by Jennifer Swift
Aug 14, 2013
11:35 AMConnecticut Politics
Danbury Mayor Boughton: Democrats ‘Scared’ as He Weighs Bid for Governor
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The headline on the statement read, “Mark Boughton: Out of Touch with Connecticut’s Middle Class,” and it began by saying, “Republican Mayor Mark Boughton says he’s to be Connecticut's next Governor, but a look at his record tells different story.” DiNardo went on: “Mr. Boughton is strikingly similar to his fellow Republican candidates, Sen. McKinney and Tom Foley, when it comes to opposing issues that matter to the vast majority of people in Connecticut. To name just two examples, Mr. Boughton is steadfastly against a modest increase in the state's minimum wage, an increase that will benefit Connecticut's hard-working families.”
GOP State Senate leader John P. McKinney has announced his intention to run for governor, and Foley, the businessman and former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland who lost to Malloy in the last election by roughly 6,000 votes, is expected to run again.
As for the minimum wage opposition, Boughton addressed it at the news conference Wednesday. When he voted against pushing it to $6.70 in April 2000, he said he was motivated not by an attempt to deprive Connecticut workers of a living wage but by concern for the possible effect on teens. Teaching high school social studies at the time, Boughton said he was worried that higher wages would tempt teens to work more hours. “I saw what part-time work was doing to our students,” he said. Whatever the debate was in 2000, Connecticut’s current minimum wage is $8.25.
DiNardo’s rebuke, “And somewhat surprisingly, he’s against a woman’s right to choose,” didn’t come up Wednesday, which was not surprising, as those parsing the potential candidacy say Boughton will take the stance that the laws on the issue are well-established and otherwise leave the topic alone.
“One last note, and an important one,” DiNardo said. “Before Mr. Boughton takes credit for what he claims are his Danbury accomplishments, he should acknowledge the significant increases Danbury received in education and other local funding over the past few years, thanks to Gov. Malloy and the Democrats who supported his budget. Governor Malloy increased education aid to Danbury by 40 percent over Governor Rell’s administration while also doubling Danbury’s road aid.” Boughton vowed in response to quantify his leadership on guiding Danbury to the promising position it holds today.
Back to the idea of Democrats being “scared,” what Boughton said was specifically in response to Democrats attacking him before he even announced the formation of exploratory committee that may or may not result in a run for governor.
“It says that they’re scared, right? That’s a good thing,” he said, before going on Wednesday to elaborate that a slow, careful, formal process will play out before any declaration that he’s formally in. One thing for certain, he won’t run again for lieutenant governor, as he did in 2000, joining the gubernatorial ticket of then-Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele. He lost the GOP primary to Foley, and Boughton became Foley’s running mate in the nearly successful campaign.
“Right now we have to do our homework,” Boughton said, stressing, “I’m only a candidate right now for one office.” That office is mayor of Danbury. The decision on a run for governor won’t come until after the November election, which casts the idea of Boughton running simultaneously for two offices in a different light.
Boughton said in a statement handed out to the media Wednesday that he will make his decision "based on my assessment of the Republican Party’s ability to field a conservative candidate best equipped to defeat Dan Malloy by relating to and appealing to a broad spectrum of Connecticut voters.”
However that plays out, the GOP’s high regard for Boughton was also made clear in the statement, in which Connecticut Republican party chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. praised Boughton, saying, “A tireless campaigner who throughout his career has been a steadfast champion of the Republican Party and conservative values, Mark would be a candidate who can relate to middle class voters struggling under the many failures of the Malloy administration.”