Roraback gains Henry's backing
"I know people will spin this, saying that it has to do with John Rowland and Lisa's campaign. But that isn't it," said Ms. Henry, Roxbury's first selectman, who until this week had been Ms. Wilson-Foley's campaign co-chairwoman.
Ms. Henry announced Monday she was leaving Ms. Wilson-Foley's campaign and now supports Andrew Roraback, the 30th District state senator.
Earlier this month, it was learned a federal grand jury is investigating $30,000 in consulting work that former governor Rowland did for Ms. Wilson-Foley's husband, Brian Foley, while at the same time working as an unpaid volunteer on Ms. Wilson-Foley's campaign.
Ms. Wilson-Foley told The Spectrum June 18 she believes she is not a target of the grand jury investigation. She also said Mr. Rowland left her campaign staff two months ago.
"The grand jury investigation did not affect my decision," Ms. Henry said Tuesday. "I believe in the convention system. And while I stayed loyal to Lisa at the convention, I believe in the convention process and the convention nominated Andrew."
Ms. Henry said she went to Ms. Wilson-Foley's campaign manager a week after the convention, telling him she was considering endorsing Sen. Roraback.
Ms. Henry said Roxbury's Republican Town Committee endorsed Sen. Roraback at the convention. As "the CEO of the town" and a Republican, Ms. Henry said she supports the RTC and will participate in the July 22 Roraback meet-and-greet in Roxbury.
"At this point, it's time for me to support him," Ms. Henry said. "Andrew came into the race after I began working with Lisa. This isn't a negative against her. I have the highest respect for Lisa. It's about following the convention system that I believe in."
Ms. Henry and Sen. Roraback have a long political history.
She has served on the Northwestern Connecticut Council of Governments since becoming Roxbury's first selectman in 1997.
Sen. Roraback has represented all of the towns in the council except Roxbury during his 13 years as state senator.
Ms. Henry also is president of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns.
She said Sen. Roraback is known for his support of small towns and "always provided the one-two punch" when she needed state senate backing for grants and project approvals, throwing his support first behind then-state Sen. Lou DeLuca and then state Sen. Rob Kane (R-32nd).
"Whatever reasons Barbara had for getting behind me in this campaign, it's the fact that I have earned her support that matters," Sen. Roraback said.
"Barbara is a leader, not just in her community but statewide. She's highly respected," he added, "and I have always thought highly of her. While I welcome all support I receive in my campaign, Barbara's support means a great deal to me personally."
Ms. Wilson-Foley said Tuesday, while she respects Ms. Henry as a "wonderful lady who has led her town well over the years. ... (the) only endorsement we care about now is the endorsement of primary voters."
"The convention is over," she concuded. "It was a process, but now we're in another process. It's no longer individual endorsements by town officials that count. I'm going door to door reaching out to voters. It's their endorsement I need now."