For purely selfish, professional reasons I want Connecticut to play a much bigger role in the presidential process. I want the candidates criss-crossing our state, shaking hands in Torrington, touring the Pez factory in Orange, and walking the streets of Middletown. I want them to hold a rally at UConn, open campaign offices in Hartford and kiss babies on the Guilford green. I want them fighting to come on Face the State. You know, like they do in New Hampshire, Iowa and other states? At my former station, WMUR-TV in Manchester, NH, the candidates regularly come into the newsroom in advance of that state’s primary….sometimes years in advance!
Having lived in New Hampshire and Michigan, I can tell you voters there have it pretty good. They meet candidates at diners, schools, even at their own front doors. Candidates spend plenty of time in these early primary states wooing voters, and their campaigns spend plenty of money, too. They rent offices, employ workers, fill up hotels, hire caterers, eat in restaurants and buy ad time on television, radio and newspaper. In those states, many voters go into the booths having had a personal interaction with a candidate who could be their president. Here in Connecticut, we’re lucky if the candidate steps foot in our state.
This Sunday on Face the State, I talk with Secretary of the State Denise Merrill about how we could make Connecticut more relevant. Why do we have to be at the back of the primary bus, sharing our day with Pennsylvania and New York so late in the season. Do we really think the candidates are going to come here over those two larger states? What about having our primary on a Saturday, like South Carolina does? That could get us some more attention. What about getting Governor Malloy, our senators and congressional delegation to squawk loudly like other states, namely Florida have done? Our state is sorely in need of new business and the economic impact of a more significant primary would be a nice boost.
It’s obviously too late for this year, but it is never too early to start planning for 2016.
Tune in this Sunday at 11AM on Face the State, only on Channel 3.