Sen. John McKinney flashed a thumbs up at what was supposed to be a Republican gubernatorial candidate debate with Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton Wednesday night — until an email came from Boughton’s campaign.
It read, “…I now believe it is time to suspend my candidacy….”
Boughton hinted he was having fundraising troubles on Fox CT’s ‘The Real Story’ last week.
“We have to raise about $85,000 to qualify for public financing by July 10. That would probably be our most likely option. The most likely path,” he said, referring to what could happen if his running mate Mark Lauretti didn’t garner enough signatures to make it on the ballot.
Boughton’s campaign didn’t return multiple phone calls requesting an interview about his decision to suspend his run for governor. The rest of his emailed statement didn’t offer an explanation.
McKinney told reporters Boughton’s drop-out surprised him, but that it doesn’t change his approach as he now goes head-to-head with Republican front-runner Tom Foley.
“You don’t ever pick your match up, you know? But my message is the same. Look, again, the next governor is going to have to deal with an almost $3 billion budget deficit and we’re starting to see that there are some clear differences between Tom’s approach and mine,” said McKinney.
McKinney squashed reports that he is also struggling with financing.
“We’ll have the money to win the campaign,” he said, though he skirting multiple inquiries about how much backing he has in the bank.
His spokesperson, Jodi Latina, said McKinney and his Lt. Governor candidate Dave Walker are on the homestretch” to raise enough funds to qualify for $1.7 dollars of public financing.
“I’m confident we’re going to qualify for public financing,” McKinney said.
The scheduled debate with Boughton instead became a Q & A, which wasn’t a problem for McKinney.
“I want to have as many debates and forums as possible. I think it’s important that candidates share their plan and vision with the people across Connecticut,” he said.
In an emailed statement, Foley’s camp thanked Boughton for “running a strong, issues-based campaign.”
Boughton, in his statement, asked Republicans to “unite” and endorse Foley.