State Sen. Joe Markley is considered by many in the Connecticut General Assembly to be the single most conservative member of the body.
He’s a fiscal and social conservative, a reliable challenger to liberals and progressives in the State Senate, and even to moderate Republicans.
He says it’s for those reasons that he would help the GOP nominee for governor, and not drag the ticket down in any way.
“I think I bring a strength to the ticket and I think I bring it in part through this organization and in part through the things I stand for and my ability to communicate them and the record. I feel like I’m a strength across the board and I give them the best chance,” Markley said during an interview Wednesday.
The organization Markley talks about is a reliable group of volunteers and campaign staff that faces few rivals on the Republican side. Markley has been successful at rallying grassroots supporters which has led to comfortable victories in State Senate elections. He says it’s that reliable base of conservatives that can help a Republican nominee.
Markley is anti-abortion, and recent picked up the endorsement of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, the leading gun rights advocacy group in the state.
His conservative values and views, he says, put him in a position to win amongst that base of voters in next month’s GOP primary.
“I don’t know that I’m in line with establishment Republicans but I think I’m in line with the average Republican.”
However, conservatives with views like Markley’s are not widespread in Connecticut. The state has been reliably blue in presidential elections dating back to the 1980s. Further, Connecticut has been considered a national leader on progressive issues like women’s reproductive rights, criminal justice, gun control, and raising the minimum wage.
Markley says Democratic candidates have attempted similar attacks in the past, attempting to paint him as being out of touch with the mainstream in the state, and expects the same thing to happen if he’s the nominee.
“They’ve tried it in my state senate district and it hasn’t gotten them anywhere in part because when people hear me they like what I have to say,” Markley said. “Not only are my positions actually popular with the electorate, but they can be presented reasonably and people will embrace them when they have the chance.”