FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH)-- The first hat is officially in the ring for next year's race for Governor. State Senator Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield has filed the necessary papers and is making the first moves.
State Senator John McKinney is well known to the customers at the Firehouse Deli in Fairfield and throughout the district stretching north to Newtown.
Older residents know him as the son of the longtime Congressman from Fairfield County, Stew McKinney.
He becomes the first official candidate in what is expected to be a crowded Republican field for Governor, a field that will all have similar campaign themes.
"Under Dan Malloy and the Democrats, we've been headed in the wrong direction; our taxes are too high. We spend too much, we borrow too much," said McKinney.
Greenwich millionaire businessman Tom Foley has been saying things like that for the past year too, but is yet to formally announce.
He said Tuesday, that he hasn't made a final decision but that we'd be seeing a lot more of him soon.
Unlike Foley, McKinney is not wealthy and says he will use the state's public financing system to get the millions of dollars he'll need to wage a campaign, even though he voted against the law creating the system.
"I don't think taxpayers money should be used in a campaign but that is the law." When asked if he's still going to use it, he said "yes, you have to."
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who was Foley's running mate the last time, is also expected to run and use public financing.
As the highest ranking Republican in the General Assembly, McKinney led the way in helping to write the state's new gun control law in the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook. A role he says he knows will lose him potential votes among gun rights advocates.
"I represent Newtown, I had friends that I knew in that building, very good friends who were school teachers in that building. It's a very personal issue and I think as Newtown's State Senator, I did the right thing for my constituents with that bill," said McKinney.
Governor Malloy has not officially made any official moves toward running for a second term yet and probably won't until sometime next year.
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