“I think you get two shots” at running for the same public office, Republican Tom Foley told WFSB’s Dennis House Thursday prior to the taping of “Face the State.”
Foley, who made his first gubernatorial bid in 2010 and lost to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy by 6,404 votes, is picking up where he left off and giving a run for governor a second try.
Is it too early? House pointed out that Malloy came on his show back on Jan. 15, 2009, and announced his intention to run for governor — a full 22 months before the election. It was the second time Malloy would seek the state’s top elected position. He lost the Democratic primary in 2006 to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr., who lost to former Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.
Foley, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland and director of a private equity firm, said over the next few months he will be out talking to voters and setting the stage for what’s shaping up to be a rematch of 2010.
Asked if he was bitter about losing in 2010, Foley said “nobody likes losing.” He said his pollsters told him the weekend prior to the election that he was up 3 to 5 points so when he lost he was a little shocked. But he said he is ready to give it a second shot.
“I love this state and I hate to see the state suffering the way it is,” Foley told House.
Foley maintained that if he had won in 2010 he would have closed a more than $3.6 billion budget deficit with mostly spending cuts. He criticized Malloy’s $2.6 billion, two-year tax hike.
“I committed to solving the budget deficit without raising taxes,” Foley said. Taxes are “a fiscal drag on the economy.”
At the same time, Foley said he doesn’t believe the state’s $1.3 billion deficit for fiscal year 2013 is as large as state budget analysts are predicting. In a letter to Republicans, Foley suggested that if the state started using budget numbers from the previous year, instead of the current services budget line, then the state wouldn’t have a deficit.
“We also must change the language of the budget debate,” Foley wrote in the letter. “We must start using ‘prior year spending’ as the budget baseline rather than the deceptive ‘current services’ budget. In doing so, the FY2014 ‘current services’ projected deficit of over $1 billion becomes a surplus. Instead of ‘cuts,’ the conversation will be about where we can afford to invest more.”
Foley also suggested that in order to cut spending he would reform the state health care system by making it more efficient and moving people out of nursing homes and back into the community. But budget analysts would be quick to point out that the state is already headed in that direction and the amount of savings isn’t as big as Foley is suggesting.
But like he did in 2010, Foley is likely to face a challenge from Republicans such as House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero or Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who was once his running mate. Foley said he’s not concerned, since those names came up last time as well.
Foley said he thinks that when people reach a certain position they are expected to seek higher office, but it doesn’t mean they will.
Cafero has not said he is running, but one of his staffers has purchased a domain name: CaferoforCT.com.
Malloy hasn’t announced he’s running for re-election yet, but his spokesman said he loves the job.
“The Governor clearly loves his job, and I don’t think it will surprise anyone if he decides to seek another term, but no announcement has been made so far,” Andrew Doba said Friday.
At the same time, Doba wondered how many more unofficial announcements Foley will be doing. By his count this is the fourth time Foley has unofficially announced.
“The truth is Tom Foley never stopped running for Governor. Connecticut voters rejected him for the same reasons they just rejected Mitt Romney in November. We don’t think their opinions have changed about Mitt, or Tom.”
The interview with Foley will air at 11 a.m. Sunday on WFSB Channel 3.