It’s been a very long time since a Republican was elected mayor of Hartford; 42 years in fact when Ann Uccello was re-elected to a second term. This year, the GOP hasn’t even come up with a candidate yet, although the leader of city Republicans, Mike McGarry, is holding the spot until a candidate emerges.
There is a belief that the Connecticut Republican party has abandoned our capital city. The party headquarters moved from the shadow of the State Capitol to New Britain a few years ago and 2010 Senate nominee Linda McMahon chose a suburban location for her campaign headquarters. The 2007 mayoral nominee Stan McCauley, received little help from the state party or then Governor Rell, despite the fact that allegations of corruption were percolating against his opponent, then mayor Eddie Perez. Recruiting efforts for new voters have been weak.
The GOP attitude toward Hartford is about to change. During a taping of “Face the State,” new party chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. told me Republicans hope to win three seats on the city of council, led by current councilman Corey Brinson. Labriola is also optimistic a strong Republican candidate for mayor will be found…..and it must be soon.
The big news Labriola revealed, is that the party is moving its headquarters back to Hartford, saying GOP offices need to be near the seat of government. In addition to the Governor, constitutional officers,a nd lawmakers, the state Democratic party headquarters is here, and both U.S. Senators have offices in the city. Labriola and party officials have been scouting new locations.
Democrats make up a huge majority of Hartford voters, but Labriola is confident given the poor economy, his party can make inroads in the city. One would think after more than four decades of one party rule during which the city has experienced a population decline, Republicans could make a compelling argument that they could do better.
You can watch the entire interview right here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?clipId=6211851&topVideoCatNo=213439&autoStart=true
Hartford’s last Republican Mayor: Ann Uccello being sworn in, December 1967