Local Republicans sided with the majority of their party last week in choosing Thomas Foley to challenge for the governor’s seat.
Foley defeated State Sen. John McKinney in the GOP primary Aug. 12. The win sets up a rematch from 2010 when Foley fell just short of topping Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat.
Foley was the candidate of choice in Beacon Falls, Naugatuck and Prospect.
Thomas Galvin, chairman of the Prospect Republican Town Committee and Town Council, believes Foley has a good chance of winning this November.
“He only lost by 6,300 votes last time. Malloy has failed to live up to any election promises he made from last time. Voters have caught on to that,” Galvin said.
The three-way race in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor was won by Groton Town Council member Heather Somers. Locally, Republicans split their support between Somers and state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi.
The majority of Republicans in Beacon Falls and Naugatuck backed Bacchiochi, while Prospect Republicans sided with Somers.
The statewide turnout was 21 percent for the primary, the lowest turnout for a Republican primary in 28 years, according to information on the Secretary of State’s Office website. The last time the Republican Party saw this low of a turnout for a primary was during the 1986 gubernatorial primary, which was also 21 percent, according to the website.
The turnout in Naugatuck was below the state average at 16 percent, while the turnout in Beacon Falls exceeded it at 22.9 percent. Prospect was right at the state average with a 20.9 percent turnout.
Naugatuck Republican Town Committee Chairman Kimberly Kiernan said not having a senatorial or congressional race this year hurt the turnout for the primary.
Galvin said Prospect’s turnout was not too far off what the town normally sees for a primary, which is around 25 percent.
However, both Kiernan and Galvin thinks there will be a large uptick in the number of Republican voters who head to the polls in November.
“There will be a good turnout because Connecticut is at a crossroads and everyone realizes that. According to every national poll, Connecticut is sitting out the recovery. We’re not even back to where we were prior to recession. Most states got back and have made great strides forward,” Galvin said.
Kiernan said she like Foley’s chances because Mallow is considered one of the most vulnerable governors in the country due to the slow growth during the recovery.
“Foley is a great candidate and I think he has a very good chance in November. He is a reformer, an outsider and a businessman and has the experience we need,” Kiernan said.
Galvin is also confident there won’t be any negative surprises for Foley this time around.
“Last time out anything they could have dug up negatively on Foley came to light. They’ve done all they can on that and there is nothing more to be divulged,” Galvin said.
Beacon Falls Republican Town Committee Chairman Brian Ploss could not be reached for comment.