FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) is proposing 10 debates among his fellow GOP gubernatorial candidates before the Republican State Party Convention on May 17.
McKinney issued the idea in a statement Tuesday, proposing two debates in each of the state's five Congressional districts.
McKinney, state Sen. Toni Boucher, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, and Joe Visconti of West Hartford participated in a two-hour gubernatorial debate hosted by the Brookfield Republican Town Committee on Sunday evening.
McKinney said the four candidates who participated and the two who did not – former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley of Greenwich and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti – "owe it to Connecticut Republicans to hold similar debates across the state."
“Connecticut Republicans deserve the opportunity to ask questions and hear first-hand from the candidates they will choose between for the Republican nomination," McKinney said in the statement.
"The nomination should not be decided by 30-second television ads, three sentence sound bites, and glossy oversized mail pieces. Rather, candidates need to state specifically where they stand on the important issues of the day. This election is too important."
The debates should be "issue-oriented," McKinney said, criticizing Gov. Dannel Malloy for "leveraging, if not exploiting, all the powers of incumbency to campaign for re-election across the state.”
McKinney said his campaign would be reaching out to other GOP candidates to encourage participation. The campaign is working with major Connecticut news organizations, civic groups, chambers of commerce, and Republican organizations to identify venues and hosts, he said.