Republican Tom Foley of Greenwich swept to an easy victory over his Republican rival, state Sen. John McKinney of Fairfield, in Tuesday's GOP primary.
The next battle for the Greenwich multimillionaire will be against Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy, who eked out a narrow 6,404 vote win over Foley in the 2010 governor's race.
A jubilant Foley spoke to his supporters in Waterbury late Tuesday, telling them that he is the candidate for change.
"Change is on the way. Change is coming to Connecticut," he told the crowd. "Dan Malloy has had has chance and change is coming."
Foley, as he did during his campaign for the Republican nomination, painted himself as a political outsider who can get things done.
"I am a businessperson. I know how to fix these problems, I have been doing it for 35 years. I am an outsider who will go to the Capitol and shake things up and bring new ideas," Foley said in his victory speech.
He praised McKinney for his campaign.
"I really appreciate his energies and the ideas that he brought to the campaign trail, and I really want to congratulate him on his service over 15 years to this great state and in defending Republican principles at the capitol," Foley said.
In his comments as he conceded the race in Fairfield, McKinney said he would do whatever he could to elect Foley as governor.
"The race does not end tonight," McKinney said. "The goal was to elect a new governor. The goal was to make Dan Malloy a one-term governor and to get a fiscally responsible Republican in the office and that goal is still in front of us."
He praised Foley for running what he said was a better race in the primary run.
Foley spent most of his victory speech, which clocked in at just under five minutes, attacking Malloy.
"Dan Malloy has had four years to fix things and most of the things under his leadership have actually gotten worse," Foley said.
He also accused Malloy of not being straight with Connecticut residents and took a swipe at the "tone" of the governor's office.
"We need a more civil tone in the governor's office. More honesty and more straight talk with the citizens," he said.
Foley said he would be a pro-growth governor who would cut taxes for residents while investing in the state's infrastructure and schools.
He said he will begin the campaign against Malloy first thing Wednesday morning.
"Tomorrow I will resume the campaign for change in leadership and a new direction for our great state," he said. "If you are unhappy with how things are please join us. Pride and prosperity in Connecticut aren't that far away, but they are just in a different direction."
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