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Danbury Mayor Boughton announces run for Governor

Craig LeMoult

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton announced on Wednesday that he will once again run for Governor of Connecticut as a Republican candidate.

In announcing his candidacy, the former state representative and seven-term mayor challenged Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy’s economic record.

“Any time the Governor of the state of Connecticut wants to compare statistics of the state of Connecticut with the city of Danbury in terms of economic growth development, I’d be happy to do that,” said Boughton. “This city has recovered quicker and faster from the great recession than any other area in Connecticut. Our micro-economy is really the envy of the state and the northeast. And it’s those same kinds of ideas and innovation that we want to bring to the state of Connecticut.”

Boughton criticized Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy’s “First Five” economic development initiative, which provides state funds to businesses to encourage them to create jobs in Connecticut. He called it scatter-shot and without a strategy. Most of those chosen for the program so far have been in-state businesses.

“Let’s be honest right now, it’s a great time to be a company in Connecticut,” said Boughton. “Because all you have to do is raise your hand up and say, ‘we’re thinking about leaving.’ And the state of Connecticut is going to run in with a check from the taxpayers for $10 million, $5 million, $6 million. And it’s gotten to the point of being absurd and we’ve created an artificial marketplace.”

In response to Boughton’s announcement, Malloy defended his economic record. “The reality is that we are not where we want to be. On the other hand we know we’ve created almost 42,000 private sector jobs,” Malloy said. The Governor has not yet announced if he'll seek a second term.

State Democratic Party spokesman James Hallinan was at Boughton’s announcement, and said Boughton’s views are aligned with the Tea Party.

“I don’t think that’s in line with mainstream Connecticut. He came out against the minimum wage. He didn’t just vote against it several years ago, he recently just told the Hartford Courant that he was against the increases to the minimum wage that just took place.”

Boughton said on Wednesday that this is a bad time for an increase to the minimum wage, as businesses are closing.  But he said he’d be open to it when the economy improves.

Boughton had difficulty raising funds in his last race for Governor. He says this time, he’s raised more money in four weeks than he did in the entire 2010 campaign cycle. He called himself a blue collar Republican, contrasting himself with wealthy candidates like Tom Foley, who received the Republican Party’s nomination in the last election. Foley has announced he’s running for Governor again. Boughton said Republicans need to choose a candidate who is electable, and support that candidate with donations.

“And Republicans tend to throw up their hands and say, ‘well, you know, so-and-so’s got the money, that’s easier for me, I don’t have to get involved, and I can just kind of make sure I vote the right way.’ But if people are really serious about changing the dynamics in this state, then they’re not only going to have to talk the talk. They’re going to have to walk the walk.”

Other Republicans considering a run for Governor include state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, State Senator Toni Boucher, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and former West Hartford Town Councilor Joe Visconti.

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