivated to start joining the Republican Party.

Foley said he is skeptical of the new national health care bill. But he assured women’s groups like NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, whose representatives also were present Tuesday at the Capitol, that he is pro-choice, even if his running mate, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, isn’t.

According to the last Quinnipiac University poll on the governor’s race, Malloy is doing better among women, where he holds a 52 to 34 percent advantage over Foley. Conversely, Foley does better with male voters, where he holds 49 to 38 percent advantage over Malloy.

The Democratic Governors Association already has run its first Connecticut ad challenging Foley’s management record of the now bankrupt Bibb Co. of Georgia, and this week the Republican Governors Association answered with an ad challenging Malloy’s record as mayor of Stamford.

The Republican ad focuses on tax increases implemented during the Malloy administration and brings up the allegations of a city contractor’s work on his house.

The later had been brought up by Malloy’s primary opponent. The issue of improperly using a contractor to do work on Malloy’s home was investigated and never resulted in any charges. The letter Malloy received from the chief state’s attorney completely exonerated him and said they found absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing, a Malloy campaign spokesman said.

Also under Malloy, the average tax increase was less than the rate of inflation, the campaign said.  It said that even if you exclude revaluation and phase-in years, the average change was 2.4 percent, which is below the inflation rate of 2.7 percent.