Sen. John McKinney pledged from the beginning of the campaign that he wouldn’t attack his Republican opponent, but in his first campaign ad he takes a jab at Tom Foley’s budget plan.
“Tom Foley says he won’t cut spending,” McKinney says in the ad.
The statement is followed by video of Foley saying “I’m not going to cut spending.”
McKinney then goes onto explain in the 30-second ad that not cutting spending isn’t going to solve the problem.
In the ad, McKinney tries to differentiate himself from both Foley and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who he says raised taxes and increased spending.
The ad is produced by Jamestown Associates of New Jersey , the same firm that created ads for former Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele in 2010. Fedele’s 2010 attack ad criticized Foley’s management of the Bibb Co., a now-defunct textile company in Georgia. Foley beat Fedele that year, but Republicans were critical of the ad because they say Fedele handed the Democratic Party too much material. The Democratic Governors Association later used the Bibb Co. narrative in a similar attack ad on Foley.
McKinney’s campaign said Foley’s personal life is off limits, but criticizing his policies is fair game.
McKinney is the only gubernatorial candidate who is saying he will seek to renegotiate the state’s relationship with its labor unions, and he is the only one who is saying he will cut spending in order to overcome what is expected to be a $1.278 billion budget deficit in FY 2016. McKinney said he also plans to make modest reductions in the sales and gas taxes.
The ad is part of a $160,000 media buy, according to the McKinney campaign, and it was scheduled to begin airing on TV today.
McKinney is the last of three gubernatorial candidates to qualify for public financing and the amount of money he spent making the ad has not yet been reported. McKinney and his running mate, David Walker, are expected to qualify for public financing later this week.
Foley was the first to release a campaign commercial last week. The ad featured his wife, Leslie, reintroducing Foley to the voters. Malloy’s campaign followed with its first ad this week touting his leadership abilities.
McKinney and Foley will square off Aug. 12 in the Republican primary. The winner of that contest will challenge Malloy in November. Republican Joe Visconti and Education and Democracy Party candidate Jonathan Pelto are both attempting to get on the ballot as third-party candidates.