On Tuesday, June 23, the 74 members of the CT GOP State Central Committee assembled to elect officers for the new 2-year terms that become effective upon completion of the vote. Over the past several months State Senator Joe Markley (Southington), Former CT GOP Finance Chair John Pavia (Easton) and Former CT GOP Executive Director J.R. Romano (Derby) travelled the state speaking with State Central members at a variety of candidate forums, RTC meeting and one-on-one conversations articulating their vision for the future of the Connecticut Republican Party. By all accounts the presentations and conversations were positive, respectful and followed President Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment – “Thou shall not speak ill of a fellow Republican.” True to form, last minute vote “whipping” conversations and nominating speeches avoided the nastiness that sometimes slip into the process as the election draws near.
Party Rules require each member to state the candidate for whom he or she is voting in a roll call style process. In any race where there are more than two candidates, there is no requirement to drop any “low vote getters” at the conclusion of a ballot call. When the votes were counted at the conclusion of the first ballot for Chairman, no candidate received the necessary plurality and a 10-minute recess was declared for each camp to assess its situation. Upon reconvening, Sen. Markley, who received the fewest number of votes, gracefully withdrew his name from considering, releasing those who supported him to vote for the remaining candidate of his or her choice. On the second ballot, with JR Romano receiving a majority of votes before the balloting was closed, John Pavia also respectfully withdrew his name and urged his supporter to switch their vote (also allowed under party rules before the balloting is closed) to Mr. Romano. When the final votes were counted all members, save one abstention, voted for JR Romano. It was orderly, upbeat process from start to finish and in a very brief acceptance speech, JR promised to earn the confidence of the Committee by producing results that will get more Republicans elected in Connecticut. As Sen Markley and Mr. Pavia has received when they withdrew, Mr. Romano received a standing ovation from the members and many guests in attendance.
There were far less complicated and dramatic elections for the other executive offices. Annalisa Stravato was elected without opposition as Vice Chairman. In a surprise on-the-spot nomination, Bill Jenkins lost to incumbent Secretary Art Scialabba. And incumbent Treasurer Garry Schaffrick defeated late-entry candidate Chuck Pyne for Treasurer.