Labriola Out, Romano ‘All In’ for GOP State Party Chair

Now that’s it’s known that Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola will definitely not seek another term, the race is down to three contestants: a sitting state senator, a financier with limited time in the political trenches and a firebrand young but veteran up-and-comer in the party. The decision will be made late next month,

Labriola called quits after a tenure that included Republicans getting shut out of every congressional and statewide office even during elections in which the GOP was sweeping the nation.

The three contenders to succeed Labriola are state Sen. Joe Markley, a Southington conservative and Malloy provocateur; John Pavia, former candidate for state attorney general and party finance committee chief; and JR Romano, the astute young operative who engineered the very near upset of state Treasurer Denise Nappier by Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst (and thereby giving Herbst some added juice in the state party).

Far be it for The Shad to advise Republicans. My own political leanings are pretty well known. But I am also no ideologue. I also work as an analyst and can get along very well with people of all political stripes. I like to see good people succeed.

That brings me to why Romano would be best choice for the job. First, Sen. Markley has a job which by title or not, is fulltime. Plus, he marginalized himself with a hatchet job of the most personal nature in a column in The National Review last month.

Pavia is a successful businessman who was finance chair. The problem is if he was chairman, he’d have to hire someone like Romano because Pavia’s never been in the political trenches.

Romano, on the other hand, seems to get what’s wrong with the party, “We don’t need to change who we are,” he told The Shad Tuesday. “We need to learn how to tell our story better. We need to reshape the message, reframe it.”

Coming from blue collar roots in Derby, Romano told me that his parents wanted to attend a recent forum for those seeking the top spot but his father had to attend to a nighttime janitorial job he took because they were being taxed out of their home.

Romano says he can get it done. “I’m a tactician, I get it, I can explain it.”

Indeed, it seems he can.