(Washington, DC) – Connecticut Democrats, led by Congressman Jim Himes, Secretary of the State candidate Stephanie Thomas, and State Party Chair Nancy DiNardo, today made their case to the Democratic National Committee to designate Connecticut an early Presidential primary state.
Connecticut’s primary date is currently set for the last Tuesday in April of Presidential years, which is late in the primary season. The DNC, which is in the process of overhauling the entire primary calendar, sought applications for early primary status in May.
“Presidential primary season traditionally focuses enormous attention on a handful of states in January and February, and by the time Connecticut voters go to the polls in April, most of the decisions about the field have been made,” DiNardo said. “Connecticut has a rich, diverse population, and a geography that makes campaigning statewide manageable, and there is no reason why our voters should not play a more direct role in Presidential politics.”
The Connecticut application is one of 17 finalists chosen to make an in-person presentation this week. The DNC is expected to pick four or five states from among the finalists, which in addition to Connecticut are Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas and Washington.
“Connecticut has long been a microcosm of the American population, and is an ideal setting for a Presidential primary,” Himes told the Selection Committee. “Our state is both diverse and compact, providing Presidential candidates with the opportunity to directly interact with voters in vibrant cities, picturesque rural towns, and farmlands, located just minutes apart.”
Stephanie Thomas, the Democratic endorsed candidate for Secretary of the State, said an early Presidential primary in Connecticut would give candidates and voters the opportunity to engage in person.
“There are 2.2 million registered voters in the state and they care deeply about their communities. Given our geography and range of ethnic and racial diversity, Connecticut provides candidates with an opportunity to interact with and learn from residents with diverse points of view. An early Presidential primary contest would engage local town committees, boost candidate recruitment and organizing at all levels, strengthening the entire election process,” Thomas said.
The DNC is expected to select up to five states to hold early primaries. If chosen by the DNC, Connecticut would change the date of the Presidential primary via legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor.