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Connecticut GOP chair calls for Robert Hyde to drop out of House race

The chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party is calling for congressional candidate Robert Hyde to drop out of the race after revelations that Hyde was involved in the Ukraine scandal that has led to President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

“It’s not helpful to the President. It’s not helpful to other Republican candidates. And it provides an opportunity for Democrats to raise money. It allows the opposition to label all Republicans with these comments,” J.R. Romano, state chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party, told CNN on Wednesday.

Romano also held a conference call Wednesday with other state GOP officials to tell them about his decision to ask Hyde to drop out. He told CNN that the vast majority of the folks on the conference call were in favor of what he did.

Hyde, in turn, called for Romano’s resignation and accused the chairman of being a “staunch advocate” against Trump.

Hyde is one several GOP candidates hoping to unseat incumbent Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes in the northwestern Connecticut district, though he has no endorsements, no staff and has not raised a significant amount of money for his campaign.

He first indicated he wanted to run for Congress in June 2019.

After Hyde posted a crude tweet last month about California Sen. Kamala Harris following the end of her presidential campaign, the state GOP said it would be refunding Hyde’s donations “in light of his vile comments on Twitter.” Hyde later deleted the tweet.

At the time, Connecticut Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano had said Hyde needed to end his candidacy over his “offensive” and “morally reprehensible” comments.

And in a statement provided to CNN Thursday, Fasano repeated his call for Hyde to step down as a candidate.

“I again want to reiterate that his behavior has been unacceptable and his actions are not representative of the Republican Party at all,” Fasano said.

In a statement Thursday, Connecticut House Republican Leader Themis Klarides called Hyde an “embarrassment to the state of Connecticut.”

“Even before the most recent and disturbing reports on Robert Hyde appeared regarding his alleged role in the Ukraine controversy, I called upon Mr. Hyde to withdraw from the 5th Congressional District race,” she added.

On his campaign website, Hyde calls himself an “ardent” supporter of President Donald Trump. He has donated $25,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee and given more than $30,000 to the Trump campaign and other Republican groups, according to records from Open Secrets and the Federal Election Commission.

New documents released this week show that Hyde was tied to Rudy Giuliani and his associates’ efforts to remove former US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch from her post in Kiev.

In text messages sent to Giuliani’s associate Lev Parnas, Hyde used crude language to suggest that Yovanovitch should be removed from her post and implied that he or his allies were surveilling her.

Giuliani had pushed for Yovanovitch’s ouster, believing she was a hindrance to his efforts to dig up dirt on Trump’s political rival, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Hyde told Eric Bolling of the Sinclair Broadcast Group on Wednesday that his text messages had been taken too seriously.

“I thought we were playing. I didn’t know he was so serious,” Hyde said, also denying that he surveilled Yovanovitch.