By CT Sheepdog
In Connecticut, the gubernatorial race in November appears to be all about name recognition, not about a candidates’ views on gun ownership. Not a surprise in a state where just less than 20% of residents own firearms according to old poll data. The latest Quinnipiac poll shows the 2014 race to be a rehash of the 2010 race with incumbent Governor Malloy potentially facing off against his 2010 challenger, Tom Foley. The two men are in a dead heat tied at 43% each . . .
This is not a done deal as the GOP convention is still a week away but, unless the Republican poobaahs try to defy popular opinion and pick one of their own (State Senate Minority leader McKinney), Foley will likely be the candidate. If there is a squabble that leads to a primary, well, voters will have their say then.
As far as what the Q-Poll says about the GOP contenders:
Foley, the 2010 nominee, was favored by 39 percent of GOP voters, with five others in single digits: Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, 9 percent; Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney, 8 percent; Martha Dean, 5 percent, Joseph Visconti, 4 percent; and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, 3 percent.
Now this is where the issue of gun owners’ rights may not be making a difference. Malloy’s politics are well known and he’s a ardent gun grabber. Foley isn’t known as a staunch gun guy, but he has made many positive comments about gun owners’ rights so he gets a check in that column. The most vocal and staunchly pro-gun contenders are Visconti and Dean who can’t muster ten percentage points between them. Lack of name recognition certainly hurts them, but their gun views have not done much with the general population.
Mayor Boughton recently made headlines here and other gun sites for withdrawing his membership in Nanny Bloomberg’s MAIG but that was seen by gun folk as too little too late.
The big surprise, and the contender with the beat state-wide name recognition after Foley should be Leader McKinney and yet he only draws eight percent support to Foley’s nearly 40 percent. And here is where I think a candidate’s stance on guns might have made a difference – McKinney was instrumental in the creation of SB1160 which became the basis of the new law in Connecticut.
In concert with the three other leaders in Hartford, McKinney crafted a “compromise” bill that was designed to draw “bipartisan” support. However, along with fellow Democrat Larry Cafero, McKinney rightly earned the ire of gun owners across Connecticut for his complicity in crafting a bill strong enough to infuriate thousands and yet not strong enough to instantly meet with judicial rebuke.
You see, McKinney, like many Republicans who voted in favor of passage of SB1160, has been suggesting to gun owners that “it could have been worse”. By that he means that certain powers in Hartford were lobbying for a new law so restrictive that it would have outlawed possession of all “assault weapons” and all 7+ round magazines with no grandfathering of existing, lawfully-owned firearms and mags. Such restrictive change would have mandated out-of-state sale, surrender to LE or provable destruction of such items. Oh, and there would have been no compensation to owners for loss of their private property.
In McKinney’s mind, the bill he helped craft with the Democrats (who held both parts of the legislature and the governorship) was a “compromise” that “let you keep your guns and magazines”. This compromise bill pulled more than a few Republican votes, including those of McKinney and Cafero, and allowed a few pro-gun Democrats from gun-friendly districts to vote against the measure. So the leadership achieved what they wanted, claiming bipartisanship support.
But what they created, while grandfathering existing firearms and mags, wasn’t strong enough to be openly challenged as overly restrictive, which the Democrats’ bill might have been. Clearly, the Democrat leaders could have rammed through the most restrictive bill on a party-line vote, but they did not want to do that. They wanted some GOP votes to diffuse the ire of gun owners and to spread the blame should the law prove to be unpopular, ineffective or unconstitutional. And McKinney gave them just what they wanted.
Anyway, McKinney has been harangued about his vote on SB1106 at almost every public event since he has launched his bid. There are YouTube videos where he gets visibly frustrated when confronted with pointed questions on guns, owners rights and his vote. As the CTCarry bumper stickers seen around the state say: “SB1160 – Never Forgive, Never Forget”.
And 2A supporters have taken that to heart. McKinney is getting virtually no support from gun rights voters. It will be interesting to see of the establishment in the Connecticut GOP will rally behind Foley or try to force a primary. I’m not familiar with the machinations of such things so can’t opine further. Stay tuned.