On June 23, 2015, Connecticut Republicans elected J.R. Romano as their party chairman. Today, on his one year anniversary, Democrats are reflecting on some of the highlights – and lowlights – of his tenure as head of the Connecticut GOP.
Here are just a few of our favorite moments from the year that was…
…that time when, days into Romano’s term, a Republican State Central member was caught flying the Confederate flag and Romano failed to take action – or even disown the flag:
J.R. Romano, The Party’s Newly-Elected Chairman, Expressed Mixed Feelings About The Display Of The Stars And Bars. “J.R. Romano, the party’s newly-elected chairman, expressed mixed feelings about the display of the Stars and Bars. ‘I fully understand and recognize to some people who are minorities why it might be offensive,’ Romano said. ‘To others, it represents state’s rights.’” [CT News Blog, 06/26/15]
…that time he fell for an internet hoax a simple Google search could have prevented:
Colin McEnroe: “To J.R. Romano, A Piece Of Advice: Not Everything On The Internet Is Real. I Know! I Found It Hard To Get Used To.” “To J.R. Romano, a piece of advice: Not everything on the Internet is real. I know! I found it hard to get used to. […] Romano has been a little harder to read, but this week he threw up all over himself, falling for a third-rate Internet hoax and behaving like a petulant oaf. Romano’s office issued a statement lambasting President Barack Obama for “drooling all over Che Guevara.” The evidence of this was a photo of Obama smiling and holding up to his chest a blue T-shirt emblazoned with a silk screen of Guevara.” [Colin McEnroe, Hartford Courant, 03/24/16]
… that time he thought banning a reporter from the GOP state convention was a good idea:
The Chairman Of The Republican State Central Committee On Friday Denied Hearst Connecticut Media’s Political Reporter Access To The Party’s Monday Convention. “The chairman of the Republican State Central Committee on Friday denied Hearst Connecticut Media’s political reporter access to the party’s Monday convention. J.R. Romano, of Derby, turned down Neil Vigdor’s request to attend the event in the Connecticut Convention Center, for what he characterized as a series of negative stories about state Republicans that used anonymous sources. ‘I’m tired of him having unnamed sources,’ Romano said Friday. ‘I question his motivations. Neil Vigdor is not treating us fairly. I just want to be treated fairly. I’m not being treated fairly.’” [CT Post, 05/07/16]
Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano Didn’t Apologize For Banning A Reporter From The State Convention, But He Reneged On His Decision To Ban Him Monday In A Video Posted On The Party’s Facebook Page. “Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano didn’t apologize for banning a reporter from the state convention, but he reneged on his decision to ban him Monday in a video posted on the party’s Facebook page. In the video (see below) Romano invites Neil Vigdor of the Hearst newspaper chain to attend the convention at the Connecticut Convention Center. ‘He will be credentialed,’ Romano said. ‘I just needed to draw attention to what I felt was unfair coverage.’” [CT News Junkie, 05/09/16]
…that time he attempted to rewrite history:
The Other Afternoon, When Asked To Comment On Malloy’s Charges That Republican-Run States Have Been Making It Harder For Blacks And Hispanics To Register To Vote, Romano Offered Up Some Revisionist History. “But the other afternoon, when asked to comment on Malloy’s charges that Republican-run states have been making it harder for blacks and Hispanics to register to vote, Romano offered up some revisionist history. Speaking from the Republican National Committee meeting in Cleveland prior to the party’s presidential throwdown on Fox TV, he recalled that it was Republican majorities in Congress that approved 1965 act. Wrong. The 89th Congress had Democratic majorities of 68-32 in the Senate and 295 to 140 in the House. In fact, Democrats held Senate majorities from 1955 until 1981 and ran the House from 1957 until 1995. Rather than Google around for the fact check, I went all analog on Romano and looked it up in ‘The World Almanac and Book of Facts.’” [CT Post, 8/8/15]
…that time he choked – by the GOP’s own standards – in the 2015 election:
“‘We’re telling voters to send Dan Malloy a message and vote Republican,’ said J.R. Romano, who took over in June as chairman of the Republican State Central Committee.” [CT Mirror, 10/29/15]
“‘This is our number one target,’ declared J.R. Romano, chairman of the Republican party in Connecticut. ‘I am personally invested, and the party will be invested, in Fairfield.’” [CT Mirror, 10/29/15]
Thanks To The GOP’s Own Metric – It Loudly Pronounced The Election A Referendum On The Tax Policies Of The Unpopular Gov. Dannel P. Malloy – The Democrats Could Credibly Lay Claim To Winning At Least The Immediate Messaging Battle. “The polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, but Democrats and Republicans kept punching Wednesday like two fighters who didn’t hear the bell, battling over what constituted a political win or loss in Connecticut’s 2015 municipal elections. Thanks to the GOP’s own metric – it loudly pronounced the election a referendum on the tax policies of the unpopular Gov. Dannel P. Malloy – the Democrats could credibly lay claim to winning at least the immediate messaging battle. ‘The Republicans said this was going to be a referendum on Dan Malloy. I guess we did pretty well,’ said Malloy, a Democrat. ‘In fact, they said they were going to win Derby, and they were going to win Fairfield. They didn’t win either. We picked up a number of communities. We’re very happy — very, very happy — with the results.’” [CT Mirror, 11/04/15]
… and finally that time when Donald Trump was super racist and Romano was like ¯\_(?)_/¯
This is just a small sampling of what we think Romano’s highlights have been this year. We look forward to the continuing showcase of gravity defying, reality warping, ineffective schemes as Republicans attempt to “Take Connecticut Back” for his former employers the Koch brothers.
After a year, Democrats can say for sure that we’re grateful that Republican leaders elected him.