HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) - Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton announced Wednesday he is exploring a possible run for Connecticut governor, becoming the latest potential Republican candidate in the 2014 race.
The Republicans' 2010 nominee for lieutenant governor, Boughton said he has formed an exploratory committee for governor and will spend the next several months "testing the waters'' before deciding.
Boughton made the announcement outside Danbury High School, where he taught social studies for 14 years, and immediately targeted Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has not yet said publicly whether he'll seek a second term.
Danbury Mayor 'Testing The Waters' For Possible Gubernatorial Run
"Here in Danbury, and across our state, we continue to feel the devastating effects of a Malloy administration that spends too much, taxes too much and lacks accountability,'' said the six-term GOP mayor. While prohibited by election law from discussing his political platform, Boughton said he would support fiscal responsibility, reform and revitalization of tax policy and state regulatory reform.
"People are leaving and they're leaving because they can't afford to live here specifically because of our taxes," Boughton told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.
The 49-year-old Boughton, a former state representative, is currently running for re-election as mayor. That election is in November.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Boughton said he's only a candidate for mayor and Danbury residents understand he is exploring the possibility of running for governor.
"We have gotten very positive feedback,'' he said. "We're trying to be as transparent as we can.''
Last month, Senate Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield announced he planned to seek the Republican nomination and ultimately challenge Malloy. The 2010 Republican gubernatorial candidate, Greenwich businessman and former ambassador Tom Foley, has said he hasn't decided yet whether to run again.
"It's a David Vs. Goliath effort on our behalf but at the end of the day, I think people will recognize that we have to nominate people that can actually get elected and can actually win elections. I think I've demonstrated that over the last decade," Boughton told Schneidau.
Even though Boughton hasn't made a final decision whether to run, state Democrats were already accusing him of being out-of-touch with most Connecticut voters. State Democratic Chairman Nancy DiNardo said Boughton has opposed modest increases in the minimum wage as well as abortion rights. She also took issue with him taking credit for accomplishments in Danbury.
"He should acknowledge the significant increases Danbury received in education and other local funding over the past few years, thanks to Governor Malloy and the Democrats who supported his budget,'' DiNardo said.
Boughton said while he did vote in favor of various proposals to increase the minimum wage as a legislator, he acknowledged opposing one bill that also expanded the hours a 15-year-old is allowed to work. As a former teacher, Boughton said he thought adding more work hours would hurt students' academic achievement.
He also acknowledged that he opposes abortion and believes in the "value and the positive aspects of life,'' but also supports the status quo, which allows abortions in Connecticut.
Boughton is known as an avid user of Twitter. Besides tweeting to Danbury residents about impending storms and school closures, he frequently muses about reality television and pop culture. On Wednesday morning, he sent out a cryptic, Bruce Springsteen-inspired tweet that said, "Tramps like us --- Baby we were born to run.''
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