The gubernatorial Republican nominee will need a strong partner if he is to win the Governor’s mansion and turn the state around. That candidate is Joe Markley.
Many voters are unaware of the importance of this position and few can name our present Lieutenant Governor (LG), Democrat Nancy Wyman. But if the State Senate is deadlocked, the LG casts the tie-breaker. Thus, Nancy Wyman cast the crucial vote to kick the can down the road in pension reform early in 2017 and seven months later, the tie-breaking vote that extended public union contracts until 2027 while rendering it illegal to lay off state workers for four years – thus setting up Connecticut residents for huge tax increases and confiscatory tolls in the future. Furthermore, it was Lowell Weicker’s LG, Eunice Groark, who cast the tie-breaker that imposed the odious state income tax.
Markley, a conservative stalwart, has the rare ability to disagree without being disagreeable. With his wire-framed glasses and goatee, one could easily mistake him for a liberal college professor. But armed with a razor-sharp intellect and a classical education from both Amherst and Columbia, Markley not only articulates conservative principles competently, but also strengthens the spines of more moderate Republicans who will waffle when the tough votes are needed.
One of his opponents is Erin Stewart, the mayor of New Britain, who has been endorsed by the Hartford Courant. This should automatically make any Republican suspicious. Ms. Stewart’s main argument is that as a woman, she adds “diversity” to the ticket. But there is no evidence that women vote for other women simply because they are women. If this were so, Hillary Clinton would be president. Furthermore, successful women politicians are not a novelty in Connecticut. We were the first state to elect a woman governor who did not succeed her husband, Ella Grasso. Other successful women politicians include Jodi Rell, Rosa DeLauro, Barbara Kennelly and the aforementioned Nancy Wyman. If fact, Fairfield County was represented in Congress by a woman in the 1940’s, Claire Booth Luce.
Markley’s other opponent is Darien First Selectman Jayme Stevenson. While she is portraying herself as a born-again conservative, she has a fairly moderate record, as is characteristic of Fairfield County Republicans from the wealthier towns. Remember, these are the towns that brought us Republicans such as Lowell Weicker and Bill Nickerson, the only Republican senator to vote for the state income tax.
Ms. Stevenson has attacked Markley as a “fringe candidate” because of his conservative voting record. But what Ms. Stevenson fails to understand is that Joe Markley has been a State Senator for eight years and represents a diverse district that was previously represented by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. He is the only Senate Republican who has constituents in a city, in his case Waterbury. In fact, he won his last election by 74%! It is mathematically impossible to win by this magnitude without appealing to independents and moderate Democrats. And Markley is the endorsed candidate by the Republican Convention.
Conservatives in Connecticut are a stronger force than realized. Many are upset that gubernatorial candidate Peter Lumaj was unable to obtain enough delegate support to enter the primary. These people may stay home if Ms. Stewart or Ms. Stevenson is on the ballot. But they will crawl over broken glass to vote for Joe Markley, thus helping our gubernatorial nominee.
Markley’s pleasant demeanor will disarm any attacks against him. As his colleague Democratic Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff said, “Heck of a nice guy. We get along fine personally. We just don’t agree on much.” And Markley will out debate either LG candidate the Democrats nominate, whether it be the charismatically-challenged Susan Bysiewicz or the upstart hard-core liberal, Eva Bermudez Zimmerman. We Republicans cannot miss the opportunity to have Joe Markley on our ticket.