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Black Republicans Organize

by | Jan 20, 2014 3:15pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Election 2014, Taxes, State Capitol, Hartford

Hugh McQuaid Photo Regina Roundtree, founder of Connecticut Black Republicans and Conservatives, is hoping to help Republicans make in-roads into the state’s urban communities, which have long been bastions of Democratic support. 

Roundtree, a Farmington Republican, outlined her outreach initiative Monday during a press conference, held in the state Capitol’s Hall of Flags just before the annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday ceremony.

She said was drawn to the party based on its positions rather than the individual personalities involved with its politics. She said she hopes that an issues-based approach will resonate in urban communities where Democrats have traditionally had strong support.

“The platform for the party spoke to me. I think what’s happened is we’ve not been able to just come with a simple message of ‘look at the platform, look at what it is. People come and go but the platform remains the same,’” she said.

However, Roundtree said it has been hard for Republicans to establish political clout in the inner cities and trying to establish a network of Black Republicans has been difficult.

“I will say that it is very hard to find Republicans of color in Connecticut. It’s like an underground railroad,” she said.

But by forming her group, Roundtree said she has gotten the state’s Republican Party excited about reaching out to urban communities.

“My phone rings a lot now. My emails are full because we understand as a party that we’ve ignored the urban communities. Many times it’s about not knowing what to do as opposed to the idea that they don’t care about the poor or they don’t care about minorities. They’re not sure how to reach out,” she said.

Roundtree said she plans to target 10 Connecticut cities for outreach this year: Hartford, Bloomfield, Windsor, Norwich, New London, Meriden, New Britain, New Haven, Waterbury, and Bridgeport. She said she has named “team captains” in those communities who will attend local government meetings and other community events.

She is hoping her group can have an impact on statewide races in 2014 like the gubernatorial race as well as elections for other constitutional officers. Roundtree said she also is interested in the election for the 5th Congressional District seat currently held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty.

She said her strategy is to build a grassroots movement around policies like education and job training.

“It’s going to take a long time to build trust, it’s going to take a long time to build in-roads into the urban communities and talk to them about the opportunities within the party,” she said.

Roundtree said she expects that some conservative policies could appeal broadly. There are also community-specific issues that may get others involved, she said. In Bloomfield, issues impacting homeowners may resonate. Meanwhile, in Hartford, conservative positions on education issues could gain support from minority voters.

“As I looked around at other inner cities throughout our state that were suffering through economic decline, I realized that it was a one-party system and how could we bring accountability to those communities if there wasn’t a balance of power,” she said.

Roundtree said Republicans should try to frame their ideas for fiscal conservatism and limited government in a way that resonates with urban communities where most residents are renters rather than homeowners.

Christine Stuart Photo Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, a Fairfield Republican who is running for governor, called Roundtree a “dynamic and exciting leader.”

“Regina and the people standing here today are proof-positive that the Republican Party is alive and well all across the state of Connecticut,” he said.

McKinney said he believes Republicans can garner support in the inner cities through a sustained outreach effort.

“It’s about meeting people on the ground, talking to them about everyday concerns that they have in their lives,” McKinney said. “Bridgeport, Hartford have higher unemployment rates. It’s about going there, talking to them about how our ideas can help create jobs . . . Those types of ideas, you can’t do from Hartford, you can’t do through a campaign ad.”

In 2010, the governor’s race was the tightest in recent memory and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s votes came from his overwhelming support in the cities. However, that year, even inner ring suburbs that were reliably Democratic in the past went for Republican candidate Tom Foley.

In fact, Foley received more votes on the Republican line than Malloy did on the Democratic line in 2010. It was the votes on the Working Families Party line that put Malloy over the top.

Records show that Foley received 560,874 votes compared to Malloy’s 540,970 on the Democratic ballot line. But Malloy received 26,308 votes on the Working Families Party line, giving him a 6,404 vote victory over Foley.

In November 2013, Democratic voters still outnumbered Republicans in the state, but unaffiliated voters still outnumbered each party. According to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s office, there are 741,340 Democrats, 414,711 Republicans, and 842,723 unaffiliated voters registered.

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(26) Archived Comments

posted by: Lawrence | January 20, 2014  6:48pm

Say, Ms. Roundtree, I notice you did NOT mention how CT Republicans like Mr. McKinney, et. al. have voted recently with regards to same day voter registration, maintaining the Earned Income Tax Credit, the minimum wage, paid sick leave, ad a host of other issues important to the black community.

I wish you good luck in your outreach to major CT cities; you will need it.  Republicans have been dismissing the needs of CT’s minorities for decades. Many CT Republicans have even reduced Democrats’ concern for the poor to mere “vote buying.”

How does that make you feel, especially on MLK Jr. Day?

posted by: Lawrence | January 20, 2014  7:05pm

“It’s about meeting people on the ground, talking to them about everyday concerns that they have in their lives,” McKinney said. “Bridgeport, Hartford have higher unemployment rates. It’s about going there, talking to them about how our ideas can help create jobs… Those types of ideas, you can’t do from Hartford, you can’t do through a campaign ad.”

So… this was a campaign press conference, right?

posted by: Joebigjoe | January 20, 2014  7:16pm

Way to go Regina!! However don’t stand with the wrong guy. Just as the math above discusses, this was a close race last time and when you overwhelmingly lose a group with alot of clout and passion, you lose the election. Too many gun owners will not vote for McKinney and if close he will lose. He didnt need to vote for that garbage bill and will be on the wrong side of history unless he leads a charge now to modify it.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | January 20, 2014  7:41pm

I wish them all the success!

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | January 20, 2014  7:50pm

I don’t understand.  I thought everyone voted the issues and not the individual (unless it’s a relative).


posted by: ACR | January 20, 2014  9:39pm


Written like a true Democratic staffer Lawrence.
Kindly illustrate exactly how it is that the “issues” (Democratic talking points) impact the minority community more than others.

posted by: art vandelay | January 20, 2014  9:42pm

art vandelay

It’s about time!  Way to go Regina.  Do yourself a favor and distance yourself as far as you can from McKinney.  Don’t expect him to go knocking on doors down Barbour St. with you anytime soon.  McKinney talks the talk, but won’t set foot in the inner cities.

posted by: SocialButterfly | January 20, 2014  9:51pm

Regina Roundtree is a Republican pioneer for an outnumbered state GOP party that has been unable to compete with the social benefits provided to urban communities with taxpayer money. John McKinney, or any other GOP candidate for governor—cannot compete in the big cities—as long as the Democratic majority buys and owns their vote with our money. Who’s fooling who?

posted by: Lawrence | January 20, 2014  11:03pm

“...that has been unable to compete with the social benefits provided to urban communities with taxpayer money.”

Thank you for proving my point so quickly, Stan.

posted by: UConnHoop | January 21, 2014  8:37am

The goal of the Democratic party has never been to represent the best interests of minorities.  It’s always been about creating a dependence on the government so they can point to the bogeyman (Republicans) who want to take away these benefits.  Once anyone, black, white, brown, purple, yellow, etc…, learns that self-dependence is a far better way of life than government dependence, people choose freedom & liberty every time.

posted by: art vandelay | January 21, 2014  9:30am

art vandelay

@Stan Muzyk, Lawrence & UconnHoop,

Eloquently stated.

posted by: SocialButterfly | January 21, 2014  3:43pm

@Christine: The overwhelming taxpayer-paid social benefits vote in urban communities—won the election for Malloy.

posted by: Christine Stuart | January 21, 2014  4:00pm

Christine Stuart

There were fewer votes cast for both Malloy and Foley than the number of people receiving benefits in this state. So apparently not all people who receive benefits vote. Kind of throws cold water on your theory. Sorry Stan

posted by: art vandelay | January 21, 2014  4:07pm

art vandelay

As I recall, the City of Bridgeport ran out of ballots.  Looking at the exit polls and fearing a Foley victory, the Democtats had Suzie B print more ballots & petitioned the court for the polls to remain open for one extra hour.  Now you know the rest of the story.

posted by: Joebigjoe | January 21, 2014  4:10pm

Christine do you really think that the overwhelming number of people that get social benefits that have to do with not working at all or working poor vote Republican? This group doesnt even vote mostly Republican in Southern very conservative states.

posted by: Christine Stuart | January 21, 2014  4:42pm

Christine Stuart

@JoeBigJoe Let’s not get all crazy and start putting words in people’s mouths. What I said was simply looking at the amount of people who voted in the 2010 election, there are more people who receive some form of government benefit in the state than voted. Period. End of sentence. Not drawing any conclusions about who voted for whom.

posted by: Joebigjoe | January 21, 2014  4:51pm

Christine I am going by what you said to Stan and your comment about throwing cold water on his theory.

Obviously we know they all (those that get social benefits) dont vote but I took what you said to Stan as being those that did vote didnt overwhelmingly vote for Malloy. To me his theory was that those who did vote who do get social benefits went for Malloy in a big way and I agree with that.

Upon re-reading it was confusing but that’s how I took it.

posted by: SocialButterfly | January 21, 2014  6:36pm

The bottom line is that most of the people who receive the social benefit dole—vote for their benefactor’s—Democratic candidates. That’s why Pres. Obama and Gov. Malloy won’t put these voters to work—to earn their stipend.  It wins elections for the Democratic election candidates
- “under the false guise of Democratic prosperity.”

posted by: jenand | January 21, 2014  6:55pm

Yes, and further, it is appropriate to point out that most people who are “on welfare”, are children. And it is all of our responsibility to care for the children

posted by: Chien DeBerger | January 22, 2014  10:34am

@ jenand -

And when are the parents of those children held responsible?

posted by: SocialButterfly | January 22, 2014  11:49am

@JoeBigJoe: Credit to your parents.  They taught you well: - “To tell the truth.”
Truth has been side-lined in Connecticut—in the best interests of our false-propaganda Democratic-controlled state-disabling Gov. Malloy regime. We need more people like you Joe—“telling the truth.”

posted by: justice | January 22, 2014  12:03pm

Post by UCONNHOOP says it all. Also parents should be more responsible and accountable for their kids actions and not so dependent on schools and social services. The tax increases to working families is just to much.

posted by: SocialButterfly | January 22, 2014  1:18pm

@justice:  Like JoeBigJoe—you also “tell the truth.” Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti has a huge and costly graffiti problem in his city.
He can agree whole-heartily that “parents should be more accountable for their children’s actions.”  This could be addressed in in Ansonia school auditorium’s
in scheduled talks with students and their parents.
Like the coined saying:  “It’s 9:00 p. m.—do you know where your children are?”

posted by: William Jenkins | January 24, 2014  1:42am

Hugh, why do you insist on continuing to use this wrong map?  Canterbury voted overwhelmingly for Foley not Malloy.  I’d be willing to bet there are addtional errors as well.  You might want to investigate this.  Either that or find a better map.

posted by: Christine Stuart | January 24, 2014  8:40am

Christine Stuart

Mr. Jenkins,
The map was created in the days following the Election when the results were not finalized. It was created by Susan Bigelow and I apologize. I had no idea there were any huge discrepancies in it. The idea of me putting it into the story was to show how red the state was and the concentration of blue. To that end it serves its purpose. I will try and see if we can’t get a more accurate map, but at the moment it’s the only one that exists to illustrate the point, which is in Republicans favor btw.

p.s. Susan sent us the updated map, which is in place now.

posted by: Christine Stuart | January 24, 2014  10:42am

Christine Stuart

You’ll be happy to know William that the new map based on the final tally has been uploaded to the story.

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