Republican gubernatorial candidates continued to attack each other in TV ads this week as John McKinney accused frontrunner Tom Foley of misleading voters about McKinney’s legislative voting record.
The two men are competing in an Aug. 12 primary for the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic incumbent Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Foley lost a narrow election to Malloy in 2010 and was endorsed by party delegates in May. McKinney is the leader of the Republican minority in the state senate.
McKinney’s new 30-second TV spot, which was released late Monday night, is the latest in an ongoing volley of negative ads from two candidates who had previously pledged to run positive primary campaigns.
It serves as a rebuttal to Foley’s last campaign commercial, which cast both McKinney and Malloy as political insiders who have both voted to raise taxes. The ad opens with McKinney watching Foley’s previous ad.
“Is he kidding? I opposed Dan Malloy’s policies and he knows it,” McKinney says. “Tom Foley is just not being honest about my record.”
Foley’s ad suggested that McKinney and Malloy were on the same page on a number of issues, including tax hikes. McKinney did support a bipartisan bill in 2005 which raised gas taxes and funded transportation infrastructure improvements. But that bill was passed and signed by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell years before Malloy was elected.
Like his earlier commercial, McKinney uses his new ad to remind voters that Foley has stated he plans to hold state spending level rather than cut it. McKinney again says he is the only candidate willing to cut spending.
McKinney drew criticism last week while making this same claim. In his first ad, McKinney’s campaign altered an audio clip of Foley, which was recorded on WNPR’s Where We Live. In the edited audio snippet, Foley seems to twice say “I’m not going to cut spending.” In his radio appearance Foley actually said, “I’m not saying I’m going to cut spending. I’m saying I’m going to hold spending flat.”
In his new ad, McKinney also accuses Foley of supporting the collective bargaining agreement, which the Malloy administration negotiated with state employee unions.
“It’s Tom Foley who supports Dan Malloy’s sweetheart deal with state union bosses. I don’t,” McKinney says.
McKinney has positioned himself as the only candidate seeking to seek more labor concessions from the state employee unions. However, Foley’s relationship with state labor leaders has hardly been cozy. AFL-CIO delegates laughed at Foley during their June convention when he tried to reassure the unions that he would not seek to reopen the collective bargaining deal.
While the two Republican candidates have been trading negative ads in advance of their primary three weeks from now, Malloy, who does not face a primary opponent, has only run one campaign commercial.
Malloy’s one-minute TV spot ignored his political opponents while a narrator touted the governor’s policies. The ad focuses on Malloy’s leadership in times of crisis, which polling results have suggested voters consider to be one of his stronger qualities.
“It hasn’t been easy, but we’re coming back. Dan Malloy. Strength. Conviction. Progress,” the narrator says.
In a statement, McKinney called Malloy’s ad a “revision of history” and a “fictional documentary.”