Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, a Republican from Fairfield who played a key role in negotiating the gun control package that passed
in April, announced on Tuesday he would seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2014.

McKinney, a state senator for the past 16 years, is known throughout the state for his moderate legislative style, touting fiscally conservative policies while simultaneously backing socially liberal issues ,such as gay marriage and abortion rights. This year, McKinney helped craft a bipartisan gun control package passed in April, which, among other regulations, restricted access to assault-style semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. McKinney, who represents Newtown in the state Senate, was one of six Republicans in his 14-Senator caucus to vote in favor of the bill.

“I love my state and I’ve always been proud to call Connecticut my home,” McKinney said in his email announcement. “I’m running for governor because I care about Connecticut’s history and its future. I want my children and the next generation to be just as proud to call Connecticut their home.”

McKinney is likely to face Tom Foley, a former U.S. ambassador to Ireland and the 2010 G.O.P. nominee, in the 2014 Republican primary. House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, the state’s other highest-ranking Republican, recently decided against a run.

Though McKinney is favored by many Republicans in the state to win the G.O.P. nomination, he will likely face a steep financial disadvantage. In his email announcement, the Senator pledged to opt into the state’s public financing system, which would allow him an approximate total budget of $1.5 million for the Republican primary. Foley, who spent many years in the private sector, self-financed his campaign in 2010 and is expected to do the same in 2014.