McKinney rolls to big win over out-gunned Fuchs
Published 5:56 pm, Thursday, November 4, 2010
The name McKinney is still electoral magic in Fairfield.
John McKinney, son of a longtime congressman from the 4th District, the late Stewart B. McKinney, was elected to his seventh term from the state Senate's 28th District, amassing the most votes of any candidate on the Fairfield ballot Tuesday as he easily defeated Democrat Mitchell Fuchs.
"John is well-known, well-liked and, for me, it wasn't much a surprise," said Fuchs, a former chairman of the Fairfield Democratic Town Committee.
In Fairfield alone -- the hometown of both candidates -- McKinney's tallied 13,833 votes to 6,350 for Fuchs.
McKinney, who was unavailable to comment after his victory, followed in his father's footsteps by representing Fairfield in the state General Assembly. Before the elder McKinney's election to Congress, where he served from 1971 until his death in 1987, he was the Republican leader in the state House of Representatives from 1969 to 1970.
Fuchs indicated his vote total in the multi-town Senate district might have been a little better if he had more support from his Democratic Party. He told the Fairfield Citizen he agreed to stand against the popular incumbent on one condition -- that he would have help and support in an uphill campaign. However, when the time came, Fuchs said the promised help wasn't always provided.
He needed to raise $15,000 in order to be get $85,000 from the state's public campaign financing fund, but was able to raise only about $4,500. He also needed to get 300 contributors from his district to contribute anywhere between $5 and $100 to qualify. However, only about 150 pledged funds.
Fuchs, a board member of the Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority, said he likes McKinney, who is the leader of the Senate Republicans in Hartford. In fact, he said, he couldn't imagine losing to a Republican he admires more, except perhaps Fairfield Town Clerk Betsy Browne.
Nonetheless, Fuchs believes he would have done a better job as a state senator. "I would have taken on my party to ensure they really dealt with the problems," he said. "The real problems are upstate and downstate more so than Democrat versus Republican, and I would have made sure that we worked to bring companies to Connecticut to invest in our future, because what we really need is to grow the private sector."
Her added that, "We need to stop thinking as Republicans and Democrats, and need to start thinking as Americans. We need to make our country stronger."
Fuchs also wondered the timing was not conducive to challenging McKinney. "The bottom line is to be successful in a campaign you need to create the wave," he said, "And in this particular election, there wasn't the opportunity to jump on that wave. The last 10 years was a great time."
As much respect as Fuchs has for McKinney, he admitted the state senator has got to compromise and find common ground in order to promote change in state government, because "he didn't do a good job of it in the last two years."
"Press conferences complaining about the other side are all well and good, but ultimately, it doesn't get the job done," Fuchs said of McKinney's record as a Senate leader.