Connecticut Republicans on Tuesday nominated as their challenger to Democratic incumbent Governor Dannel Malloy the former ambassador to Ireland he narrowly defeated four years ago.
Tom Foley, a Greenwich businessman, defeated state Senate minority leader John McKinney in Tuesday's Republican primary.
McKinney, in a concession speech, threw his support behind Foley and said he would work hard to make Malloy a one-term governor. With 76 percent of precincts reporting, Foley had 57 percent of the vote and McKinney 43 percent.
"At the end of the day Tom Foley ran a better race," McKinney said. "Tom Foley is our candidate for governor, and what I told Tom Foley is that 100 percent of my efforts from tomorrow morning until Nov. 4 will be getting Tom Foley and other Republicans elected."
Recent public opinion surveys suggest the race between Malloy and Foley will be close.
The Hartford Courant had endorsed McKinney for the Republican nomination, in part because it said he has the trust of Democrats, who will almost certainly hold onto their majority in the state legislature.
Foley, who won the party's endorsement, "is often light on details in his proposals," the newspaper wrote.
November's general election is expected to be competitive.
Malloy, the first Democrat to win the governorship in 20 years, has suffered from tepid approval ratings and has faced criticism over his handling of the economy and energizing the state's business climate.
Malloy is hoping to turn his response to the mass shooting in late 2012 at a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school, which left 20 children and six adults dead, into a strength. In the shooting's aftermath, Connecticut passed one of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
One of Mallory's ads features Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was among those killed in the Newtown shooting.
"A bright spot for Malloy is that voters think he has strong leadership qualities and is honest and trustworthy," Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University poll, said after the organization's last poll, in May.
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