Mark Boughton

Age: 50

Hometown: Danbury

Occupation: Mayor of Danbury

Background: A product of Connecticut public schools and state universities, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton is running as a "blue-collar" Republican who says he understands the struggles of everyday residents. The six-term incumbent mayor won his first term in 2001. He has established a brand on social-media, using conversational, 140-character posts to his Twitter account to campaign and to deliver news to city residents. Boughton says Danbury recovered faster from the economic downturn than any other city in Connecticut, and vows to lead the state through a similar rebound if elected governor. He has drawn attention in the past for his tough immigration policy after he asked for the federal government's help in a launching citywide campaign to crack down on undocumented residents, whom he said put a strain on local schools and hospitals.

Boughton paints himself as a middle-class candidate in contrast to millionaires McKinney and Foley, the two other frontrunners, and released tax returns this year showing that he and his wife earn a combined $180,000. Before he took over as mayor in Danbury, he served two terms in the state House of Representatives. He ran for lieutenant governor alongside Tom Foley in 2010, and this year chose his running mate early, naming former Groton Mayor Heather Somers as his lieutenant governor pick.

Campaign Promises: Repeal all of Gov. Malloy's tax hikes. Eliminate the business entity tax and cut the gas tax. Create a homestead property tax exemption and engage in property tax reform. Simplify the tax code to allow taxpayers to file their returns from a smartphone.

Seeking Public Financing: Yes

Tom Foley

Age: 62

Hometown: Greenwich

Occupation: Business leader, former U.S. Ambassador

Background: Foley, a Greenwich millionaire and former ambassador to Ireland, is seeking a rematch against Malloy after losing to the incumbent Democrat by less than 7,000 votes in 2010. Polling from this campaign cycle has put Foley, a long-time Republican fundraiser who is well-established within the party, significantly ahead of other GOP contenders and in a dead-heat with Malloy. In 2010, Malloy, backed by the unions, carried the state's four largest cities, and Foley opened this campaign with a promise to funnel more moneys to cities through an urban policy agenda that would focus on jobs, crime, schools housing and poverty.

The founder of private-equity firm NTC Group, Inc., Foley repeatedly has said he understands the struggles of starting a company from the ground up. He distances himself from career politicians and says that if elected governor he would work to improve the state's business climate. Following the 2010 election, Foley launched the Connecticut Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank that publishes research and hosts discussions on topical policy issues.

Campaign Promises: Keep discretionary spending – anything not required under federal law or state statute – flat for two years and use the savings to cut the sales tax by half a percent. Roll back Malloy education reform policies by not interfering in high-performing schools, which would be subjected to different standards than lower-performing schools.

Seeking Public Financing: Plans to qualify for public financing and then decide whether to opt into Connecticut's Citizen Election Program.

Mark Lauretti

Age: 59

Hometown: Shelton

Occupation: Mayor of Shelton