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McKinney, Foley Face Off In GOP Primary

As of 1 pm August 12, only 351 of the 5,138 registered Newtown Republicans had cast ballots according to the Registrars of Voters Office.

Local Republicans are being called to the polls Tuesday to determine which of two GOP challengers, State Senator John McKinney and Tom Foley, will face Governor Dannel Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman for the state’s top elected offices come November.

The primary ballot also includes a rare primary challenge between two GOP contenders for the office of state comptroller.

Polls will be open on Tuesday from 6 am to 8 pm. This primary includes a couple of other unusual situations that local voters should note.

From a statewide perspective, the lieutenant governor’s race has three candidates. The ballot has been developed placing David M. Walker on his own line, not positioned alongside his running mate Sen McKinney. Challenger Heather Somers is located in the ballot position beside Sen McKinney, while Penny Bacchiochi is positioned beside Mr Foley on the primary ballot.

Locally, Republican Registrar of Voters Karin Aurelia is relocating GOP Primary voting August 12 only for Republicans who would normally report to the Newtown Middle School gym. Those primary voters should now report to the Reed Intermediate School. There is no Democratic gubernatorial primary, nor any local Democratic primary contests.

All other Republican voters should turn out to their regular polling locations — District 2 voters go to Reed Intermediate School; District 3-1 and 3-2 voters go to Head O’ Meadow School; and District 3-2 voters go to Edmond Town Hall.

Ms Aurelia sought the polling place change for District 1 Republicans so that, in the event of extreme heat, both poll workers and voters will be able to conduct their primary business in an air-conditioned location. 

The McKinney/Walker Team

Sen McKinney has been Connecticut’s Senate Minority Leader since 2007, and has co-authored several “No-Tax Increase” balanced budget proposals, according to his campaign website and bio. His goals are to propose a balanced 2016 budget that reduces actual spending, funds mandated obligations, and contains no new taxes.

He pledges to eliminate the income tax for middle income taxpayers in fiscal year 2017; and to preserve two forms of tax relief built in to next year’s budget — the sales tax exemption for clothing/footwear and the business surcharge tax phase-out.

Sen McKinney hopes to achieve this by reducing overall proposed fiscal year 2016 expenditure levels through a $1.4 billion spending reduction; eliminating new monies added during the Malloy administration for the expansion of programs, and returning to pre-expansion levels.

Sen McKinney will also seek to reduce state nonunion management positions through what he is calling, “a fair set of concessions from state employee union leaders to assure the state employee health plans are affordable for the taxpayers.” And he will seek pension reform that reverses unsustainable and unaffordable policies, like double-dipping and pension padding.

He is committed to achieving these expenditure reductions while preserving funding for debt service, town road aid, annual required contribution pension obligations, Medicaid, and education grants to towns.

Sen McKinney, the youngest of five children, is the son of the late Congressman Stewart B. McKinney and his wife, Lucie. He lives in Fairfield with his children, Matthew, Graysen, and Kate, and he is engaged to Kristin Fox.

His running mate for lieutenant governor, Mr Walker is a CPA with more than 40 years of public, private, and nonprofit-sector experience including serving as comptroller general of the United States and head of the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) from 1998 to 2008.

During 2008–2013 Mr Walker ran two nonprofit entities, the Comeback America Initiative and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

He also served as one of two public trustees for Social Security and Medicare from 1990 to 1995 while he was a partner with Arthur Andersen. His international experience includes serving as the first chairman of the Independent Audit Advisory Committee for the United Nations from 2008 to 2011.

Foley, Bacciochi, Somers

According to Mr Foley’s campaign website, in 2010, he ran for governor and lost by only 6,400 votes, or 0.5 percent of the total. Before that, he spent 30 years as a business owner and executive and served twice in government where he worked for the Department of Defense and Department of State.

He started his business, the NTC Group, in 1985 to acquire underperforming businesses and turn them around.

Mr Foley served in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, where he was in charge of restoring Iraq’s economy, and as a result, earned the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award. He then served in Dublin, Ireland, as US Ambassador from 2006 to 2009.

Mr Foley’s wife, Leslie, is an attorney who has worked in the White House and in corporate practice. In addition to his 2-year-old twins, Grace and Reed, he has a son Tom, Jr, who is in college.

His website does not feature any specific platform details.

In 2002, Ms Bacchiochi became the first woman, and the first Republican, to represent the rural 52nd District, which includes the towns of Stafford and Somers. She has since been reelected five times.

According to her website, Ms Bacchiochi has served as the House Republican Caucus chairwoman since 2008, and has been a leading voice on Connecticut’s budgetary woes. She fought against the 2011 budget, which included the largest tax increase in state history by helping craft an alternative to overspending and borrowing, offering a viable “No Tax Increase Budget” since 2007.

She was a previous ranking member on the General Law Committee, and currently serves on the Higher Education and Employment Advancement; Housing; Public Safety and Security; and Veterans Affairs Committees,

Ms Bacchiochi has also served on the Prison Safety Task Force.

Ms Somers’ website notes that she is currently serving in her fifth term on the Groton Town Council, having served as mayor for the Town of Groton for the last two years. As mayor, she established an Energy Efficiency Task Force to evaluate energy saving initiatives throughout the town.

She also spearheaded a School Planning Task Force to address the issues of racial imbalance and aging school infrastructure.

A native of Groton, Ms Somers also previously served as the chairman of the Council’s Economic Development Committee and served on the Finance and Public Health Committees as well as the Utilities Expansion Steering Committee.

Voters planning to cast primary ballots August 12 can go online to www.sots.ct.gov/vote to check their registration status, find out where their polling place is located, and view lists of candidates.

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