The head of Connecticut’s Republican Party has no intention of resigning despite calls from some members to step down following the arrest of 2nd Congressional District candidate Thomas Gilmer on felony domestic assault charges .
“I don’t plan on resigning,” Romano said Sunday evening.
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides called for Romano’s resignation Friday in the Hartford Courant saying, “The reports about this incident are egregious and anyone who had knowledge of them should have gone to the authorities.”
Klarides declined to elaborate on her remarks Saturday.
Justin Anderson, the other Republican candidate, is only about 26 votes behind Gilmer ahead of a recount. He said Sunday that the victim reached out to him and wanted him to get Gilmer out of the race. Anderson said that he eventually ended up with video evidence of an assault and turned it over to the police.
Gilmer was charged on Monday, Aug. 10, hours before the polls opened. He has not entered a plea and still remains in the race.
Anderson said he was hesitant to go to the police because the victim didn’t want him to. He said the victim wanted him to get the Republican Party to pressure Gilmer to get out of the race. Anderson said he showed the video to a few party leaders, but not Romano.
Anderson said while the party flip-flops back and forth on where to point the finger, it should eventually land on Gilmer.
“I don’t know who was right and who was wrong, but that’s the guy we should all be mad at as a party,” Anderson said.
Some Republicans are defending Romano.
“He did exactly what a Chairman should do,” Charles Catania, a state central member, wrote on Facebook. “When Justin Anderson made JR Romano aware that a video existed in April—- one day before the convention—- our Chairman instructed Mr. Anderson to immediately bring his evidence to the police department. He further gave Mr. Anderson safe haven information so that the victim could receive any necessary services. But Anderson refused to take his video to the authorities.”
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, told the Connecticut Post that Romano never possessed the video and encouraged Anderson to go to the police.
“Gilmer said the incident did not take place and he said ‘I’ll sue anybody for libel and slander who said it did take place,’” Fasano told the CT Post.
Fasano declined elaborate Saturday.
Other Republicans joined Klarides in her call for Romano to step down.
Darien First Selectwoman Jayme Stevenson said even Republicans outside the 2nd Congressional District will be impacted by what happened.
“We are downwind of a political stench emanating from the 2nd Congressional District,” Stevenson wrote in a statement sent to reporters. “As a woman, mother, grandmother, CEO and compassionate human being, I understand the immediate duty to act when presented with serious allegations. It is quite literally a matter of life and death for the victim. Everyone deserves their due process but by turning their back on this young woman, CTGOP leadership turned their back on all women … on my daughters, on my friends and my sisters across Connecticut.”
Stevenson, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2018, continued: “I say NO MORE! It’s time we dismantle and rebuild the Connecticut Republican Party into an organization that truly values women and is not complicit in putting political interests above the safety of victims.”