Connecticut Could be Irrelevant in 2012 Primary

A few of us in the newsroom were a little stunned to hear the state was moving the date of the presidential primary to April 24, 2012.     The 2008 Connecticut presidential primary was so much earlier:  February 5th, right in the thick of the primary season.

As journalists, we were also a little surprised by this comment about the new date  from Secretary of the State Denise Merrill: 

 “Pushing the primary date back a little will allow Connecticut to have more regional clout, especially since our neighboring states are also moving their primaries to that day.  This helps both state parties and the voters, who are already paying close attention to the critical process of choosing our President.”

I’m not sure moving our primary to late in the calendar serves the voters well.   The historic fact is, as each week goes by, more candidates will drop out.   By the time April rolls around, the menu of candidates offered to voters in Connecticut will have far fewer choices than the array offered to voters in New Hampshire.

Speaking of New Hampshire, why don’t we fight to have an earlier primary so we can be more relevant in the selection of a president?   Connecticut is more diverse than New Hampshire, more populous, and a more accurate microcosm of the country.  

The 2008 campaign was one of the most exciting primary seasons in years because there was no incumbent running.  Even still,  Connecticut  only had a handful of visits from candidates, and our primary was fairly early in the process.   Barack Obama spoke to a full house at the XL center on the eve of the primary.    The President won’t have any challengers for the nomination  in ’12,  and a repeat of that downtown Hartford hoopla is highly unlikely.    He’s already assured victory in the Democratic primary, and has no need to campaign here.

It will be up to the Republican candidates to provide some excitement for Constitution State primary voters, but don’t count on it.  The odds are the GOP nomination will be clinched by the time the Connecticut presidential primary is held 3 weeks into the baseball season and two weeks after Easter.   The last time a Republican presidential primary race was still being decided in April was 1980.

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8 replies »

  1. As a Republican primary voter, I think this could be a good thing. The campaign is getting off to a late start and the field is rather weak, with some of the most interesting potential candidates sitting on the sidelines. Having an early primary date often means voting for someone who isn’t in the final two or three. At least we might get to choose among the finalists in 2012.

    Jeff L.


  2. A microcosm of the country? Sorry, with no Republican representatives or Senators, or even any Statewide elected officials Connecticut is a microcosm of the liberal left. We are best left to an irrelevant date for the primary.


  3. ah, this is interesting, specially considering I myself will no longer be a connecticut
    resident in all reasonable likely on april 24, 2012 .
    I have no idea what necessarily specifically I’ll be doing on april 24th, 2012 but I can say for sure whereever I live I don’t plan voting in any primary elections of any sort.
    All I can say is that what a expensive insane and ridiculious process for 5 or 10% of the
    registered voters to essantially vote in a overcomplicated popularity poll.
    Frankly no state has the money for this process anymore . Its a costly anachronism and its not needed.
    Theres plenty of radically, and I mean radically cheaper alternatives, like party caucuses,
    some sort of mail in post card based system , or hell nothing at all.
    This is really a private political party matter and not a governmental administration issue.


  4. My feeling is CT has never mattered to anyone. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I feel.


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  6. Moving out of Connecticut after 40+ years….Leaving the preposterous (unfounded) taxes, the angry people, the pot holes, garbage, failed businesses, the rapid deterioration and lifeless state behind!!! What a complete waste this pathetic state really is! It has changed DRASTICALLY since my childhood (and not for the better). Everyone I know that moved out of it says they wish they moved sooner! I’m never looking back!


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