Connecticut Primary Marked By Lack Of Statewide Races

By SUSAN HAIGH
Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBS Connecticut and AP) – With no statewide primary on the ballot this year and only a dozen legislative intra-party contests, turnout for Tuesday’s primary elections in Connecticut is expected to be light.

In the most recent election seasons, primary ballots statewide featured high-profile battles for governor or U.S. Senate.

It’s more and more difficult to find people who are willing to make the sacrifices necessary and give up other job opportunities and time with their families.  It’s a heavy lift,” Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said.

In 2014, there was a two-way Republican primary for governor and a three-way GOP primary for lieutenant governor. In 2012, there were both Democratic and Republican primaries for U.S. Senate. The statewide average that year for turnout was 22.4 percent. There were also statewide primaries in 2010.

This year, former Olympian August Wolf attempted to petition his way onto the Republican primary ballot for U.S. Senate and challenge state Rep. Dan Carter, who had won the party’s endorsement at the state convention. However, Wolf failed to collect enough signatures.

Instead, there are a dozen legislative primaries and two battles for registrars of voters and two for judges of probate.

Of the dozen General Assembly races, 10 involve incumbents from both parties _ eight Democrats and two Republicans. In some cases, veteran lawmakers are being challenged, such as Assistant Deputy Speaker Louis Esposito, D-West Haven, who was first elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives in 1993. He’s being challenged by Michael A. DiMassa, a revenue clerk in West Haven’s tax collector’s office who garnered the local party’s endorsement.

Rep. Ernest Hewett, a New London Democrat who has served in the House since 2005, is being challenged by Chris Soto, the founder of a nonprofit that helps guide low-income students and first generation college students.

Bridgeport, the state’s most populous city, will have the most primary races on Tuesday.

State Sens. Marilyn Moore and Ed Gomes are facing challenges from fellow Democrats who won the local party’s backing. Moore faces Bridgeport City Council President Thomas McCarthy, while Gomes is being challenged by Bridgeport Board of Education Chairman Dennis Bradley. Two Bridgeport House members, Andre F. Baker Jr. and Charlie Stallworth, are also facing primaries.

Only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote on Tuesday. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) 

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