The 72-members of the state Republican Party are anxious to hear what Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. will tell them Wednesday night during their first meeting since the November election.
Will Labriola make a plea to ride out his term, which expires in June? Or will he resign?
Labriola, 56, did not return calls for comment Tuesday.
It would take a two-thirds vote of the committee to take the rare step of ousting Labriola before the end of his term. And the push to remove him as the party’s boss has quieted down over the past month as Republicans analyze their failure to win the governor’s seat and constitutional offices.
A party spokesman emailed news media Tuesday morning to let them know the meeting was closed to the press and that it would be “just like every other meeting. We do not expect anything other than that.”
But there are some committee members who would be happy to show Labrola the door.
Andy Wainwright, a state committee member from Stamford, said Labriola is a nice guy, but the Republican Party has to shake things up.
“If we had the talent we could be competitive again,” Wainwright said.
He said if Labriola had no idea what he’s going to do, “then he’s got to go.”
If he had a chance, Wainwright said he would like to support someone like J.R. Romano.
Romano, a 36-year-old political consultant who is interested in the chairmanship, said he doesn’t know what’s going to happen Wednesday.
He said he told his supporters to listen to what Labriola has to say and use their judgment about how to proceed.
“I asked them to stand down and let Jerry make a decision,” Romano said Wednesday.
Sen. Joe Markley, R-Southington, who also is interested in the job, said he doesn’t believe there will be a vote taken Wednesday on the chairmanship.
“It’s important to find out what the chairman has in mind,” Markley said. “No matter what, he deserves our thanks.”
Markley said he threw his hat into the ring in November because other names were beginning to emerge and he wanted to make sure his name was in the mix.
“My interest is in seeing the party move forward,” Markley said.
He said this last election proved that Republicans are getting closer to victory and “a little strengthening of the state party, down the road, could make the difference.”
According to former state representative Kevin Rennie, Leora Levy of Greenwich, a former commodities trader who is Labriola’s finance chair, is also interested in the position.