Last November, Stan McCauley ran for Mayor on the Republican ticket and was seen by many as the new face of the party in Hartford.
This November, McCauley announced that he is leaving the Republican Party and joining the Working Families Party (WFP).
“After consultation with my political team, it is their consensus and I concur, that to expect the Republican party in Hartford to change is delusional at best,” McCauley said in a written statement announcing his party switch. “Hartford has neighborhoods and small businesses that need a strong voice. I believe that as a member of the Working Families Party I will be able to work with a broad base of Hartford residents and tax payers interested in putting Hartford before party and together we can work for the changes that our diverse communities need.”
McCauley’s departure was the second blow for the Hartford Republicans last week. On Election Day, Urania Petit, running on the WFP ticket, secured more votes than Republican Registrar candidate Sal Bramante. By State law, Petit’s victory means the City of Hartford must create a new registrar’s position for the WFP in addition to the positions it already has for the Republicans and the Democrats. The City also currently funds staffs for both its Republican and Democratic registrars. How funding and staffing will be set up to accommodate the new WFP registrar has not been decided.
While McCauley’s departure may have surprised some, a rift among members of the city’s Republican Party has been growing for some time.
Kevin Brookman, McCauley’s campaign manager in his race for mayor last year, unsuccessfully challenged Bramante this year for the Republican Registrar’s position, resulting in the Hartford GOP’s first primary in recent memory. McCauley ran against Mike McGarry for the chairmanship of the Republican Town Committee, but lost 16-5.
In his statement, McCauley alluded to the divisions in the party. “It has become abundantly clear that the Hartford Republican Party is not interested in moving forward an agenda that holds the current administration accountable, nor is it willing to reach out to the minority communities that make up the greater part of Hartford’s population. I and my fellow colleagues from the 4th district on the Republican Town Committee, were continually at odds with the rest of the committee members and the Town Chairman.”
But Republican Town Chairman Mike McGarry took issue with McCauley depiction of relationships within the party. “When were we [he and McCauley] at odds?” he said. “I was the first one out of the box to support Stan for mayor and when I prevailed over him in the town chairman election we remained friendly. Good luck to him and his new party, but I think I will stick with the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan and the principles they represented.” McGarry also said he is working on a new campaign to reinvigorate the party based on the theme “GOP=JOBS.”
McCauley said he was impressed by the fact that the WFP nominated him for the Charter Revision Commission, despite the fact that he was from an opposing party. He added that, “After attending and observing City Council meetings for the past eleven months, it is Working Families Party council members [Dr. Larry Deutsch and Luis Cotto] that have been at the forefront of informing the public during council meetings. And it has been the Working Families Party that has truly become the loyal opposition.”
On his future plans, McCauley said he will run for mayor again in 2011. “I’d love to run on the Working Families Party ticket if they’ll have me. If not, I’ll definitely run independently.”