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Without primaries ahead, Dems focus on November

Updated 12:21 am, Sunday, May 18, 2014
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As Republicans confront the likelihood of a three-way battle for their gubernatorial nomination on Aug. 12, Democrats are sitting back, saving their political ammunition and savoring incumbent Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who easily won his party's support for a second term.

In fact, all major state Democrats won uncontested re-election support, including U.S. Rep. Jim Himes of the 4th District, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro of the 3rd and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty of the 5th, each of whom collected endorsements in their districts last week before Friday night's statewide convention in Hartford.

For Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo, of Trumbull, it's a luxury to have a united team for a change. Four years ago, Malloy defeated Ned Lamont, of Greenwich, in a hotly contested primary, and eight years ago then-New Haven Mayor John DeStefano beat Malloy in a contentious battle of big-city mayors.

If anything, Republicans will have even more complications in a three-way primary pitting the endorsed gubernatorial candidate, Tom Foley, of Greenwich, against Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, of Fairfield, who both earned enough delegate support and said they will push primaries.

"This potential three-way primary is both a dream and a nightmare. On one hand, over the course of the primary, voters will see just what these Republican candidates are: pandering politicians who are out of touch with mainstream Connecticut and on the wrong side of the issues," DiNardo said in a statement. "On the other, we're going to have to bear months and months of empty promises, laughable claims on tax cuts without spending cuts, and more pandering to the NRA. Every day we're seeing the Republican candidates distort, pander and move to the extremes. Now that's going to continue for months."

Noting the Mohegan Sun casino was the venue of the Republican convention, Scott McLean, professor of politics at Quinnipiac University, said that while McKinney might be the "better candidate," Foley is the likely primary winner at this point.

"They're doubling down on Foley," McLean said, recalling Foley's narrow, 6,404 defeat in 2010.

kdixon@ctpost.com; 860-549-4670; twitter.com/KenDixonCT; facebook.com/kendixonct.hearst; blog.ct news.com/dixon