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Caligiuri to Run in 5th District; Foley Eyes Conn. Gubernatorial Race

Republican candidates in the Connecticut Senate race are dropping like flies. State Sen. Sam Caligiuri (R) formalized his decision to switch from the Senate race to a 5th district House run on Tuesday. And businessman and former Ireland Ambassador Tom Foley (R) also disclosed that he is now looking at jumping from the Senate race to the open-seat gubernatorial contest.That leaves former Rep. Rob Simmons, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon and libertarian investor Peter Schiff to duke it out for the right to challenge embattled Sen. Chris Dodd (D) next year.Caligiuri, who received public encouragement from Connecticut’s Republican Party chairman to consider the switch last week, said in a release Tuesday that he had concluded that other candidates in the GOP field “are in a better position than I am to defeat Senator Dodd.— In deciding whether to run instead for the House or for governor, Caligiuri “concluded that at this time I can best serve Connecticut as a Member of Congress.— He is gunning for sophomore Rep. Christopher Murphy (D) in the 5th district but will face a primary against Justin Bernier (R), former chairman of Connecticut’s Military and Defense Advisory Council.In a statement, Foley said he has “had a number of conversations with people who are encouraging me to consider running for Governor because they believe I could better serve Connecticut today as Governor than as a Senator.— And from the tone of his release, which listed his many qualifications for the state executive branch, it sounds like he is already shifting gears.“Over the next several days I will talk with my family and others whose judgment I trust about whether to run for Governor. I plan to make a decision by next week and will announce my decision at that time,— Foley said.Neither Caligiuri nor Foley, a major GOP fundraiser who bundled money for President George W. Bush, had made much of a dent in public polls testing the Republican primary field in the Senate race. The entry of McMahon and Schiff, both of whom promise to be well-funded, into the race this fall has sucked much of the air out of the room.Gov. Jodi Rell’s (R) decision not to run for re-election in 2010 earlier this month also opened up a major new opportunity for Republican office-seekers.

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