HARTFORD—State Sen. Joe Markley is the first Republican to declare his candidacy for the No. 2 job in state government.
Markley, R-16th district, filed paperwork March 24 to register as a candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for lieutenant governor in 2018.
The Southington lawmaker rejoined the Senate in 2011 following a 25-year hiatus after having served a single, two-year term from 1984 to 1986.
“That’s the longest period of time between terms that anyone in the state’s legislature has gone,” Markley said.
During his break from the Capitol, Markley served as chair of the Republican Party in Southington. In 2010, he ran for his previous senate seat and has been there ever since. The 16th Senatorial District includes all of Prospect, Southington and Wolcott, along with parts of Cheshire and Waterbury.
He carried 62 percent of the vote to win re-election last November and is one of the more conservative voices in the legislature and the Republican Party. He was active in the state’s tea party movement prior to being elected to his second Senate stint.
In 2015, Markley, 59, ran unsuccessfully for state chairman of the Republican Party.
Markley belongs to the eight-member, all-Republican Conservative Caucus in the legislature, and he is a founder of the fledgling Connecticut Liberty Caucus, a 501(c)(4) organization that is dedicated to advancing a conservative policy agenda through a combination of public education and political action.
“What I have proclaimed as a Republican is essential to the State of Connecticut,” he said.
Now, Markley is seeking a higher position in state government.
“I think I’m in a strong position to run,” he said on Tuesday. “I think I can be an asset to the Republican ticket and make my case strongly.”
The November 2018 election will require voters to select the governor and lieutenant governor as a team, however, Markley wants to go to the convention independently.
“I want to run on my own merit, not tied to a gubernatorial candidate,” he said.
Should he advance in his caucus, he will be paired with the party’s candidate for governor.
“Whoever ends up as the Republican candidate, I’ll be happy to work with them.”
Paul Hughes of the Waterbury Republican-American contributed.