WEST HARTFORD — Hoping to offer voters an option down the middle, a group of former Republicans are running for town council and the school board in West Hartford as A Connecticut Party.
The party is a revival of the independent party created by former Gov. Lowell Weicker in 1990.
Incumbent Lee Gold, Mark Merritt, Rick Bush and Roni Rodman are all running for the town council under A Connecticut Party and Ross Jacobs is running under the party for school board.
Merritt, the campaign’s chairman, said they left the Republican party due to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the removal of U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney from her Republican leadership position.
“The last straw for us was that we can’t be silent,” Merritt said. “It was a point in time where it was the end. She wasn’t going to be silent...about how far this party has drifted from its core values.”
Merritt said their slate of candidates hope to offer voters a center option between the Republicans and the Democrats this November.
“One of the things we have seen and heard from folks is the option of having something different,” Merritt said. “The beauty of what we’ve done is to carve out more of the middle and center lane.”
Merritt describes himself as fiscally conservative, but more open to ideas on social issues.
“We are not Trump supporters,” he said. “We wanted to be more centered. Let’s have some common sense to governing.”
Speaking on their candidates, Merritt said Gold’s leadership as a current member of the town council is valuable to their process.
“We all have that unique experience,” Merritt said. “Lee is running for reelection. He has been independent minded. He didn't want to be beholden to any party ideology. That’s where we all align.”
Merritt said the five candidates have a similar mindset, which is a strength to their party.
“The like-mindeness brings that cohesiveness of how we work and get things done,” Merritt said.
Merritt said he likes to compare it to a pothole being in front of your house. In his words, that isn’t a Democrat and Republican pothole, but a West Hartford pothole.
“This is why we created the party,” Merritt said. “It’s for folks who feel left behind by either party. We have some ideas and solutions to address the needs of our town. We want to get those things done. We’re independent minded. Let’s talk about the solutions. Let’s put it into action.”