Joe Markley

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Joe Markley
Member of the Connecticut Senate
from the 16th district
Assumed office
January 2011
Preceded bySam Caligiuri
In office
January 1985 – January 1987
Preceded byWilliam J. Sullivan
Succeeded byDonald Rinaldi
Personal details
Born (1956-11-28) November 28, 1956 (age 62)
Southington, Connecticut, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationAmherst College (BA)
Columbia University (MA)

Joe Markley (born November 28, 1956) is a member of the Connecticut State Senator representing the 16th State Senate District. A native of Southington, Connecticut, he was first elected to the State Senate in 1984 at the age of 27, serving only one term. He returned to the State Senate in 2010 at the age of 53.[1] He was the Republican Nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut in 2018.

Early life[edit]

Joe Markley was born in Southington, Connecticut on November 28, 1956. Through his mother, Priscilla Cowles, his family has resided continuously in the town since the 1730s. Markley attended Southington High School, graduating in 1974. He then earned his bachelor's degree from Amherst College and his master's degree in English from Columbia University.[2]

Political career[edit]

First State Senate stint[edit]

On November 6, 1984, Markley, a member of the Republican Party was first elected to the Connecticut State Senate due in part to the Reagan landslide of 1984 where President Reagan carried over 60% of the vote in the state.[3] He ran for re-election in 1986, but was defeated – consistent with the national trend of the 1986 midterm elections where Democrats made gains throughout the country.[4] In Connecticut, Governor William O'Neill handily defeated his republican opponent, Julie Belaga.

Twenty-four year hiatus[edit]

When Lowell Weicker proposed a state income tax for Connecticut in 1991, Markley, along with Tom Scott formed the Connecticut Taxpayers Committee to spearhead the opposition. On October 5, 1991 they organized the largest rally in Connecticut history to be held on the grounds of the state capitol.[5]

Markley also returned to teaching where he taught English at the high school and college levels.

Second State Senate stint[edit]

On November 2, 2010, Markley returned to the State Senate for a second tenure. He has since been re-elected three times, running unopposed by the Democrats in 2014.[6] He has been Governor Malloy's most outspoken critic, hinting that he may be a gubernatorial candidate in 2018.[7]

Campaign for party chairman[edit]

Markley announced his intention to seek the Connecticut Republican Party chairmanship after incumbent party chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr. announced he would not seek re-election after failing to capitalize on the nationwide republican momentum to defeat Governor Malloy or any congressional seat in the 2014 mid-term elections.[8] Markley's platform for chairman was not to rebrand the party but to rejuvenate support for the party at the state level. "Many national donors who live in Connecticut have given up on the state party. They must be convinced that we are worthy of their support, both because we stand for a genuine change in direction and because we can win (the two, of course, are inseparable),"[9] On June 23, 2015, Markley faced off against two competitors in the first contested chairmanship election since the 1980s. Markley finished third in the first round of balloting to J.R. Romano and John Pavia. Romano would ultimately be selected as chairman.[10]

2018 Campaign for Lieutenant Governor[edit]

Markley filed paperwork to seek the position of Lieutenant Governor in the 2018 Gubernatorial elections stating "I feel that this is the spot on the ticket where I can most be of service."[11] He was nominated at the statewide Republican convention as the endorsed candidate of the Republican party with 53.6% of the delegate vote. Both Erin Stewart, mayor of New Britain, CT and Jamie Stevenson of Darien, CT qualified for a primary against him to be held on August 14, 2018.[12] Markley won the Connecticut Primary for Lieutenant Governor with 47.6% of the vote. He ran with Bob Stefanowski, who won the Connecticut Republican primary for Governor, before losing to Ned Lamont and running mate Susan Bysiewicz.

Electoral history[edit]

State Senate[edit]

Year Office District Democratic Republican Working Families Independent
1984 Connecticut State Senate 16th William J. Sullivan (inc.) 47.4% Joe Markley 52.6%
1986 Connecticut State Senate 16th Donald M. Rinaldi 53.4% Joe Markley (inc.) 46.6%
2010 Connecticut State Senate 16th John N. Barry 45.2% Joe Markley 52.2% Carmine M. Capobianco 2.6%
2012 Connecticut State Senate 16th Corky Mazurek 47.8% Joe Markley (inc.) 52.2%
2014 Connecticut State Senate 16th Joe Markley (inc.) 79.6% Christopher Robertson 20.4%
2016 Connecticut State Senate 16th Ryan P. Rogers 27.2% Joe Markley (inc.) 72.8%

Lieutenant Governor[edit]

2018 Republican primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Joe Markley 65,702 47.57
Republican Erin Stewart 45,262 32.77
Republican Jayme Stevenson 27,138 19.65
Total votes 138,102 100.0


  1. ^ "Joe Markley Back in State Senate After 24-Year Hiatus". Hartford Courant. November 16, 2010. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Connecticut General Election Statements of Vote, 1922 – Current" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  4. ^ "Connecticut General Election Statements of Vote, 1922 – Current" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Retrieved April 12, 2015.
  5. ^ "Lawmakers Tell 40,000 at Rally Connecticut Income Tax Will Die". New York Times. October 6, 1991. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  6. ^ "Joe Markley likely running unopposed in the 16th Senate District". The Southington Observer. June 27, 2014. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  7. ^ "In Connecticut, the Limits of Governing by Spleen". National Review. April 23, 2015. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  8. ^ "Race for GOP chairman wide open". Connecticut Post. June 23, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  9. ^ "A fight for the helm of a shrinking Connecticut GOP". Connecticut Mirror. June 22, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  10. ^ "Republicans Choose J.R. Romano As Party Chairman". CTNow. June 23, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  11. ^ Savino, Mike (March 31, 2017). "Markley: Lieutenant governor is position on ticket 'where I can most be of service'". Record Journal. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
  12. ^ Gomez-Aceves, Sandra (May 23, 2018). "Get Ready, Connecticut: As Many As 10 Primary Battles Loom This Summer". Hartford Courant. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
Connecticut Senate
Preceded by
William J. Sullivan
Member of the Connecticut Senate
from the 16th district

Succeeded by
Donald Rinaldi
Preceded by
Sam Caligiuri
Member of the Connecticut Senate
from the 16th district