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Kiss of Death or Silver Bullet? Dems Await Foley Endorsement By Gun Rights Group

by Hugh McQuaid | Aug 26, 2014 12:00pm
(15) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2014

Hugh McQuaid File Photo

Tom Foley speaks to CCDL in January

Democrats were eagerly awaiting Tuesday what they hope will be a politically-damaging endorsement of Republican Tom Foley by a state gun rights group, with one mayor accusing the candidate of selling “his soul to the devil” for support.

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League will consider endorsing Foley, the Republican candidate for governor, during its Tuesday night meeting. Foley lost narrowly to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2010 and is hoping to unseat him in this year’s rematch.

The group, which has around 15,000 members, has been intent on defeating Malloy since he signed a sweeping gun control law following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Before the CCDL made an endorsement, state Democrats organized a conference call where Democratic municipal leaders decried Foley, gun rights advocates, and any attempts to roll back the 2013 law.

“It’s unconscionable to me that Tom Foley would sell his soul to the devil — not only his soul but the soul of all of my residents and the safety of my residents and my community,” East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc said on the call with reporters.

Democrats pointed several times to comments CCDL President Scott Wilson made to the New Haven Register, suggesting Foley had assured the group he would sign a repeal of the bill in the unlikely event the legislature passed one.

Although he has been vague on which aspects of the bill he opposes, Foley has made these statements publicly in the past. During a live interview broadcast on WTIC on Aug. 7, Foley told host Will Marotti the same thing.

“People have asked me if I support repeal. What I’ve said is I think that’s very unlikely with this legislature, but if they came with a repeal bill, I’d sign it,” Foley said during the interview.

But Nancy DiNardo, chairwoman of the Democratic Party, framed the comments as a secret, backroom deal between Foley and the gun rights group.

“What did he promise the CCDL? If he promised to sign the repeal, what else has he told them behind closed doors that he’s not telling us?” she said.

Wilson said Wednesday that gun owners feel they are being demonized by Democrats this election cycle. But he said CCDL members are “everyday people” and not radicals.

“We’ve been vilified, demonized and ostracized ever since Sandy Hook. It’s resurfacing again because it’s election season. But we have a right to challenge the laws signed by legislators. We’re doing that in the courts and we have a right to do what we can during an election cycle,” Wilson said.

Wilson said it was not a “sure thing” that his group would vote to endorse Foley Tuesday night.

Foley has addressed the group in the past and has attended fundraising events, but he is not likely to be actively seeking its endorsement. He resisted staking out clear positions on the issue of gun control during the Republican primary.

When the National Rifle Association declined to endorse Foley in July and awarded him a “B-” on gun rights issues, Foley’s campaign issued a lukewarm statement.

“A ‘B-’ in school would not have been okay with my parents but here a ‘B-’ is okay,” Foley said through a spokesman.

Joe Visconti, a conservative candidate for governor and longtime gun rights advocate, said Monday he did not believe Foley was seeking the CCDL’s endorsement.

“I don’t know if Tom wants their endorsement. I don’t think he can run fast enough away from it,” Visconti said.

A Quinnipiac University poll in May suggested that 56 percent of voters support the 2013 gun control law.

In a statement, Foley’s spokesman Chris Cooper said the Tuesday conference call with Democratic mayors was a distraction.

“This is another distraction by desperate Dan Malloy who does not want to talk about his record of Connecticut’s largest tax increase, unusually slow job growth and budget gimmicks.  Tom Foley has never said he would seek to repeal the gun bill,” Cooper said.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Foley said he never sought CCDL’s endorsement.

“I’d be happy to have anybody’s endorsement,” Foley said.

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(15) Comments

posted by: StateEmployee | August 26, 2014  12:33pm

It doesn’t matter what Foley may have promised.  With majority Democrats in the Assembly in both chambers, they would never let that happen.  That is also why a vote for Visconti is a wasted vote.

posted by: Commuter | August 26, 2014  2:33pm

Wow, Foley has worst of both worlds.

Unlike the unions, whose members they actually represent, these gun organizations are propagandists for the industry, and their chief marks are gun owners, who’ve bought the nonsense about the second amendment.

Foley’s going to get the kiss of death from these industry organizations, yet he isn’t going to get the votes of the gun owners - who are going to support Visconti.

posted by: ASTANVET | August 26, 2014  2:36pm

StateEmployee - you are 100% right… which is why the CCDL and other individual freedom groups need to get organized at the town/district level for state legislator and senate positions within the CGA - conservatives in CT (and there are more of us than you think) need to have better information operations to fight the tidal wave of left wing propoganda in the state.

posted by: JH_1 | August 26, 2014  3:03pm

A vote for Visconti is a vote for Malloy. 

I can’t understand why Visconti and his supporters can’t understand that.


Although it’s probably easier said than done, start by stopping the further erosion of rights by electing a republican Governor this November.  Then, to Astanvet’s point, get organized at the district / town level and start turning over the CGA.  Slowly chip away at the worst of the 2013 bill.  Keep the good parts.

posted by: Salmo | August 26, 2014  3:13pm

Kiss of death? Perhaps some people have been asleep during the Republican primary. What do you think pulled the rug out from under Mr. McKinney? Second Amendment nonsense? People better go back to non-revisionist history books.

posted by: art vandelay | August 26, 2014  3:28pm

art vandelay

You have to love this soap opera.  All Malloy has to do is sit back in his chair and watch the Republicans self destruct.  If the Republican Central Committee had ANY direction, they NEVER would have allowed Foley to enter the race.  It’s amazing how one individual Adam Lanza is directing the entire outcome of this election.

posted by: Joebigjoe | August 26, 2014  3:33pm

I just think Quinnipiac Polls are alot of nonsense.

This bill is not getting overturned.

The real question that will give the pulse of what people think is…

“Do you think the gun bill went too far in harming law abiding citizens and not far enough on punishing criminals with guns?”

Ask that question and the answer would be 70-75% YES!

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | August 26, 2014  4:08pm

Is a CCDL endorsement a “kiss of death” or a “silver bullet”? How about neither? How about a big yawn?

posted by: Commuter | August 26, 2014  4:12pm

@ Salmo - In a low-turnout (GOP) primary, base voters (gun nuts) have a disproportionate influence on the outcome. McKinney was sunk in part because he couldn’t escape his vote in favor of gun control.

And nobody is attacking the second amendment, as you put it; although it doesn’t actually say what the NRA and CCDL say it does, nobody is even really arguing even with that.

posted by: PaulW | August 26, 2014  6:51pm

Yes sirree. Open carry at Foley rallies. I can’t wait.

Optics anyone?

posted by: shinningstars122 | August 26, 2014  8:53pm

shinningstars122

I am sure many of you did not hear about the 9 year girl from New Jersey who was at a place in Arizona called ” Bullets and Burgers”.

Her parents were letting her shoot an Uzi and the gun accidentally went into “auto” mode and killed the instructor who was supervising her.

This tragic story brings back a similar story of the young boy from CT who died shooting the exact type of weapon, at a gun range in Massachusetts a few years ago.

You can debate all the statistics you want but the bottom line is gun violence is a public health crisis in our country.

Let Foley walk that very thin line…I mean with his method of shooting from the hip he will surely say the wrong thing, to the wrong people, at the wrong time.

The bottom line is CCDL will never get a foot hold in local politics in our state.

It is clear they now are trying to promote that they have nice sportsman’s veneer on the outside, but underneath the surface are extremes attitudes and beliefs that border on paranoid and disturbing.

They are not mainstream to say the least.

posted by: LongJohn47 | August 27, 2014  6:51am

Astanvet—if there really were “more of us than you think”, there wouldn’t be so many liberal Democrats in Hartford.

Face it, you’re in the minority in this state (thankfully).  And the more you pull Foley to the right, the less likely he’ll be to win the election (thankfully).

Foley’s best strategy is to say nothing about anything, which is exactly what he’s doing.  It’s also the easiest path for him, because even after running for governor for almost five years he still hasn’t got a clue.

You guys hate Malloy, but watch closely at the debates.  He’s going to chew Foley up.

posted by: GBear423 | August 27, 2014  7:37am

GBear423

I hit my thumb with a hammer, would you say the hammer is a health issue?

There seems to be an obvious political scheme to put guns, which are as much a tool as a hammer or skill saw, under the category of health issue.
LOTS of guys end up in the ER with injuries (and deaths) from construction equipment/tools, nothing intentional, it is just something that happens from time to time… yet there is no legislation to save us from the evil hammer, which can suddenly lift itself off a table and kill somebody.

So please step away from the Kool-Aid guys and use your head and realize that it takes a person to misuse ANY tool to harm another. Punish the Criminals and not the People.  In the case of the kids, there is responsible adults that were negligent. You do not let a child hold, let alone fire, an automatic weapon. THAT is foolish and deserves a loss of rights for the offending person(s).

posted by: dano860 | August 27, 2014  7:55am

SS122, those are pretty isolated cases. Deaths by autos, knives and domestic violence beatings are far more prevalent. Check the CDC statistics chart.
You will find incompetent people in any field of activity, including something as simple as hiking. How many people fall off cliffs or get lost annually? Some are fortunate enough to be found and saved but that usually happens at great expense and the placing of rescuers in danger too.
Firearms are not the problem, the minority of unstable people behind them is.
...but as NoNon 2014 said, this is a BIG YAWN.

posted by: QuestionMark | August 27, 2014  10:01am

@art vandelay: Why debate Commuter and Joebigjoe when you appear to be on their side?  You fail to be steadfast in your way and seem to ride both sides of the fence.