Speaking to the city's Republican Town Committee tonight, former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley sounded every bit like he's made up his mind to run for governor next year.
Foley said he "can make more of a difference" as a governor than he can as a U.S. senator.
Though he declared he would announce this week whether he'll drop his Senate candidacy in favor of seeking the governorship, Foley left everyone with little doubt he'd already made up his mind.
As an outsider, Foley said, he could "come in and shake it up" in Hartford and "knock down the status quo" that has the state teetering on the brink of financial collapse.
"I can make a difference," Foley said.
Foley is one of three millionaires vying for the right to represent the GOP in the 2010 Senate race against vulnerable Democratic incumbent Chris Dodd. One of the others, Linda McMahon, also spoke to the GOP committee this evening.
Foley said if he drops out of the Senate race, he's sure that McMahon or former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons can beat Dodd. Peter Schiff is also in the running.
"He probably can't win unless something changes dramatically in the world," Foley said, because so many people are angry at his alleged ethical lapses, his absence during the presidential race and his lack of oversight over the bankers and financiers whose greed helped trigger the recession.
At this point, Foley said, he hopes Dodd "will stay in the race" so the GOP can win a crucial Senate seat.
Foley said he began to think of switching races after Gov. Jodi Rell announced she would not seek reelection next year.
He said if he'd known that six months ago, he would have set his sights on succeeding Rell from day one.
Now, he said, he's getting strong support for making the gubernatorial run. The other major contender on the Republican side is Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele.
A number of Democrats are also eyeing the governor's mansion, including Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, state Sen. Gary LeBeau, former House Speaker James Amann, former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, state Healthcare Advocate Kevin Lembo and former U.S. Senate hopeful Ned Lamont.
Electing a Democrat as governor, Foley said, would send Connecticut "off a financial cliff" because the majority party has proven itself unable to control costs or hold government accountable.
It's shaping up to be a fascinating political year in 2010.
Really, though, after being ambassador to Ireland, isn't everything else downhill?
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