John McKinney, the Republican leader of the state Senate, announced Tuesday he is running for governor in 2014, saying he hopes to restore fiscal prosperity to Connecticut.
The eight-term Fairfield lawmaker announced his candidacy in a news release emailed to reporters. The statement said McKinney has filed the necessary paperwork to start a candidate committee and begin collecting contributions to qualify for the state's public campaign financing program.
"Over the coming weeks, we'll work to build support and a statewide organization to help put Connecticut back on the right track," McKinney said.
McKinney criticized Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's approach to rebuilding the state's economy, saying the first-term governor "by almost every measure" has taken Connecticut's economy in the wrong direction.
"After three years of picking winners and losers and giving away hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to big corporations already based in Connecticut, the results of Gov. Malloy's economic policies speak for themselves: Connecticut is losing," he said.
McKinney indicated he planned to run for governor in an interview with Hearst Connecticut Media Group, published on Sunday.
Malloy has not yet announced whether he will seek a second term. He has argued, however, that his policies have moved Connecticut in the right direction economically and saying "we're in substantially better shape than where we were when we began."
Greenwich businessman Tom Foley, the party's 2010 gubernatorial candidate, has said he will likely run for governor. Joseph Visconti of West Hartford, Gordon Ward of Manchester and Scott Merrell of Norwalk have already filed as Republican candidates for governor with the State Elections Enforcement Commission. Other possible contenders include Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti.
Last month, House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, announced he would not run.
The 49-year-old McKinney is the son of the late 4th District Rep. Stewart B. McKinney. A graduate of Yale University and University of Connecticut School of Law, McKinney practiced law at the Connecticut-based firm Cummings & Lockwood LLC before his election to the General Assembly. He also was a law clerk to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
The father of three children has been the Senate Minority leader since 2007.
McKinney's legislative district includes Easton, Fairfield, Weston, Westport and Newtown. He played a key role in crafting a bipartisan package of gun control legislation this year in response to the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
His support of gun control measures brought him criticism from gun rights advocates. Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said McKinney would not get his group's support because the Republican was "instrumental in implementing a historic gun control law with zero consideration for the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners."
The Connecticut Democratic Party released a statement after the announcement by McKinney.
"John McKinney is a nice guy. And over the years he's dedicated a lot of time to public service. But more often than not, as demonstrated by his legislative record, he has voted against the interests of Connecticut's middle class," said Connecticut Democratic Party Executive Director Jonathan Harris. "And for the most part he cheered on the two Republican governors who drove Connecticut into the ditch Gov. Malloy has been working so hard to pull us out of."
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.
Monday, September 15 2014 1:00 PM EDT2014-09-15 17:00:00 GMT
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