Legislative Council member George Ferguson will challenge Rep. Chris Lyddy (D-106th District, Newtown) for his General Assembly seat in November.
Ferguson, 56, a Taunton Hill Road resident received the nomination during a Republican Town Committee meeting Thursday night at the Senior Center.
"Everybody came out of there with their head held up high for George," RTC chairman Dennis Bloom said.
Ferguson takes over the campaign trail from .
LaRocque, who could not be reached for comment, is under investigation by the state Elections Enforcement Commission after officials said his campaign submitted at least 18 straw donations as part of his application for public financing. LaRocque also resigned from his elected post on the town council.
Ferguson, who said he will remain on the council while campaigning, said council chairman Jeff Capeci called Thursday morning to ask whether Ferguson would consider running in place of LaRocque.
"I was flattered that I was being asked to pick up the mantle," Ferguson said, adding that he then called prominent local Republicans, such as Bloom, First Selectman Pat Llodra and Board of Finance Chairman John Kortze.
"I didn't ask for their support, I asked for their advice," Ferguson said. "It's important especially in times of turbulence that you have a unified message, a unified group."
He said he asked his colleagues whether they believed the party was ready to come together as a group, and their answer convinced him to throw his name into the race by 4 p.m. Thursday.
Ferguson, who said he is a moderate Republican – a fiscal conservative who is "relatively progressive" on social issues – is married with three children. His oldest daughter recently graduated cum laude from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor's degree in psychology and his youngest is a senior at Newtown High School.
Ferguson owns a consulting firm that specializes in organizational development, helping nonprofits with strategic planning, fundraising and other matters. He also is former soccer coach and former member of the Inland Wetlands Agency and later the Conservation Commission.
Ferguson, who said he possesses a masters in business administration in finance, said his campaign will focus on fiscal responsibility.
"We are in fiscally big trouble in this state," he said. "We need to get our fiscal house in order in Hartford…That really is the bottom line. It doesn't really get more complicated."
Bloom described Ferguson as "very likable" and knowledgeable.
"He's been very good on the council," Bloom said of Ferguson. "He's the type that likes to work with people."
Selectman Will Rodgers, who also was nominated during the RTC meeting but who subsequently declined, said in a statement faxed to members of the local media that the campaign would be "an uphill battle for any Republican candidate to succeed against the Democratic incumbent." Rodgers unsuccessfully ran against Lyddy two years ago.
"First, many locally might unfairly tar the entire Republican party over these recent developments," he said in his statement. "Second, even if that were not the case, logistically it would be tough to ramp up a campaign at this late in the season, even for me, probably the one best equipped to do it by virtue of having run last time."
Rodgers said he supported Ferguson's candidacy. Ferguson said he is confident of his chances.
"I wouldn't do this if I didn't think I could win," he said.
Lyddy could not be reached for comment Thursday night.