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Republicans Pick Derby Native Romano for State Party Chairman

by | Jun 23, 2015 10:55pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Election 2016, Local Politics, Bristol

Courtesy of Facebook The youngest of the three candidates for Republican Party Chairman walked away Tuesday with the endorsement of the 72-member Republican State Central Committee at Nuchie’s in Bristol.

J.R. Romano, 36, ended up with the most votes after two ballots. State Sen. Joe Markley, R-Southington, withdrew from the race after the first ballot and then John Pavia, of Easton, released his delegates so that Romano could be elected unanimously.

“What we need to do is tell our story better,” Romano said.

Romano succeeds Jerry Labriola Jr., who received criticism following the 2014 election. Under Labriola’s leadership Republicans failed to capture the governor’s office or any of the constitutional offices. Republicans also haven’t won a congressional seat since 2006.

Romano said he wants to change that. As a political operative in the state for 16 years, Romano signals a new direction for the party.

“My strength lies in being able to communicate to a different demographic,” Romano has said.

Romano recently worked as political director for Tim Herbst, a Republican who got close but was ultimately unsuccessful at unseating state Treasurer Denise Nappier. He previously served as director for the Connecticut chapter of Americans For Prosperity.

Romano dismissed criticism that his relationship with Herbst would mean the Republican Party would be dedicating more resources to Herbst if he decides to run for governor in 2018. There’s speculation that 2018 is shaping up to be a primary between Herbst and Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.

Romano said his goal is to strengthen the party and support good candidates, but he has no desire to favor one over another.

“We have a lot of work to do and I’m ready to go,” Romano said in a phone interview.

Romano announced he was interested in the chairmanship last November when it looked as if Labriola may leave the post before the end of his term. Labriola actually made some members uneasy by declining to announce he wasn’t going to seek another term. There were rumors he would step back into the role as chairman if there wasn’t enough support for one of the three candidates. A fourth candidate, Ron Eleveld of Windsor, dropped out of the race Tuesday before the vote.

Tuesday’s election of party chairman was closed to the media.

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(29) Archived Comments

posted by: shinningstars122 | June 24, 2015  5:48am


What did Sarah Palin once say about lipstick and a pig?

A younger voice that stands for exactly the same things the GOP has stood for the last 40 years is not what will not help you communicate with a different “demographic”.

One simply has to look at the fruit of their failed economic policies today to see that the GOP is simply adrift and has no idea how to preserve and grow the middle class in our state or country.

Socially progressive Republicans, not that this dude is that, are a pariah in the National Republican party today.

They have 12 candidates for President, as of today, and the majority couldn’t, nor have they ever even, manage a small municipality.

It is time to stop holding out for the two party system kids.

posted by: LongJohn47 | June 24, 2015  6:39am

Great!  The Republican Party in CT has been taken over by the Koch Brothers, and true believers will get to test the theory that the party wasn’t pure enough.

Just what the doctor ordered—hard right ideologues replacing self-funded dilettantes.  Good luck with that.

posted by: Biff Winnetka | June 24, 2015  7:28am

How coincidentally symbolic that the republicans (small “r”) choose their state party chairman from the one municipality that will probably be the first to declare bankruptcy as a result of our “permanent fiscal crisis”.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

posted by: watcherkat54 | June 24, 2015  9:33am

He needs to bring the party together, stop nominating rich Greenwich folks and work with the Senate and House Republican leadership and local town committees.

posted by: Phantom | June 24, 2015  10:01am

This will be the only election the Republicans win.

posted by: Briney | June 24, 2015  11:20am

Oh Yes, “My strength lies in being able to communicate to a different demographic,” And that would be The Koch Brothers Americans for Prosperity.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | June 24, 2015  11:28am


Funny man, yer killin me! Twist and burn!


posted by: art vandelay | June 24, 2015  12:11pm

art vandelay

The Republican field of 12 has at least one candidate that has successfully run a multi billion dollar company. If you recall, Obama was a community organizer who ran NOTHING but got elected.  By the way if you haven’t noticed he still can’t run anything.

I am looking at the same failed economic policies. They have Obama/Malloy & the Democrats written on every page.

I haven’t seen anything on Mr. Romano’s resume where he held a position for the Koch Corporation. How did you obtain this fact?

@Biff Winnetka,
Derby might be having some financial difficulties like many other towns in Connecticut, but where did you read that they are about to file for bankruptcy?

I cannot believe the viciousness of my fellow bloggers on this site.  He hasn’t held his position for one week let alone an election cycle.  He’s already he’s been slammed up against the wall and crucified.  Give the person a chance.

posted by: GBear423 | June 24, 2015  1:29pm


@Biff, does Mr Romano have anything to do with that municipality budget?

posted by: LongJohn47 | June 24, 2015  4:46pm

Art—Americans for Prosperity is a Koch Brothers funded organization.  Google it and you’ll find hundreds of articles.

posted by: shinningstars122 | June 24, 2015  9:12pm


@Art it is a Baker’s dozen now for the GOP. I think they could hit 15 or 18 candiates by August.

They can’t agree on anything so just throw it all at the wall and see who sticks.

I am sure the plutocrats are not very happy which horse are they gonna back now and more importantly who will FOX News allow at that first debate.

posted by: IOU | June 24, 2015  10:16pm


looking forward to great accomplishments Mr Romano, best wishes

posted by: SocialButterfly | June 25, 2015  9:45am

J.R. Romano is the best pick as Republican state leader. The bad actors’ that critique his selection do not like any Republicans and “their words unkind should be taken with a grain of salt.”

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | June 25, 2015  9:47am

Art - LongJohn is right on this one. Americans for Prosperity is a well-known Koch front group. As a frequent CTNJ commenter, I’m actually surprised you aren’t aware of that - or is it willful denial?

posted by: art vandelay | June 25, 2015  2:24pm

art vandelay

@Sarah Darer Littman & LongJohn47,

My apologies for not doing my homework.
I wasn’t aware that Americas for Prosperity
was a Koch related organization, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

posted by: Biff Winnetka | June 25, 2015  2:44pm


Media matters is a well-known Soros front group. As a frequent CTNJ commenter, I’m actually surprised you aren’t aware of that - or is it willful denial?

How ‘bout for every “Kochs are evil” comment we throw in a “Soros is evil” comment just to keep things balanced.  Or better yet, let’s just ignore them cuz they’re gonna do their thang regardless.  Mmmmkay?

posted by: SocialButterfly | June 25, 2015  5:19pm

@IOU: I join you in looking for great accomplishments from J.R.Romano, rather than getting off track with his very challenging post.  I know J.R and his results-oriented family personally and am very confident in his success.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | June 25, 2015  10:43pm

@BiffW. Did I mention Media Matters? Have I quoted Media Matters? Your comments are so juvenile, it’s almost as if you are a college intern paid to troll.

posted by: LongJohn47 | June 26, 2015  6:46am

Biff - Romano actually worked for the Kochs, which is why talking about them here is relevant.  If he encourages candidates who share that same philosophy, we’ll have a Republican Party that is even more out of step with the majority of people in this state than before.

The GOP has lost in the last two cycles largely with self-funded dilettantes.  They’ll lose even worse with dark money ideologues.  But hey! That’s good for my side, even if it’s terrible for the state.

posted by: SocialButterfly | June 26, 2015  10:00am

@Sarah Darer Littman:  I agree with you. Biff Winnetka does not stay with the subject at hand. He travels a lot in his commentaries which is his probably his own journalistic flair.

posted by: watcherkat54 | June 26, 2015  11:53am

Republicans needed to change something.  Tom Foley and Linda McMahon didn’t do it despite their wealth.  The Ronald Reagan ideals are not dead or obsolete.  Its obvious that the democrats don’t know how to govern, work together.  Even strong democrats like Ella Grasso and Bill O’Neill worked with the opposition and they were good leaders because of it.  JR Romano offers new hope for the Republican party and I wish him well.

posted by: SocialButterfly | June 26, 2015  11:54am

@LongJohn47: Your continual support for the bankruptcy driven Malloy Socialist-Democratic leadership makes you in denial of impartional reasoning which but you can’t deter the need of new state Republican leadership in J.R. Romano, propelled by voters like you who keep voting in the false Democratic deficit prosperity candidates into office.

posted by: art vandelay | June 26, 2015  11:55am

art vandelay

I have to honestly agree with LongJohn47’s comments regarding the Republican Party.  What frightens me even more is that Foley is actually going to consider a third try.  Republicans REALLY need to get their act together if they ever expect to win a state or national office again.

posted by: LongJohn47 | June 26, 2015  1:06pm

SocialBF—I think I get the drift of your post, but you really need to take a moment and edit before you hit “submit”.  Incoherency doesn’t help your cause.  But then, not much will.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | June 26, 2015  1:20pm

Social Butterfly - What you call “journalistic flair”, I call “inability to construct a logical, constructive argument.” And that, my friend, is a major problem with political discourse in our country today.

posted by: SocialButterfly | June 26, 2015  1:28pm

#art vandelay:  Here you go again. Hitting on Tom Foley like you did continually during the last state election. “Instead of taking your swipes against the proven bad guy Dannel Malloy” who is now in office to haunt all of us.  You like to write a lot Art but you do have a tendency conflict with Republicans you dislike “that makes you look like a Democrat in Republican clothing.”

posted by: SocialButterfly | June 26, 2015  1:40pm

@Biff Winnetka: You say that Media Matters is a known Billionaire George Soros front group.  Soros was known as the kingpin in controlling the liberal news media that got Barack Obama elected twice. His riches generate a lot of clout.

posted by: art vandelay | June 26, 2015  2:08pm

art vandelay

@Social Butterfly,
You can call me lots of things, but by no stretch of the imagination am I a Democrat.  Not in a million years.
When the Republican Party does stupid things like nominating Tom Foley, Linda McMahon,
or even John McCain, I’ll call them out on it.

posted by: SocialButterfly | June 26, 2015  4:45pm

@Sarah Darer Littman: I agree with you but that should should also include “being careless with the truth.”

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