Republicans already offering smart, exciting candidates for November

Greenwich-Voices-DadakisIt may seem like November is a long way away, but Election 2014 is already in high gear. And it will be a big one as this year citizens will elect their congressman, governor (including the under ticket consisting of lieutenant governor, secretary of the state, treasurer, controller and attorney general) and the General Assembly

Last week 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley officially jumped into the governor’s race surprising no one.  Foley nearly won last time when now Gov. Dan Malloy bested him by a mere 6,400 votes out of 1.1 million cast. Anecdotes abounded then of election irregularities in Malloy strongholds but nothing was proven and Foley gentlemanly conceded. Yet, speculation of Democrat wrongdoing continued.

Foley’s the leading GOP contender based on the closeness of the 2010 run and his broad-based name recognition. His record of fixing broken companies and governments provides hope for fiscally challenged Connecticut. Foley has the skills to turn our state around. While he’s well known for serving this country as our ambassador to Ireland, more consequential was his success as director of private sector development in Iraq.

President George W. Bush put Foley in charge of Iraq’s economy and resurrecting their 192 state owned enterprises, which were most of their largest businesses. He rewrote Iraq’s commercial code, started a new stock exchange which is now one of the most modern and active in the Middle East, helped restore a credit based banking system, set up a network of chambers of commerce, introduced a micro-lending program and produced a long term plan for those government owned businesses.

Foley demonstrated he can fix a broken economy and Connecticut’s economy is clearly broken due to years of Democrat control of the General Assembly and now the governor’s office. Now he joins a race already full of the best and brightest of Connecticut’s Republican leaders. State Senate Republican Leader John McKinney has done a great job getting the Republican message of responsible spending and competitive taxation with less business regulation into Senate debate, but that growth strategy is ignored by Malloy and his redistribution minded Democrats.

Also in the race is Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a realistic Republican who has been elected six times in the Democratic Hat City. Sen. Toni Boucher is also running and has done an admirable job as both state representative and now senator, earning respect from people on both sides of the aisle.

Traditionally the gubernatorial nominee selects their running mate so people don’t usually run for lieutenant governor. This year is different with two candidates running independently — state Rep. Penny Bacchiochi and former White House appointee David Walker. Boughton already rejected their candidacies by selecting former Groton Mayor Heather Somers as his running mate. Yet to be seen is what Foley, McKinney or Boucher will do if they’re nominated.

Another race drawing attention is state treasurer where Trumbull First Selectman Timothy Herbst is the GOP front-runner. He’s young, smart, energetic and an intense campaigner. He’s coming off a landslide win for his third term in Trumbull, which is unprecedented for a Republican.

Under Herbst’s leadership, Democrats have been completely routed only serving on Trumbull boards due to minority representation laws. This is especially impressive because Trumbull is hometown to state Democrat Party chairwoman Nancy DiNardo who also served, seemingly forever, as the Trumbull Democrat Town chairman, resigning only last month after her humiliating defeat at the hands of Herbst.

The other treasurer candidates include movie producer Bob Eick, a political newcomer, and loyal Republican Jack Orchulli. They are fine people, but this is a tough political race. Defeating four-term Democrat Denise Nappier, despite her dismal record, won’t be easy. Herbst has the mojo to do it.

We’re only in the opening salvos of Election 2014 but it promises to be exciting. Stay tuned.

 

Ed Dadakis is former chairman of the Republican Town Committee and has spent more than 30 years serving on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). He may be reached at [email protected]

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