Christine Stuart photo
Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz advocated in favor of legislation that would move the state’s presidential primary from March 4 to Feb. 5.

She said if adopted Connecticut would join 22 other states which are planning on a Feb. 5 primary in 2008. She said if the state keeps the March 4 date the state becomes irrelevant to presidential campaigns because it’s likely the races will already be decided before Connecticut voters head to the polls.

The bill will receive a public hearing and vote Friday in the General Administration and Elections Committee.

GAE Co-Chairman Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, said currently candidates all come to the state to raise money, but moving up the primary date may make them stick around to hear from state voters. “The voters deserve to hear from them” and if the primary is a month later “we will not have our voices heard,” Slossberg said.

She said having the primary Feb. 5 now puts Connecticut in the mix.

Why not have Connecticut go first?

There are party sanctions for going earlier than Feb. 5, Bysiewicz said. She said the state can’t preempt national committee rules. She admitted joining the 22 other states in a Feb. 5 primary “isn’t completely going to fix the problem of the candidates visiting the state.”

Andrew Sauer of Common Cause said his organization is very excited about this. He said last August in the Lamont-Lieberman primary for the U.S. Senate seat Connecticut voters got a taste of what it “felt like to be the center of attention.” He said he hasn’t heard any opposition to the legislation which currently has bipartisan support.