(Updated 3:09 p.m.) Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will campaign in Hartford on Wednesday afternoon, a day after news broke that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had suspended his campaign.
The former Massachusetts governor is scheduled to stop at a Main Street printing company Wednesday afternoon to talk with female business owners.
Romney’s visit to Connecticut is the first for a Republican presidential candidate in the 2012 election cycle. And some may consider it unnecessary since Romney had a wide lead over his opponents here in the polls.
Last month’s Quinnipiac University poll showed Romney with a commanding lead over his competitors. The poll found Romney in the lead with 42 percent of the vote, followed by Santorum with 19 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 13 percent and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, with 9 percent.
Three of Connecticut’s 28 delegates will be allocated to the winner of each of the state’s five congressional districts. Then 10 will be awarded on a statewide basis unless one candidate reaches the 51 percent threshold, which gives them all of the delegates. The remaining three delegates — GOP Chairman Jerry Labriola, and Republican National Committee members Pat Longo, and Rep. John Frey — will be able to independently decide which candidate gets their vote.
Connecticut’s primary will be held April 24, the same day as primaries in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Rhode Island. And in order to ensure a victory in Connecticut, Romney’s wife, Ann, will be speaking in Stamford at the annual Prescott Bush fundraiser on the eve of the primary.
Last month, Romney held a fundraiser in Stamford at the Marriott, which was followed by another fundraiser at the Greenwich home of billionaire Steven A. Cohen, the founder of SAC Capital Advisors.
Republicans had hoped a contested presidential primary would excite their party and boost registration.
Since the beginning of the year, 3,878 new Republican voters have registered and 1,515 unaffiliated voters have enrolled Republican, ensuring their ability to vote in the primary.
According to Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, there are nearly 2 million active registered voters in Connecticut, including 734,431 Democrats, 414,539 Republicans, and 828,252 unaffiliated.
Merrill said Wednesday afternoon that Santorum will remain on the Connecticut ballot and can still receive votes. The deadline to withdraw from the race was March 19, and ballots for the primary already have been printed for every town. There is no legal way to remove any one of the four candidates previously selected for the ballot, Merrill said Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. John Larson and Sen. Richard Blumenthal canceled a conference call on behalf of the Democratic National Committee to talk about Romney’s visit after leaving reporters on hold for 23-minutes.