McKinney throws hat into governor’s race

Republican State Sen. John McKinney of Fairfield announced his candidacy for governor on Tuesday. The election is in 2014.

“There is a better way to manage state government — one that doesn’t waste, or abuse taxpayer dollars; one that will restore economic prosperity and help reduce unemployment; and one that will protect our quality of life and ensure that our children have even better opportunities to succeed than the generation before them,” McKinney said in a press release.

McKinney, 49, lives in Fairfield with his three children, Matthew, Graysen and Kate.

“I love my state and I’ve always been proud to call Connecticut my home,” McKinney said. “I’m running for governor because I care about Connecticut’s history and its future. I want my children and the next generation to be just as proud to call Connecticut their home.”

Tom Foley, the Republican who lost a close election to Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in 2010, also is expected to run. Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti is testing the waters for a gubernatorial run as a Republican as well.

Opens candidate committee

“I’m excited about this campaign and grateful for all the friends, family and supporters who have encouraged me to take this step,” said McKinney, who has filed the necessary paperwork to open the McKinney for Governor candidate committee and begin collecting contributions to qualify for the Citizens Election Fund.

“Over the coming weeks, we’ll work to build support and a statewide organization to help put Connecticut back on the right track,” said McKinney, who is considered a moderate Republican on most issues.

Son of congressman

The eight-term state senator is the son of former Fourth District Congressman Stewart B. McKinney. He has been Connecticut’s Senate minority leader since 2007, and the highest-ranking Republican in state politics since Gov. M. Jodi Rell left office in 2011.

In May, McKinney was awarded the Connecticut Republican Party’s highest honor, the Prescott Bush Sr. Award. His state Senate district includes Fairfield, Easton, Weston and Newtown.

He graduated from Fairfield Prep in 1982, earned a bachelor of arts degree from Yale University in 1986 and received his law degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law, with honors, in 1994.

Prior to being elected to the General Assembly, McKinney practiced law at Cummings and Lockwood and was a law clerk to the Connecticut Supreme Court.