VOICES Gianquinto: Will Witkos Condemn 8th District GOP State Central Committeeman's Racist Posts?
The CT Republican Party is broken.
This week, stunning revelations came to light after the arrest of the likely Republican nominee for CT’s 2nd Congressional District on domestic violence charges. There is apparently video evidence of Tom Gilmer viciously assaulting a former girlfriend. We know this because police took the video as evidence after Gilmer’s primary opponent was provided the video and shopped it around to party leadership in a bid to damage Gilmer politically. Following his arrest, Gilmer has promised to step down even if he wins the primary.
Whoever faces Congressmen Joe Courtney this fall will be trounced, mostly because Joe Courtney is exceedingly effective at doing the people’s business but also because he is not a Republican running for Congress in Connecticut.
Gilmer is not the only one with problems stemming from this sordid affair. It turns out that leaders of the Connecticut Republican party were aware of the video. It turns out that they were aware a long time before the 2nd District Convention, and it turns out that they withheld this information from delegates.
Party Chairman JR Romano is now the target of multiple calls for his resignation—including from State Senator Kevin Witkos. In his defense, Romano is not a mandatory reporter, just a human being. State Prosecutor and Republican Party Vice Chair Susan Hatfield however, would have a duty to report. Instead, she chose to put a disclaimer on her conversation with Gilmer’s opponent before he was able to show her the video he had already described. What courage.
You would think that GOP leaders would be working to right the ship—to demonstrate some basic decency and leadership. As Kevin Rennie’s Daily Ructions blog points out, if you looked to 8th District Republican State Central Committee member Richard Tutunjian for that over the weekend, you found this:
Tutunjian must have wondered, “If it’s broke, why fix it?” Why bother showing any kind of leadership—or any kind of basic human decency—when you can just post some racist memes on Facebook? Your CT GOP hard at work.
Witkos jumped into the piling on of Romano over the weekend. That’s easy enough after people like House Minority Leader Themis Klarides had already done so. Will he now show the character to condemn plain-faced racism on display from one of his own local party leaders?
This fall Republicans candidates will try to separate themselves from the historically unpopular president they share a ballot with. Witkos will tell voters that Democrats just blame Trump for everything, and he'll attempt to make the case that he's different from the national Republicans that CT voters reject time and time again. Meanwhile, CT GOP leaders are doing their damnedest to show you they are the Party of Trump—and nothing else.