Republican Tom Foley has blasted Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy for "politicizing" the Newton school tragedy in a campaign commercial as the rivals head for a rematch in the gubernatorial race.
Although Connecticut has been a traditionally liberal state, Foley and Malloy are just a single percentage point apart in the polls, according to Fox News,
while four years ago Foley lost by just a half-percentage point.
Foley, who was nominated last week
as the GOP candidate, believes that Malloy's controversial Newton ad may just help to give him the edge when it comes to the November election.
"I think politicizing a tragedy like that turns a lot of people off. I think a lot of people aren't going to respond well to that," Foley told Fox News.
Earlier this month, Malloy launched an ad featuring a mother, Nicole Hockley, whose six-year-old son Dylan was killed by deranged Adam Lanza during his shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The commercial is an attempt to highlight the governor's leadership in times of crisis.
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In the 30-second spot, Hockley credits the governor with having "the courage and conviction to stand up and do the right thing." The ad followed a previous spot that mentions Malloy's leadership at a time when "unimaginable evil let loose in a school," The Associated Press
But Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who lives near the school, slammed Malloy for being insensitive, saying, "In the ad that the governor ran, there is a picture from the day of the incident, which I think is way out of bounds."
Malloy spokesman Mark Bergman defended the ad, while saying that Hockley had "reached out to our campaign" and "said she didn't feel exploited."
Despite the Constitution State's reputation as a Democratic holding, the gubernatorial battle is likely to be one of the toughest and closest races in the midterm elections.
Greg Rose, political science professor at Sacred Heart University, told Fox News that the race will likely go right down to the wire on Election Day, just as in 2010.
"What it really comes down to is who will get the independent vote," Rose said. "And it's going to be a very tough race. But in terms of the raw demographics, those are on the side of the governor right now."
Rose said that four years ago the campaign was littered with negative ads from both camps, and this time he thinks it will be even dirtier.
"The ads were just absolutely savage," he said of 2010. "I think in this gubernatorial contest that pattern is going to continue."
As the race heats up, Foley has slammed Malloy for using negative ads and "making things personal," while saying that it "shows he's desperate."
But Bergman hit back by noting that Foley "can play all the name games he wants," but he's "devoid of specifics, devoid of a plan."
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